Two Tour de France teams – including overall leader Jonas Vingegaard’s side – may not be celebrating when the famous cycle race ends on Sunday.
Groupama-FDJ has criticized Richard Plugge, team manager of Vingegaard’s Jumbo-Visma, after he said riders from the France-based team drank “big beers” on Monday’s rest day.
Plugge told L’Equipe that the success of Vingegaard and his team was based on an extreme attention to “details” and said none of the drivers had been drinking.
“We were in our hotel on the rest day with a French team. We could see the drivers drinking big beers,” Plugge said. “…alcohol is poison, and when you’re tired [and you drink]it makes you more tired.”
Groupama-FDJ were the only French team sharing the same hotel in Saint Gervais on Monday.
“Who does he think he is? Honestly, it’s an exceptionally heinous attack on his part,” said Groupama FDJ team manager Marc Madiot. “… let him shut up! I don’t intend to see him. I do not care about him. I will not visit him. I am angry. It’s pathetic. I don’t watch what he puts in his riders’ bowls.”
Groupama-FDJ sporting director Philippe Mauduit also questioned Plugge’s comments, telling Reuters the team’s riders socialized during the rest day but none had been drinking.
“Everyone orders the drink they want and the boys are so tired this year they’re not having fun,” he said.
The performance of defending champion Vingegaard, who has a lead of 7 minutes and 35 seconds, came under scrutiny after the Danish cyclist pulverized his rivals in Tuesday’s individual time trial to cement his grip on the title.
The last big chance for runner-up Tadej Pogačar and the other riders to catch Vingegaard will be Saturday’s hilly stage 20 before the Tour finishes on Sunday’s Champs-Élysées in Paris.