Defending champion Tadec Pogacar starts Friday in Copenhagen as the top favorite for the overall victory at the Tour de France. NU.nl lists the contenders for the yellow jersey in Paris.
Tadej Pogacar (23) UAE Team Emirates
Since Pogacar took his compatriot Primoz Roglic out of the yellow jersey in a memorable time trial on September 19, 2020, the Slovenian has been virtually unbeatable in stage races.
Counting from the Tour de France two years ago, Pogacar started in nine multi-day races. The staggering numbers: eight victories and one third place.
This season, the still very young leader of UAE Team Emirates already took the overall win in the Tour of the United Arab Emirates, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of Slovenia. In the Tour it promises to be Pogacar against the rest of the pack. “Of course the sky-high expectations are putting pressure on,” the two-time Tour winner said two weeks ago. “But I can’t win races without pressure.”
Primoz Roglic (32) and Jonas Vingegaard (25), Jumbo Visma
If there is one team that can make it difficult for Pogacar and UAE Team Emirates, it is Jumbo-Visma. The Dutch team starts with the number two of 2020 (Roglic) and the number two of 2021 (Vingegaard), and wants to finally bring the yellow jersey to Paris for the first time this year after three failed attempts.
“How are we going to beat Pogacar? Using our strong team,” said Roglic. “We believe we can trump Pogacar if we work very well together.”
Roglic fell in the first week of the Tour last year, as a result of which he had to give up after eight stages. That ensured that ‘servant’ Vingegaard surprisingly became Pogacar’s biggest challenger. Jumbo-Visma now starts with two leaders and hopes that both leaders will participate until well into the third week for the overall victory. In their last race before the Tour – the Critérium du Dauphiné – Roglic and Vingegaard showed the potential strength of their collaboration by finishing first and second respectively.
Favorites for points classification
- ⭐⭐⭐ Wout van Aert (Bel)
- ⭐⭐ Peter Sagan (Slw), Mads Pedersen (Den)
- ⭐ Fabio Jakobsen (Ned), Caleb Ewan (Aus), Dylan Groenewegen (Ned)
Daniel Martínez (26), Geraint Thomas (36) and Adam Yates (29), INEOS Grenadiers
The third major power bloc in the Tour is INEOS Grenadiers, which won the world’s most important cycling race seven times between 2012 and 2019. Due to the serious injury of Egan Bernal, the winner of 2019, the British formation will miss an outspoken leader for the next three weeks who is at the same level as Pogacar, Roglic and Vingegaard.
INEOS, with Paris-Roubaix winner Dylan van Baarle being one of the five helpers, is therefore pushing three leaders forward. Of this trio, Martínez has performed the best and most consistently this season, culminating in winning the Tour of the Basque Country.
Just before the Tour, Thomas showed somewhat surprisingly with the overall victory in the Tour of Switzerland that he can still compete with the world’s top. The 2018 Tour winner is 36 and had already reconciled with a servant role, but is now one of the leaders again. Yates was second behind Pogacar in the Tour of the UAE this season, but in a Grand Tour he never did better than fourth.
Ben O’Connor (26), AG2R
His name will not immediately ring a bell with a large number of Dutch Tour viewers, but O’Connor was indeed the number four in the final classification last year.
With his results this season, O’Connor proves for the time being that his strong performance on his debut in the Tour de France was no fluke. The leader of the French team AG2R won a stage in the Tour of Catalonia and was behind Roglic and Vingegaard the best of the rest in the Dauphine.
Mountains classification favorites
- ⭐⭐⭐ Lennard Kamna (Germany)
- ⭐⭐ Tadej Pogacar (Slv), Thibaut Pinot (Fra)
- ⭐ Romain Bardet (Fra), Dylan Teuns (Bel), Warren Barguil (Fra)
Jack Haig (28) and Damiano Caruso (34), Bahrain Victorious
The Bahrain Victorious team management was clear about the goal when presenting its Tour selection: “We want to be on the podium for the first time in Paris,” said sports director Gorazd Stangelj.
Haig and Caruso are the leaders who have to take care of that. The Australian and the Italian have never come close to a top three finish in the Tour, but both were on the podium of a Grand Tour last year: Caruso finished second in the Giro d’Italia and Haig finished third in the Vuelta a Espana. In the Dauphiné they showed good form with a fourth (Caruso) and fifth place (Haig) in the final standings.
Youth Ranking Favorites
- ⭐⭐⭐ Tadej Pogacar (Slv)
- ⭐⭐ Andreas Leknessund (Noo), Brandon McNulty (US)
- ⭐ Michael Storer (Aus), Matteo Jorgenson (USA), Andrea Bagioli (Ita)
Aleksandr Vlasov (26), BORA-hansgrohe
Vlasov was having a strong debut season with BORA-hansgrohe, until he had to step out of the Tour of Switzerland as classification leader two weeks before the start of the Tour due to a positive corona test.
The climber from Russia has recovered enough to make his Tour debut. The number four of last year’s Giro has already won two stage races this year: the Tour of Valencia and the Tour de Romandie.
Nairo Quintana was invariably one of the top favorites between 2013 and 2016, but the 32-year-old Colombian’s last podium place in the Tour dates back to six years ago (third). Movistar always goes for a good ranking and this year is Enric Mas the forward pawn of the Spanish squad, but last year’s number six is having a difficult season for the time being.
Rigoberto Uran has been a regular in the top ten of the final standings for years, but the number two of the 2017 Tour is now 35 and seems to have had his day. The French hope this year is pinned on David Gaudu, who is emphatically referred to as the leader by Groupama-FDJ. His more famous team and compatriot Thibaut Pinoto says to go for stage wins and the mountain jersey.