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Who will win the 2021 Tour de France? The exciting battle for the yellow jersey

24.06.2021

Who will stand at the top of the podium at the end of the 2021 Tour de France in Paris? Will there be another Slovenian duel for the Tour victory, or will a rider of team Ineos Grenadier win the race? The fight for the yellow jersey will definitely be an exciting one. Alpecin Cycling presents the contesters for the overall victory.

Tadej Pogačar | UAE Team Emirates | 22 years old

Tour appearances: 1
Best Tour finish: winner (2020)
Tour stage wins: 3

The sensational winner of the 2020 Tour did neither have himself be celebrated too much after his triumph nor did he let his hair down. Already in spring, the 22-year-old Slovenian showed that he is in the same strong form as he was in the previous year and won the UAE Tour, Tirreno Adriatico and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He skipped big Tour de France preparation races like Criterium du Dauphine and Tour de Suisse but won his home Tour in Slovenia in June with ease. To help him repeat his Tour victory, team manager Mauro Gianetti invested heavily and signed Marc Hirschi and Rafal Majka.

Primož Roglič | Jumbo-Visma | 31 years old

Tour participations: 3
Best finish at the Tour: 2nd place (2020)
Tour stage wins: 3

Losing last year’s Tour shortly before the end seems to be motivation enough for Roglic and his coaches as well as sports directors. They changed the preparation programme, tested the time trial course early in the season. The goal is to get the Slovenian to the start line of the Tour fresh and rested; he is said to lose a little more power in the third week of a Tour than his direct rivals, though.

In a direct comparison with his competitor Pogačar it is a tie this season resultwise. Pogačar won Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Roglic was 13th, but “Rogla” won the Tour of the Basque Country, where “Pogi” was third. While Roglic is on course, it is hard to tell in what form his noble domestiques Sepp Kuss and Steven Kruijswijk will be. Their last performances were not very convincing. On the other hand, the young Norwegian Jonas Vingegaard had a strong spring and could be the last man in front of Roglic on some stages.

Geraint Thomas | Ineos Grenadiers | 35 years

Tour participations: 10
Best finish at the Tour: winner (2018)
Tour stage wins: 3

In 2007, the Welshman rode his first Tour, back then in the jersey of Team Barloworld together with Chris Froome. This year’s is his 11th Grand Boucle, and he wants to repeat his 2018 triumph. Back then, he won the Tour convincingly – he showed no weakness, neither in the mountains nor in the time trial. In 2019, as defending champion, his team-mate Egan Bernal outperformed him, and Thomas “only” finished as runner-up. In 2020, he was not on the Tour team, and he did not finish the Giro. So, the now 35-year-old will make his “Tour comeback” – and the chances are very good that it will be successful. On the one hand, he can count on a powerful team of Grand Tour winners (Richard Carapaz, Tao Geoghegan Hart) and world champions (Rohan Dennis, Michał Kwiatkowski), and on the other hand, he himself is in peak form, as his victory at the Tour de Romandie shows. Third place in the Criterium du Dauphine, however, was no real indicator of how strong “G” really was in this preparatory race, as he helped his team-mate Richie Porte win.

Miguel Ángel López | Movistar | 27 years old

Tour participations: 1
Best Tour finish: 6th (2020)
Tour stage wins: 1

The Tour debut of “Superman Lopez” last year was promising. The Colombian finished 6th and won the difficult mountain stage up Col de la Loze. The weak time trial performance on the penultimate day of the 2020 Tour of France even cost him a podium finish – and this weakness in the battle against the clock could also ruin his dream of a podium finish in Paris this year. He is one of the strongest climbers, and he is also explosive. He proved this most recently by winning Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge in a 10-kilometre solo ride. With ex-champion Alejandro Valverde and Spain’s bearer of hope Enric Mas he has strong helpers at his side – at least on paper. For it remains to be seen, whether they will submit to this role just like that.

Rigoberto Urán | EF Education-Nippo | 34 years old

Tour participations: 7
Best finish at the Tour: 2nd place (2017)
Tour stage wins: 1

The 34-year-old Colombian only competed in three races leading up to the Tour this year – and almost remained completely under the radar. But at the Tour de Suisse, he showed peak form in the mountains and especially in the long time trial, catapulting himself to second place overall. Urán is a complete Grand Tour rider and knows what it feels like to ride at the front. He finished second in the Giro and the Tour and now seems to have returned to this “old” strength. “Rigo” will get support from his young teammates – compatriot Sergio Higuita and US-American Nelson Powless who are both good climbers.

Richard Carapaz | Ineos Grenadiers | 28 years

Tour appearances: 1
Best finish at the Tour: 13th (2020)
Tour stage wins: –

Thanks to his victory at the Tour de Suisse, the Ecuadorian enters the Tour full of self-confidence and could play a weighty role there. In case Geraint Thomas falters, gets injured or even drops out of the race, Carapaz will be ready to go. He won the Giro d’Italia in 2019 and narrowly missed out on overall victory at the Tour of Spain in 2020. He showed in both races that he is rather getting stronger than weaker in the third race week. A quality not to be underestimated in a three-week stage race across the country. Carapaz’s only shortcoming is his time trial skills.

David Gaudu | Groupama-FDJ | 24 years old

Tour participations: 3
Best finish at the Tour: 13th (2019)
Tour stage wins: –

Changing of the guard at Groupama-FDJ – at least for the Tour. Instead of Thibaut Pinot his 24-year-old compatriot David Gaudu is now set to finish at the top of rankings for the Grand Nation. The climber had a good first half-year, finishing ninth in the Critérium du Dauphiné, fifth in the Basque country and on the podium in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. But he already put himself forward for the leader’s role last year when he finished eighth overall in the Vuelta and won a mountain stage. Especially the first two stages will suit Gaudu and he could live up to the French nation’s dream of winning the yellow jersey – even if only temporarily.

Wilco Kelderman | Bora-Hansgrohe | 30 years old

Tour participations: 3
Best finish at the Tour: 32nd (2016)
Tour stage wins: –

Bora-Hansgrohe’s newcomer wants to show that his third place in last year’s Giro d’Italia was no flash in the pan. The Dutchman may not be the most explosive rider in the mountains, but he can ride at high power for long periods, which gives him an edge in both time trials. If he gets through the first hectic Tour week without crashing, a top five finish will be within the bounds of possibility. He will be supported in the mountains by none other than Emanuel Buchmann, who got into the Tour squad of the German pro team at short notice.

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