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Jonas Vingegaard ‘very emotional’ as he struggles to hold back tears after victory over Tadej Pogacar on Stage 11 of the Tour de France

Vingegaard had difficulty speaking as he reflected on his journey since his serious accident in Itzulia, Basque Country, in April.

The Dane was not expected to be in optimum form coming into the Tour with so little preparation, but he managed to get back on Tadej Pogacar’s wheel after the Slovenian had pulled clear with 30 kilometres to go – he also passed him in a two-man sprint, the first time Pogacar had lost a sprint in this way.

“Of course it’s a very emotional experience for me – coming back from the crash,” Vingegaard said during the warm-up.

“It means so much. Everything I’ve been through in the last three months. It makes you think about it. I could never have done this without my family.

“I’m so happy to be here. Winning a stage means so much – especially for my family. They’ve always been there for me and supported me.

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‘What a story!’ – Vingegaard beats Pogacar on the line after extraordinary day

On how the final part of the scene unfolded, Vingegaard added: “I couldn’t follow the attack (Pogacar) made. It was a very, very strong attack. I just had to fight.

“I didn’t really think I could come back, but I kept fighting. I came back and started relaying with him.

“I was a bit surprised that I was able to beat him in the sprint – it means a lot to me, I’m very happy with the victory today. I would never have thought of this three months ago.”

When asked if he was trying to deal a psychological blow to his opponent, he said: “I didn’t think about it at all. I was just thinking about running at my own pace and then sprinting.”

‘I can’t even imagine what he’s going through’

The panel on Eurosport’s ‘The Breakaway’ programme reacted to Vingegaard’s interview, summarising a memorable day.

“This is the most emotional moment we’ve seen from Jonas Vingegaard,” said Robbie McEwen.

“It’s understandable that he couldn’t control himself, he’s normally such a measured, calculating man.”

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‘The most emotional moments we’ve ever seen’ – Vingegaard’s divisive panel on tears and their power to heal

Dani Rowe added: “I can’t believe the thought of it coming back.

“He was in intensive care, let’s not forget. I think we need to emphasize that again. It’s incredible.”

Adam Blythe, also from the Eurosport studio, said the Dane’s experience had been like a “rollercoaster”.

“It’s completely magical. We have an understanding of the situation and we feel what we feel,” Blythe began.

“I can’t even imagine what he’s going through, I can’t even understand the emotion he’s going through.

“It must have been a very roller coaster ride. There were times when he wasn’t sure if he would survive, let alone race a bike again.

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‘Can everyone follow?’ – Pogacar launches massive attack on Puy Mary

“And here he is, winning a stage against his arch-nemesis in the Tour de France and knocking him out in a sprint like we’ve never seen before.

“The guy must be so happy right now. It’s a sad but joyful moment when you look at it (the interview), it’s unbelievable, unbelievable, no matter where it comes from.

“He should celebrate with great enthusiasm.”