Who Is The Favourite For The Tour de France? | The Cycling Race News Show

Who Is The Favourite For The Tour de France? | The Cycling Race News Show

Welcome to the GCN Racing News Show. Coming up this week, with all the preparation
races done and dusted, we’ll be discussing who the favourites are to win the Tour de
France. We’ll also look back at the Tour de Suisse,
Route d’Occitanie, the concluding stages of the Baby Giro, the Tours of Slovenia and
the Philippines, plus a former classics star and Tour de France stage winner completes
the famous Race Across America. It was Team Ineos who were once again hitting
the headlines at the Tour de Suisse, for good and for bad. Just days After Chris Froome’s untimely
exit from the Dauphine, Geraint Thomas added to their list of woes, crashing heavily on
stage 4, and subsequently withdrawing from the race. Thankfully, for both Thomas and the team,
his injuries were not as severe as feared – he’d taken a knock to the head and would
be monitored for the effects of concussion. In true Thomas style, he simply said he’d
now need to do some bigger training rides this week. It could be a worry for the Welshman, though,
who will likely only have 23 days of racing in his legs when he sets about defending his
Tour de France title in less than two weeks time. That’s significantly fewer than most recent
winners of the race, including himself last year. His best results since last year’s Tour
have been third place at the Tour de Romandie, and third place at a scarecrow competition: His other worry could be his own teammate,
22 year old Egan Bernal. It’s no secret that the Colombian is a climbing
sensation, and he once again proved that last week by taking arguably his biggest win to
date, the overall classification at the Tour de Suisse, backing up his Paris Nice win from
March. Now, admittedly, the field in Switzerland
didn’t have the strength in depth of the Dauphiné, but nevertheless, he looked every
bit a Tour champion in the making. He proved himself to be the best climber in
the race on stage 6, backed that up with a stage win the following day. He defended himself admirably on the penultimate
day’s time trial, and seemingly had no problem in following Rohan Dennis’ attack on the
final day of racing. So, who will lead Ineos at the Tour? Well, I’ll be discussing that, and the other
Tour favourites, a little later. Other notable performances at the Tour de
Suisse included Elia Viviani, who bounced back from a disappointing Giro back to back
wins on stages 4 and 5, after his team, Deceuninck Quickstep, gave a demonstration on how to
do the ultimate lead out. To be fair, Trek Segafredo had done an equally
good job of their lead out on stage 3, but unfortunately it was to the benefit of Peter
Sagan, who’d somehow managed to bump John Degenkolb off the wheel of his teammates,
something the German was none too pleased about, as you can imagine. For Sagan, that was just his 3rd win of the
year, but he looks to be hitting his stride at just the right time. Then there’s Rohan Dennis, who has reignited
his hopes of becoming a Grand Tour GC threat. He took his first win since becoming world
time trial champion on the opening day, but if anything, it was his climbing that was
the most impressive – he wouldn’t be able to shake Bernal, but he could certainly lay
claim to being best of the rest, and would finish the race in the runner up spot – it’ll
be very interesting to see if he can back that performance up at the Tour de France. Jumbo Visma had reason to celebrate on stage
6, with the first WorldTour win for Antwan Tolhoek, and so too did EF Education First
on the final day. So keen was Hugh Carthy to start his summer
holidays, that he set off solo early on the final stage, and was never to be seen again. It was the kind of long range attack that
we rarely see in the modern era, even less so a successful one. And what a thoroughly deserved win for a man
who is a very popular character within the bunch, and with the media in fact – he’s
got a real no nonsense attitude to cycling and life. And in fact, Carthy is this week’s GCN Rider
Of The Week. Meanwhile, some of the other sprinters were
honing their form at the ZLM Tour in the Netherlands, a race which was making it’s return after
a one year absence. Dylan Groenewegen took his 8th and 9th wins
of the season on the opening 2 road stages, but in the other sprint battle, on the final
day, Caleb Ewan got the better of him. That was, in fact, the only blemish in the
race for Jumbo Visma. They’d taken a clean sweep of the podium
in the opening prologue, with Jos Van Emden taking the honours. Then, on stage 3, Amund Jansen scored a solo
win in front of team mate Mike Teunissen, who in turn went into the race lead, a lead
he would keep through to the end. The Tour de Slovenie didn’t have any Tour
de France GC hopefuls participating, but it was the race that Mark Cavendish used to hone
his form. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see him
take part in the sprints on stages 1, 2 or 5, won by Ackermann, Mezgec and Cav’s teammate
Nizzolo respectively. Cavendish had just finished a heavy training
block, but as he continues his return from Epstein Barr virus, his lack of results must
surely be of concern to he and his team, Dimension Data, who have had little to celebrate so
far this season. The GC was decided on stage 3, Diego Ulissi
coming home solo, going into the leader’s jersey in the process, a lead he’d keep
through to the end. One man who came out of the Tour de Slovenie
with something to say was Mitchelton Scott’s Matteo Trentin – the European champion was
clearly frustrated with proximity of the race motorbikes to the bunch. It’s something that does come up time and
time again as a topic of conversation, but little seems to be happening to resolve the
problem. We ourselves did a test a few years back to
see the difference that just a single motorbike can make to the effort needed to maintain
a certain speed, and the results were even more surprising than I had expected. I’ll link to that video at the end of this
one. And the final preparation race for the Tour
was the Route d’Occitanie, formerly the Route du Sud. 2 of the 4 days there were won
by Arnaud Demare, who has clearly come out of the Giro in good form. The GC picture, though, had already been formed
on the very opening day. Alejandro Valverde quashed speculation that
he’s on the decline by getting the better of another Giro participant, Eddie Dunbar
of Team Ineos, before finishing runner up to Dunbar’s teammate, Ivan Sosa, who took
his first win of the season on stage 3. That marks Valverde’s first general classification
win of the year so far. And so, with all the preparation done, we
can really start to speculate as to who is the favourite for the Tour de France. Without Froome, and the fact that Tom Dumoulin
has confirmed that he will NOT participate, this could be the most open and exciting July
we’ve seen in years. For Team Ineos, the first decision will be
who to protect. As defending champion, Geraint Thomas would
be the natural leader, but his season has certainly not been plain sailing. They also have that leader in waiting in the
form of Bernal, and although it will be just the 2nd grand tour of his career so far, it’s
hard to imagine that he won’t be protected through to the first mountains, perhaps with
a free role in the same vain as Thomas last year. For the French, there is a HUGE opportunity. It’s been 34 years since the last French
winner of the race, but in Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet, they have two genuine contenders. They’ve both finished on the podium before,
they’ve both built their season’s around this race. For Bardet, there is still work to be done
– he was far from his best at the Dauphiné, and the time trials are always going to be
his Achilles heel. Pinot, meanwhile, has had a very consistent
season, and if he manages to keep his head on, he’s a big threat. Ironically, you’d say that this is the best
opportunity ever for Richie Porte – ironic in that he’s not been in the kind of form
we’re used to seeing him in on the lead up to the Tour – perhaps that will be to his
benefit. Movistar once again have a three pronged attack
– Nairo Quintana will hope to complete his collection of Grand Tours, Mikel Landa will
hope to be set free to start his, whilst Alejandro Valverde was looking as lean as I’ve ever
seen him at the Route d’Occitanie, and clearly in good form with it. Going only on form, you’d have to put Jakob
Fuglsang down as one of, if not THE favourite. He’s really stepped it up another level
this year – my worry would be the fact that he’s never finished on the podium of a Grand
Tour, so to win the Tour at the age of 34 would be out of the ordinary. Steven Kruijswijk is someone that you can
never count out, but both he and Adam Yates were forced to withdraw from the Dauphiné
on the very final day due to illness. Yates is an interesting one too – he finished
very close to the podium in 2016, he too has built his season around a peak of form in
July, and his team will no doubt get him off to a good start in the team time trial. EF Education First have a very strong team
– Rigoberto Uran will be leading them with Mike Woods and Tejay van Garderen for back
up. They’ve all been on good form of late, and
between them, they could pose a real threat. And so too could Rohan Dennis, potentially. The Australian has been trying to transform
himself into a Grand Tour contender for a couple of years now, and the way he rode at
the Tour de Suisse suggests he’s getting close. How on earth do you pick a favourite from
those? To be honest, I’m not sure you can – for
me, there really is no clear favourite, but if I had to nail my colours to the mast, I’d
have to go with Egan Bernal. Yes he’s young, yes he’s relatively inexperienced,
but he is just soooo talented. It’ll be really interesting to see how Ineos
play it, and Bernal himself has said he’ll go into the race to support Thomas, but I
just think he’ll be like a caged rate, chomping at the bit to be let off the leash. We’d love to hear your thoughts – who is
your favourite to win the Tour this year? You can let us know in the comments section
below. We’ll be recording our Tour de France preview
show at the end of this week, so it would be interesting to get your consensus on the
race favourites. If you were with us last week you might remember
that it was the youngsters from the British national team who had dominated the opening
days at the Giro Ciclista d’Italia, or the Baby Giro as it’s affectionately known. Well, the Brits had to make way to yet another
generation of Colombian climbers. The Italians also had their day with Fabio
Mazzucco on stage 4, but as the race headed to the mountains, team Colombia went on the
offensive, likely sending the world tour team managers scrabbling for their cheque books. Twenty year old Andres Camilo Ardiles took
back to back mountain top victories on the Monte Amitata and Passo Maniva summits, performances
which gave him the leaders jersey. Juan Diego Alba gave the Colombians even more
to shout about on stage six, which he won from his team mate into Aprica. Fred Wright notched another win for the brits
with a solo victory into Levico Terme with a phenomenal solo victory. Winner of the final stage, Einer Augusto Rubio,
also did enough to move himself up to second overall, while team mate Ardila added his
name to a very elite list of previous winners at this race. And in fact, with Alba in 3rd, it was a clean
sweep of the podium for Colombian riders – a frightening prospect for all current and future
pros. It’s on to the Asia Tour now for the 10th
Edition of Le Tour de Filipinas, which was the first UCI sanctioned road cycling race
in the Philippines. 14 teams, 5 local and 9 international, competed
in the 5 day race starting from the City of Tagaytay heading south-west to finish at the
City of Legazpi which covering a total distance of 822.2km. Jeroen Meijers of Taiyuan Miogee Cycling would
establish a dominant lead in Stage 1 of the race by not only finishing first with a 1:39
minute gap over the second placed rider, but by also bagging the jerseys for best sprinter
and best climber as well. The chances for a Filipino rider to take the
overall crown took a severe blow as local favorites from the Philippine National Team
El Joshua Carino and Ronald Oranza dropped out of the race at the end of Stage 1. Leaving remaining Filipino riders such as
Marcelo Felipe of 7Eleven CLIQQ-AIR21 to carry the hopes of the home nation. In Stage 3 saw Samuel Hill from Team Nero
Bianchi who broke away from the pack at the last 10km and take his first UCI Victory. The team doubled up on Stage 4 with Jesse
Coyle using a late burst of speed to outstrip Team Sapura Cycling’s Muhammad Shaiful Adlan
Mohd Shukri on the line. Meijers’ lead though would prove to be insurmountable
as he finished Le Tour de Filipinas in first place after that first day stage win. Filipino riders Marcelo Felipe and Mark Galedo
finished at 11th and 15th place respectively in the Individual General Classification. Great to see the sport continuing to reach
new corners of the globe though – I know there are a lot of passionate cyclists in the Philippines,
so I’m sure it won’t be long until we see some big talent shine through on the international
stage. In other news, it appears that Jumbo Visma
could offer Kittel a potential lifeline back into cycling. The German sprinter is currently taking a
break from the sport for personal reasons, but could join up with his old coach at the
Dutch squad. It would be interesting to see if it would
work with Dylan Groenewegen, though, who has proven himself as one of, if not the fastest
sprinter in the world over the past couple of seasons. Speaking of Jumbo Visma – congratulations
to Primoz Roglic and his partner Lora on the birth of their first baby. I wonder if someone will knit a ski jumper
for them. Meanwhile, the stars of the women’s scene
have been honing their form ahead of the Giro Rosa, which starts a week on Friday. Van Vleuten, Spratt AND BRAND have been previewing
a few of the key mountain stages – I do love the fact that two potential rivals, in Brand
and Van Vleuten, are happy to recce and train together this close to a big objective like
the Giro! Also – great to see Marianne Vos back in action
after her nasty crash at the OVO Energy Women’s Tour last week. She took 2nd at the European Games road race
behind her teammate Lorena Wiebes. The UCI last week announced a whole host of
changes in an effort to revitalise track cycling, but it’s safe to say that not everybody
is happy about it. It was the UCI themselves who moved the track
cycling programme to the winter some years ago, but now, they’ve decided to move it
back to the summer, but the changes don’t stop there. The current world cup will be cut in half
from six events to three for the 2020/21 season, when it will be renamed the Nations Cup and
be held from July to September. It will also be exclusively for national teams. Part of the previous changes were that UCI
trade teams could compete on the track and the riders there scored points for their respective
nations. There will also be a new winter format soon
to be unveiled and the World Championships will move from March to October. Over the past couple of years teams such as
BEAT Cycling from the Netherlands and HUUB Wattbike have been racing with great success
and have been a breath of fresh air for the sport. HUUB Wattbike have been dominating the team
pursuit and have launched the careers of the likes of Charlie Tanfield who might not otherwise
have caught the attention of national team selectors……. The guys from the Peoples Republic of Derbados
had this response on twitter……clearly and understandably frustrated by the news,
whilst Theo Bos couldn’t understand the benefit of banning commercial teams from track
world cups. And it does seem a real shame for those guys
– remember another plucky Brit who made his bike out of washing machine parts, took on
the world only to upset the powers that be? Graeme Obree is one of the biggest stories
ever to come from track racing, and the HUUB Wattbike guys have been hitting the headlines
for upsetting the applecart in a similar way, and it’s going to be a real shame if those
opportunities are taken away from riders who aren’t, for whatever reason, selected for
their national team. We shall end this week with the Race Across
America. There, former Paris Roubaix winner Magnus
Backstedt and his team of amateur riders finished as first team in the 8 person open category. The big Swede was riding to raise money for
military charities and had also spent time training and coaching the rest of his team. They crossed the line on Saturday after 3069.80
miles and 5 days 15 hours and 49 minutes of riding. The solo leader winner was Christoph Strasser
in 8 days 6 hours and 16 minutes while Daniela Genovesi and Isa Pulver also deserve a mention
as solo winners in the solo women 50-59 and under 50 age categories, big respect to everyone
who took part. Right, that’s all for this week. Next week, it’s national championship week. We’ll see which riders will take their national
colours into the biggest races of the year in both the time trials and road races. In the meantime, if you’d like to see how
much difference motos make in cycling click down here:

42 thoughts on “Who Is The Favourite For The Tour de France? | The Cycling Race News Show

  1. Some say the Rumour is the cervelo mineral water test team are back to the Tour de France, leading the way Le aero Dan

  2. Bernal's too young. If he keeps his form though, he'll be unstoppable in 4/5 years time.

    Giving Ineos the credit they've earned, they'll protect Bernal until the mountains, so that he can protect Thomas through them.

  3. Thank you for this. I love the TDF, but don't know enough about most of the riders to have a little each-way bet.
    This is really helpful.

  4. I think Nairo Quintana might take it, if he has learned to attack later, or when attacking keep going all the way, with that Winner is possible.
    I agree Bernal might get it or Uran, its Copa de latino tour, however I hope for Fuglsang to win, go go go ale ale ale

    (sadly the French will have to wait for any frenchie to go all the way)

  5. My Top 10
    1 Thomas INS
    2 Pinot GFC
    3 Yates MTS
    4 Quintana MOV
    5 Bernal INS
    6 Fuglsang AST
    7 Bardet ALM
    8 Kruijswijk TJV
    9 Buchmann BOH
    10 Landa MOV

    Sprinters Clas.
    1 Sagan BOH
    2 Ewan LTS
    3 Groenewegen TJV

    Climber Clas.
    1 Nibali TBM
    2 Alaphilippe DQT
    3 Barguil ARK

    U-25 Clas.
    1 Bernal INS
    2 Mas DQT
    3 Latour ALM

    Team's Clas.
    1 Movistar
    2 Ineos
    3 Mitchelton
    4 Astana
    5 Jumbo-Visma

  6. 1: Quintana
    2: Porte
    3: Bernal
    4: Kruiswijk
    5: Thomas
    6: Pinot
    7: Nibali
    8: Bardet
    9: Martin
    10: Aru
    11: Yates
    12: Fuglsang
    13: Bennet
    14: Alaphilippe
    15: Barguil
    16: Valverde

  7. Egan Bernal "a caged rat"?!!! Please – maybe a caged puma, since he's Colombian? of course neither rats nor cats would be "chomping at the bit" since only horses are bridled with bits. Mixed metaphor there. But mainly, don't call Bernal a rat – horrible image.

  8. With alot of great rides never winning the tour (cav, segan, quintana) is winning the tour really the be all and end all now?

  9. 1 Thomas
    2 Bernal
    3 Pinot
    4 Fuglsang
    5 Bardet
    6 Quintana
    7 Kruijswijk
    8 Landa
    9 Poels
    10 Martin

    Porte crashes

  10. Many thanks to the GCN team for featuring Le Tour De Filipinas. I really hope to see Filipino riders compete in the world tour someday. Filipino riders are like, waving so hard to the UCI to be noticed…for so long now. Regards from Philippines 🇵🇭.

  11. The strength of the field was indeed less, well the parcours for sure wasn't! This was an epic closing weekend in the Tour de Suisse!

  12. For me its 1.Pinot, 2.Thomas/Bernal (who will be the leader?), 3.Quintana. Will be a great race anyway for sure

  13. Just to be on the safe side, don't you think it is worth to mention Fabio Aru? I know it is long time he hasn't shown too much, but after all he was not too bad at the Tour of Suisse and he has won a Vuelta plus other GT podiums… much more than what Porte or Kruiswek (that you mentioned) have ever done….

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