Two teams at the Tour de France — including overall leader Jonas Vingegaard’s squad — may not be raising glasses to cheer when the famed cycling race ends Sunday.
Groupama-FDJ hit out at Richard Plugge, the team manager for Vingegaard’s Jumbo-Visma, after he said that riders from the French-based team drank “large beers” during Monday’s rest day.
Plugge told L’Equipe that Vingegaard and his team’s success was due to an extreme attention to “details,” saying none of the riders drank alcohol.
“We were with a French team at our hotel during the rest day. We could see riders drink large beers,” Plugge said. “… Alcohol is poison, and when you’re tired [and you drink], it makes you more tired.”
Groupama-FDJ was the only French team sharing the same hotel in Saint Gervais on Monday.
“Who does he think he is? Frankly, it’s an exceptionally vile attack on his part,” Groupama-FDJ team manager Marc Madiot said. “… Let him keep his mouth shut! I don’t intend to see him. I don’t care about him. I’m not going to go and see him. I’m angry. It’s pathetic. I don’t watch what he puts in his riders’ bowls.”
Groupama-FDJ sports director Philippe Mauduit also challenged Plugge’s comments, telling Reuters that the team’s riders had socialized during the rest day but none had drunk alcohol.
“Everyone orders the drink they want, and the guys are so tired this year that they’re not fooling around,” he said.
The performance of defending champion Vingegaard, who holds a 7-minute, 35-second lead, has come under tight scrutiny after the Danish cyclist pulverized his rivals in Tuesday’s individual time trial to solidify his grasp on the title.
The final major chance for second-place Tadej Pogačar and the other riders to catch Vingegaard will be Saturday’s hilly 20th stage before the Tour finishes Sunday on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.