Danish cyclist Jonas Wingegaard is having a “tough time” after winning the Tour de France in July, Jumbo Visma’s sporting director said on Thursday. The 25-year-old, who was absent from the start of the Tour of Denmark on Tuesday and will not compete in September’s World Road Race Championship in Australia, kept a low profile after his triumphant return to Copenhagen. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to welcome Denmark’s first Tour de France champion since Bjarne Riis, who later admitted to doping, in 1996.

“I understand that the fans want to see Jonas and I spoke to him about it yesterday. But he had a very difficult time after the Tour,” Frans Maassen told the Ekstra Bladet daily.

“We would like to show it during this race (Tour of Denmark), but we also have to understand that it was difficult to win the Tour de France, what with everything that comes with it.”

According to him, Wingegaard’s presence would put even more pressure on him.

The rider did not comment on his absence at the home race.

“It’s one thing to be physically ready, but you also have to be mentally ready,” Tour of Denmark official Frank Hildgaard told Danish news agency Ritzau.

After he “invested a lot” in the Tour de France, “there is no doubt that he is exhausted now,” Quickstep cyclist Michael Morkau told Ekstra Bladet.

The mental health of top athletes, long seen as a stigma, has come under the spotlight in recent years as more and more stars come out publicly about their problems.

RBA/AFP photos: Sprint Cycling Agency


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