Featured image courtesy of Christopher Jue/Getty Images
22 teams will take to the start of the 107th edition of the Tour de France on Saturday.
With the start list now confirmed, let’s take a brief look at each team and what they might expect to achieve in the next three weeks to Paris…
AG2R La Mondiale.Embed from Getty Images
Romain Bardet, Mikaël Cherel, Benoît Cosnefroy, Pierre Latour, Oliver Naesen, Nans Peters, Clément Venturini, Alexis Vuillermoz.
The French outfit bring two leaders this year in the shape of Bardet (pictured) and the 2018 Tour’s best young rider, Latour. Bardet won the King of the Mountains jersey last year, however he never looked in contention for the overall, and hasn’t since his third place in 2017. He finished sixth at the Criterium du Dauphiné; can he do better here, or is it time for Latour to step up and get a big result? Given his fairly anonymous results this year, it seems unlikely.
Prediction: Bardet will struggle with anything more than a top five. Latour won’t break into the top-ten.
Astana Pro Team.Embed from Getty Images
Miguel Angel Lopez, Alexey Lutsenko, Luis Leon Sanchez, Ion Izagirre, Gorka Izagirre, Hugo Houle, Omar Fraile and Harold Tejada.
With a third place at the Giro and Vuelta, it’s about time Lopez (pictured) and the Kazakh outfit made an impact on French soil. They have often struggled to make much of an impact on the Tour in terms of the general classification (GC), but on paper they bring a very strong team with recent good form. Sanchez and Gorka Izagirre have both won since racing has resumed. They lack the discipline and ability the control the peloton however, unlike Ineos and Jumbo-Visma. Lopez is an outsider for the podium, whilst their strong complement of climbers provides several stage-winning opportunities.
Prediction: a top-five for Lopez, with a stage win.
Mikel Landa, Pello Bilbao, Damiano Caruso, Sonny Colbrelli, Marco Haller, Matej Mohorič, Wout Poels, Rafa Valls.Embed from Getty Images
Basque Landa (pictured) finally gets sole leadership at a Grand Tour, after a torrid two years at Movistar as a part of their failed ‘trident’ leadership strategy. His best Grand Tour result was third at the 2015 Giro. This Tour will provide his best opportunity yet at going for the podium or higher, but Landa has never quite lived up to his full potential. Poels joins from Ineos and is one of the strongest mountain domestiques in the peloton, with Caruso and newly-crowned Spanish time trial champion Bilbao being other reliable additions.
Prediction: If he is on top form, Landa is certainly capable of getting onto the podium.
B&B Hotels-Vital Concept.Embed from Getty Images
Cyril Barthe, Maxime Chevalier, Bryan Coquard, Jens Debusschere, Cyril Gautier, Quentin Pacher, Kévin Reza, Pierre Rolland.
The first of three Pro-Continental outfits selected for this Tour, this young French squad make their first appearance since their inception in 2018. They will be seeking stage wins with sprinter Coquard (pictured), who is on good form having recently won a stage at La Route d’Occitanie. He hasn’t raced the Tour since 2016 when he came within millimetres of beating Marcel Kittel in the stage to Limoges. Beating the likes of Caleb Ewan and Elia Viviani will prove very difficult however. They also bring the popular Rolland, who could challenge for a stage win if he is in the right breakaway.
Predicition: A single stage win will be a major achievement.
Bora-Hansgrohe.Embed from Getty Images
Emanuel Buchmann, Felix Grosschartner, Lennard Kämna, Gregor Mühlberger, Daniel Oss, Lukas Pöstlberger, Peter Sagan, Maximilian Schachmann.
On paper this is one of the strongest teams in the race, with cards to play on virtually all stages and terrains. However, Buchmann, Mühlberger and Schachmann start despite still recovering from injuries sustained from the Dauphiné and Il Lombardia. Thus, the team may be adjusting their strategy in favour of stage wins, as opposed to supporting Buchmann who finished fourth last year. Not forgetting Sagan of course (pictured), who as always, is a near-certainty to win the points classification again. He is without a win this year, but always delivers at the Tour.
Prediction: Sagan will win green again with a stage win or two in the process, but the GC riders will struggle to get a top-ten.
CCC Team.Embed from Getty Images
Alessandro De Marchi, Simon Geschke, Jan Hirt, Jonas Koch, Michael Schär, Matteo Trentin, Greg Van Avermaet, Ilnur Zakarin.
The Polish outfit have had a turbulent 2020. They are the only World Tour team without a win this year, and to add insult to injury their title sponsor has announced that they will be withdrawing at the end of the season. Thus, they need a strong showing at this year’s race more than ever. They have riders capable of challenging for every stage, though Trentin and Van Avermaet (both pictured) provide the best opportunities for securing the team’s first win of the year. With the amount of hilly stages, both can win from reduced bunch sprints, or go solo as Trentin did on stage 17 last year.
Prediction: a stage win from a breakaway is more than possible, and Van Avermaet could be an outsider for the green jersey.
Cofidis.Embed from Getty Images
Simone Consonni, Nicolas Edet, Jésus Herrada, Christophe Laporte, Guillaume Martin, Anthony Pérez, Pierre-Luc Périchon, Elia Viviani.
Finally, the French outfit got their promotion to the World Tour, with a solid roster to match. They haven’t won a Tour stage since 2006, but their team this year provides an excellent chance to end a 14 year drought. Viviani (pictured) arrives from Deceuninck-Quick step having won his first Tour stage last year into Nancy. He has yet to win this year however. For the mountains, Martin looks very promising, having taken third at the Dauphiné. A top-10 result is well within reach.
Prediction: Martin could prove to be the revelation of this year’s Tour.
Deceuninck-Quick StepEmbed from Getty Images
Julian Alaphilippe, Kasper Asgreen, Sam Bennett, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Bob Jungels, Michael Mørkøv and Zdenek Štybar
A team that is no stranger to Tour success, the Belgian squad bring several riders who can challenge for multiple stage wins. Alaphilippe returns after his surprise fifth place last year. He has played down his GC ambitions this year though, and is unlikely to be allowed to attack by other GC teams. Bennett starts his first Tour since 2016 and will be a favourite to become the sixth Irishman to win a stage, having already won stages of the Giro and Vuelta. Asgreen and Stybar provide options for breakaways, whilst Jungels and Devenyns will ride in support of Alaphilippe.
Prediction: Alaphilippe won’t be in the top-ten this year, but will no doubt provide a stage win or two, as will Bennett.
EF Pro CyclingEmbed from Getty Images
Rigoberto Urán, Sergio Higuita, Dani Martínez, Jens Keukeleire, Tejay van Garderen, Neilson Powless, Hugh Carthy, and Alberto Bettiol.
The American outfit bring a strong, all-round team centred on the Columbian trio of Uran, Higuita and Martinez; the latter fresh from winning the Criterium du Dauphiné. Uran will be looking for a strong performance having finished second in 2017, and after crashing out of last year’s Vuelta. Higuita and Martinez are unproven over three weeks, but their form this year has been outstanding and thus this Tour will provide the perfect opportunity to showcase their talent. Brit Carthy makes his Tour debut and will on the lookout for breakaway success.
Prediction: A top-five will be a stretch, though a stage win is certainly realistic.
Groupama-FDJEmbed from Getty Images
William Bonnett, David Gaudu, Stefan Küng, Matthieu Ladagnous, Rudy Molard, Thibaut Pinot, Sébastien Reichenback, Anthony Roux.
Groupama-FDJ are all-in for Pinot this year after his heartbreaking abandon on stage 19 last year, whilst in a prime position to challenge for the yellow jersey. The form is certainly there; he finished second at the Dauphiné and has not finished any lower than seventh in every stage race he has competed in this year. He is very prone to injury or cracking under pressure though, something that has hampered most of his Grand Tour bids. He has reliable mountain support in Molard, Gaudu and Reichenbach, but they won’t be able to match Ineos or Jumbo-Visma.
Prediction: Pinot will crack again whilst lying high on GC.
Israel Start-Up NationEmbed from Getty Images
Dan Martin, André Greipel, Ben Hermans, Hugo Hofstetter, Krists Neilands, Guy Niv, Nils Politt, Tom Van Asbroeck.
Tour debutants, ISN bring a mixed team that will be hunting for stage wins. They won’t be trying for the general classification, but experienced Dan Martin is capable of a mountain stage win and perhaps a top-ten finish. André Greipel doesn’t have the legs anymore to compete in bunch sprints, but nevertheless this is a team that will undoubtedly race aggressively. Classics specialist Politt provides options on flatter stages, and expect to see Hermans in mountain breakaways; he just finished ninth at Il Lombardia.
Predicition: a stage win will make for a very successful Tour debut.
Lotto-SoudalEmbed from Getty Images
Steff Cras, Jasper De Buyst, Thomas De Gendt, John Degenkolb, Caleb Ewan, Frederik Frison, Philippe Gilbert, Roger Kluge.
Ewan (pictured) will be the sprinter to beat at this year’s Tour; he won three stages last year and has four wins this year already. Degenkolb will lead him out, the German also being a good sprinter in his own right, making for a formidable duo in the final kilometres of flat stages. De Gendt is guaranteed to be in multiple breakaways, which are often successful as shown in his victory on stage eight last year. Veteran Gilbert makes his Tour debut for Lotto after moving over from Deceuninck and could pair up with De Gendt in medium-mountain breakaways.
Prediction: they should be able to match last year’s four stage wins.
Mitchelton-ScottEmbed from Getty Images
Jack Bauer, Sam Bewley, Esteban Chaves, Daryl Impey, Christopher Juul-Jensen, Luka Mezgec, Mikel Nieve, Adam Yates.
Adam Yates leads the Australian squad this year. He’s had a turbulent relationship with the Tour; after winning the youth classification in 2016 he hasn’t troubled the top of the GC standings. He’s only ridden two races this year: the UAE Tour which he won comprehensively, and the Dauphiné in which he finished an anonymous 17th. He’ll need to be at his very best if he is to challenge for a top placing. Strong climbers in Nieve and Chaves are also present; they both have stage-winning potential, as does Impey who won a stage last year.
Prediction: A top-ten finish for Yates.
Movistar TeamEmbed from Getty Images
Dario Cataldo, Imanol Erviti, Enric Mas, Nelson Oliveira, José Joaquín Rojas, Marc Soler, Alejandro Valverde, Carlos Verona.
Despite having won the Giro and the Vuelta in recent years, Movistar have had a sour relationship with the Tour. The past two editions saw them employing a ‘trident’ strategy with Nairo Quintana, Landa, and Valverde. This failed drastically, with none able to get on the podium and only two stage wins to show. Curiously they seem to be employing this tactic again with Valverde, Soler and Mas, none of whom are the designated leader. All three riders have struggled this year and have not featured in any stage race they have ridden. It will be a struggle to compete for the GC.
Prediction: Soler could sneak into the top-ten.
NTT Pro Cycling TeamEmbed from Getty Images
Edvald Boasson Hagen, Ryan Gibbons, Michael Gogl, Roman Kreuziger, Giacomo Nizzolo, Domenico Pozzovivo, Michael Valgren, Max Walsheid
You’d be forgiven for forgetting that Dimension Data (NTT’s previous incarnation) were even at the last two Tours, with no stage wins and no riders near the top of the GC. Their squad this year is a confusing mix of sprinters and veteran climbers. Nizzolo (pictured) has notched up four wins this year, including the Italian and European championships. He’s NTT’s best chance of a stage win but can he compete with Ewan and Bennett? Boasson Hagen and Valgren can win from a breakaway, but there’s always a feeling of ‘could do better’ with NTT at Grand Tours.
Prediction: They’ll need to race tactically and choose the right breakaways to have a shot at a stage win.
Team Arkea-SamsicEmbed from Getty Images
Nairo Quintana, Warren Barguil, Connor Swift, Winner Anacona, Dayer Quintana, Diego Rosa , Maxime Bouet, Clément Russo.
The second of three Pro-Continental outfits on the start list, Arkea boast a roster good enough to match most World Tour squads. Nairo Quintana (pictured) will have the full support of the team in a bid to go one higher than his second place in 2015. Since 2016 however, he hasn’t been able to finish higher than eighth. Before lockdown, he was near-unbeatable in the mountains, but will that form return? He finished third in the Tour de l’Ain, but did not finish the Dauphiné, citing a knee injury. Barguil could take a joint leadership role, but since his two stage wins in 2017 his form has waned somewhat.
Prediction: Quintana will roll back the years somewhat and sneak into the top-five.
Team IneosEmbed from Getty Images
Andrey Amador, Egan Bernal, Richard Carapaz, Jonathan Castroviejo, Michal Kwiatkowski, Pavel Sivakov, Luke Rowe, Dylan Van Baarle.
Winners of seven of the last eight editions, Team Ineos bring a typically stacked roster to help Bernal win a second yellow jersey. With Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas absent after a poor showing in post-lockdown races, Bernal will enjoy sole leadership of the team. He is arguably, the favourite to win, although his abandon at the Dauphiné with back pain has raised questions as to whether he will be on top form. If he fully recovers, there is no reason to doubt he will be in a fantastic place to defend his title. The seven domestiques joining him have all showed excellent form since racing has resumed, with Carapaz a useful tactical card to play should he remain high on GC into the race.
Prediction: Anything other than yellow would be a disappointment.
Team Jumbo-VismaEmbed from Getty Images
Primož Roglič, Tom Dumoulin, Wout van Aert, George Bennett, Tony Martin, Sepp Kuss, Amund Grøndahl Jansen and Robert Gesink.
Until Kruiswijk and Roglič crashed out of the Dauphiné, Jumbo-Visma looked like they could be the team to finally break the dominance of Ineos. Kruiswijk now won’t race, meaning the Dutch team have lost their strongest rider after Roglič. The Slovenian himself was displaying the best form out of all the GC contenders, however his fitness is in doubt after he sustained heavy road rash at the Dauphiné. Just recently, he has expressed worry that his injuries have not healed as fast as expected. They do still of course have Dumoulin, but he has only just started racing for the first time since last year’s Giro. Will he be able to perform over three weeks again? And how will Jumbo-Visma handle dual leadership?
Prediction: If Roglič is at full fitness, fans will be in for a thrilling duel between him and Bernal for yellow.
Team SunwebEmbed from Getty Images
Søren Kragh Andersen, Nikias Arndt, Tiesj Benoot, Cees Bol, Marc Hirschi, Joris Nieuwenhuis, Casper Pedersen, Nicholas Roche.
Stage wins will be the goal for Sunweb, who lack a GC contender after Dumoulin left for Jumbo. Their only GC options would have been Wilco Kelderman and Sam Oomen, however both are absent. The team will have to rely on breakaways for any stage wins; sprinters Bol and Arndt are not strong enough to beat the other pure sprinters, at least based on their form since racing has resumed. Classics specialist Benoot is arguably their best chance of a win, whilst Roche will animate mountain breakaways.
Prediction: A stage win will prove difficult; none of their riders are the best in their discipline.
Total Direct EnergieEmbed from Getty Images
Niccolo Bonifazio, Lilian Calmejane, Anthony Turgis, Mathieu Burgaudeau, Romain Sicard, Fabien Grellier, Jerome Cousin, Geoffrey Soup.
The final Pro-Continental team at this year’s race, Total will be there to animate every breakaway and attack as much as possible in search of stage wins, something that has eluded them since Calmejane (pictured) won stage eight in 2017. Bonifazio has really stepped up this year, as displayed in his stage victory at Paris-Nice. Opportunities for sprinters this year are thin however. Turgis and Calmejane will have the hillier stages covered. If they are in the right breakaway, they have every chance of claiming an elusive stage victory. As the team wish to be promoted to World Tour next year, they will be motivated to race aggressively.
Prediction: Expect them to animate breakaways and win a combativity prize or two, but a stage win will be a big ask.
Trek-SegafredoEmbed from Getty Images
Niklas Eg, Kenny Elissonde, Bauke Mollema, Mads Pedersen, Richie Porte, Toms Skujins, Jasper Stuyven, Edward Theuns.
Trek have opted for a dual leadership approach with Mollema and Porte. With the latter supposedly moving to Ineos next year, this will be his last chance to enjoy leadership at the Tour. Porte’s record at the Tour is poor: he has either crashed out or finished well down in the GC standings. His form this year has done little to convince anyone that he can make amends. Mollema is looking more towards stage wins, although he did record a sixth-place finish in 2016. He finished fourth in Lombardia, so he is on form, as is World Champion Pedersen who took a stage win at the Tour of Poland. Stuyven can win from a reduced bunch sprint.
Prediction: it’s unlikely at this stage we’ll see Porte fight for a top placing, but with Mollema and Pedersen there is stage-winning potential.
UAE Team Emirates.Embed from Getty Images
Tadej Pogacar, Fabio Aru, Davide Formolo, Jan Polanc, Alexander Kristoff, Vegard Stake Laengen, David De La Cruz, Marco Marcato.
Team UAE have really bolstered their GC talents recently, with Slovenian youngster Pogacar (pictured) spearheading their campaign in France. The team had a collectively strong showing at the Dauphiné, with Formolo winning a stage, De La Cruz winning the mountains classification, and Pogacar coming fourth overall. Can he reproduce the form that saw him come finish third at last year’s Vuelta? It will be a huge ask with the sheer strength of the competition, and the added pressure compared to the Vuelta. He may be better off riding to gain experience, although a top-ten is easily achievable. Aru also rides, but his form has been poor for some time now.
Prediction: it will be a tough ask for Pogacar to achieve a top placing in his first Tour, but a stage win is a strong possibility.