Tour de France 2019
“Nothing compares to the yellow jersey”
fizik
07/05/2019

This is it, this is the one that really matters, the biggest race in the world and the most coveted prize: “Nothing compares to the yellow jersey,” says Chris Froome. And none of the general classification contenders would disagree with the four-time winner.

We can’t wait for Saturday 6th July and the Grande Départ in Brussels. After a flat start the 106th edition hits the hills and tips into a balance that’s heavier on the climbing than most editions, advantaging the lighter riders, but still offers lots of opportunities for sprinters, exciting breakaways, and two time trials: one team, one individual.

There will be a final battle in the Alps before the traditional processional finish in Paris on the 28th where one GC contender and his team will sip champagne. But who…?

With Chris Froome crashing at the Criterium de Dauphiné, Team Ineos have announced joint leadership roles for Geraint Thomas in defence of the yellow jersey he won last year while wearing grey Infinito R1 Knit and Arione saddle– and, given his electrifying form, including winning the Tour de Suisse, for Egan Bernal. Many think the 22-year-old is ready to win the Tour, with no less than Alberto Contador labelling Bernal the “clear favorite”. The Colombian was a vital lieutenant for the Welshman in 2018 but could the roles reverse in the mountains?

Geraint Thomas

Resting Richard Carapaz after his Giro d’Italia victory Movistar Team roll out the big guns in terms of big-race experience: World Champion Alejandro Valverde (fresh from winning the Spanish national championships following victory at the Route d’Occitanie), Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España winner Nairo Quintana, and mountains-ready Mikel Landa.

Alejandro Valverde

With no Primož Roglič (third in the Giro and recently moved into second spot in the UCI rankings), Team Jumbo-Visma are led by Steven Kruijswijk. The 32-year-old is a strong option for the mountains and wants to turn his GC podium near-misses into hits. The Dutch squad could be off to an early flyer – in the 26.7km Team Time Trial on Sunday 7th’s stage 2 with a chromo-focused line-up that includes Wout van Aert, who became Belgian TT champion this week, Jos van Emden, who just claimed his second Dutch TT title and the legendary nine-time German TT champion Tony Martin.

Steven Kruijswijk

The first of the two French fizik-riding squads, AG2R La Mondiale have built their season around the Tour de France. In recent seasons, Romain Bardet has podium’d twice in the last three years. With the climbing-heavy course for this year’s edition, the 28-year-old is a serious contender. Bardet will be backed by a squad including Tour stage winner Alexis Vuillermoz and Belgian Classics hard-man Oliver Naesen (Infinito R1) – a line-up that was modified after Tony Gallopin and Benoît Cosnefroy crashed in the French National Road race at the weekend, and Pierre Latour hasn’t regained his best form.

Bardet

The French Pro-Continental Team Cofidis once again look to entertain and make an impact at their home Grand Tour. Some are tipping Christophe Laporte in his fifth consecutive Tour de France, for a first stage win. Look out for the climber – and double Spanish road champion – 28-year-old Jesús Herrada (who bettered Romain Bardet to win the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge) and watch out for “El Puma” – the experienced Colombian, Darwin Atapuma. But this year there’s no Nacer Bouhanni, having abandoned in the Criterium du Dauphiné and unable to find a place in the team.

Roll on Saturday 6th!