Jonas Vingegaard returns from injury to win dramatic stage 11 of Tour de France, while Irishman Ben Healy impresses in breakaway

The 2023 yellow jersey winner returns to his winning ways after puncturing a lung earlier this year

10/07/2024 - Tour de France 2024 - Étape 11 - Évaux-les-Bains / Le Loran (211 km) - VINGEGAARD Jonas (TEAM VISMA | LEASE A BIKE), POGACAR Tadej (UAE TEAM EMIRATES). Picture: A.S.O./Billy Ceusters
Dane Jonas Vingegaard wins stage 11 of the Tour de France (A.S.O./Billy Ceusters)

DESPITE questions asked by punters, 2023 race winner Jonas Vingegaard proves he can still compete with the best by winning stage 11 of the Tour de France.

Following a sedated sprint stage, stage 11 of the Tour would provide a harder challenge for the peloton as they raced from Évaux-les-Bains to Le Lioran.

At 211km, it was the longest day of the race and, with a total 4,350m of elevation gain, presented a perfect opportunity for breakaway success.

That memo had clearly circulated the bunch and a hard, fast and attacking first hour of racing ensued.

Irish rider Ben Healy (EF Education - EasyPost) was clearly motivated and was very active in instigating moves. His efforts paid off, and Healy was eventually joined by nine others in a breakaway which grew its advantage to over two minutes at most.

However, as the terrain got harder in the final quarter of the stage, it soon became clear that the general classification teams were not willing to let the stage get away from them.

Yellow jersey wearer Tadej Pogacar and UAE Team Emirates drove the peloton’s pace and they quickly closed in on the remaining breakaway riders. Healy would be the last rider to be caught, with 32 kilometres remaining.

Ben Healy drives the breakaway at Stage 10 of the Tour de France. 10/07/2024 - Tour de France 2024 - Étape 11 - Évaux-les-Bains / Le Loran (211 km). Picture: 
A.S.O./Billy Ceusters
Ben Healy drives the breakaway at stage 10 of the Tour de France ( A.S.O./Billy Ceusters)

As the race approached the summit of the day’s hardest climb, the Pas de Peyrol, Pogacar attacked his opponents and gained a gap.

Pogacar’s three closest rivals, Primoz Roglic (Red Bull - BORA - hansgrohe), Jonas Vingegaard (Team Visma - Lease a Bike) and Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) would chase hard behind. However, Vinegaard proved the strongest of the three and hit out solo in pursuit of the yellow jersey.

Vingegaard would catch Pogacar as the race crested the penultimate climb and the two worked together to hold off Evenepoel and Roglic all the way to the line.

Few would have expected Vinvegaard to beat Pogacar in a two-up sprint. However, the Dane narrowly pipped his rival, taking the stage win.

Evenepoel finished in third, 25 seconds back, while Roglic crashed on the final descent. He would, however, be given the same time as Evenepoel due to the incident taking place within three kilometres of the finish.

In the general classification, Pogacar holds on to the yellow jersey for another day. Evenepoel loses time yet remains in second, at 1:06, while Vingegaard sits in third at 1:14.

This victory is a big moment for Vingegaard, who broke his collarbone, several ribs and punctured his lung in a racing crash in April.

The Tour de France is his first race back since this incident and there was a question mark over his form. However, after today, it seems the race is on.

Fighting off tears after his stage win, Vingegaard said:

“It’s of course very emotional for me.

“Coming back from the crash, it means a lot. All the things I went through in the last three months, it makes you think of that.

“I would never have been able to do this without my family.

“They were there supporting me the whole time.”