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Who’s Gonna Win the Tour? You Decide!

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We took a little bit of a different approach to the Tour preview this year at PdC, with each editor giving a take on one of the bookie’s favorites as well as another rider that could surprise. The reason is partly because the field of contenders is more egalitarian than ever this year (even if Andrew thinks that Bernal the Unproven should be the favorite), and a single post on the GC prospects would have likely ran for over 10,000 words and still managed to miss the eventual winner (I’m looking at the past version of myself who wrote the Giro preview- Carapaz was only mentioned as a helper for Landa). Thus, Andrew’s, Jens’, Conor’s and my posts have missed a lot of potential contenders. No mention of Movistar’s limp trident? The horror! No discussion of the only other Tour winner in this year’s field— Nibali. Mamma mia! Well, let me try to correct that with this post. I’ll take a quick look at some of the other potential contenders and then leave a poll at the bottom and open up the comments for discussion.

Nairo Quintana

If you were to set my role as a writer aside and just ask me for my opinion as to who I’m most bullish on winning this year, I’m all about Quintana. I like his betting odds— you can get him at 18/1— and I like his experience versus the rest of the field. It was not so long ago that he was in Bernal’s position as the next great Colombian hope. Unlike Bernal, he’s actually won two grand tours and has finished on the Tour podium three times. While cycling is a sport that is constantly asking, “what have you done for me lately?,” Quintana is not even 30 years old yet. Geraint Thomas, who before last year, never looked like a Tour winner, was 32 years old when he took the victory. Nairoman is flying under the radar this year, and Movistar just proved that they still can win a grand tour at the Giro.

Even you don’t get the references, it’s always nice to politely smile at granddad’s jokes.
Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Vincenzo Nibali

You know that the shark can smell blood in the water after he changed his tune from chasing stages to going for the GC after Froome’s crash. Nibali’s the only rider in the Tour to have won all three grand tours, yet, like Quintana is being passed over as a potential winner this year. Sure, he has the Giro in his legs, but he also proved that an old Sicilian could still hang with the young challengers by finishing 2nd. Nibali has a strong team around him as well, with Rohan Dennis, the runner up at Suisse, for both the team time trial and the mountains and Damiano Caruso, Matej Mohoric, Dylan Teuns, and Ivan Garcia Cortina for support.

Steven Kruijswijk

The snow-adverse Kruijswijk may have lost his position as best grand tour rider at Jumbo Visma to a ski jumper, but his 4th place finish at the Vuelta and 5th place at the Tour last year should not be ignored. While he fell victim to the Dauphine stomach virus, he’s looked quite good in the run up races this year, finishing no worse than 6th in the other three stage races that he finished. While his team support might be less than ideal due to Jumbo’s bifurcated goals with Groenewegen, they’ll likely perform well on the team time trial, and having George Bennett and Laurens de Plus as mountain domestiques is still better than what Roglic had at the Giro.

Rigoberto Uran

Speaking of forgotten Colombian hopes, Uran is getting even less attention than Quintana this year. Maybe it’s because he’s 32 years old and has been the perpetual runner up at grand tours— finishing 2nd at the Tour in 2017 and finishing twice second at the Giro. Team Ef’d have not lived up to their name this year and have actually been winning races. The support of Michael Woods and Tejay Van Garderen is not too shabby. Thus, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Uran pull a Cadel Evans.

Wout Poels

Wout “The Gun Show” Poels
Tim de Waele/Getty Images

If Bernal is felled by his inexperience and Thomas reverts back to his crash prone ways, a certain Wouter Lambertus Martinus Henricus Poels will be left as the engine on the unstoppable chemical train (we really need to find a replacement for “Sky train,” and this is my attempt). While he’s been a consummate teammate, perhaps Thomas set a bad example last year that Poels can learn from— if you have the legs, you don’t have to work for anyone else.

Enric Mas

Mas hasn’t looked like the same rider that finished 2nd at the Vuelta last year, in the process defeating many of the contenders at this year’s Tour, including Kruijswijk, Valverde, Pinot, Uran, and Quintana. With the recent report that he’s signed for Movistar for three years, Mas is even less likely to have any support from Deceuninck - Quick Step (counterpoint: 0 minus 0 still equals 0). However, if he can find that vein of form he had at the Vuelta last year, Mas could find himself in the mix.

Mikel Landa

Well, he went to the Giro as the leader of Movistar, and ended up the helper. Therefore, if he goes to the Tour as the helper, he’ll end of as the leader, right? Hopefully, Max Sciandri can bring some of that trident whispering that he ostensibly brought to the Giro, because on paper the Movistar strategy looks like a comedy of egos waiting to happen. Old man Valverde is the anchor weighing the GC aspirations of the team down, yet he was just signed on a new contract. Meanwhile, both Quintana and Landa are leaving at the end of the year. There’s absolutely no motivation for the three leaders to try to work together. It could be a massacre out there, but if so look for Landa to use that chaos as a ladder to climb to the top.

So, now we’ve taken a look at 16 riders that have a non-negligible chance of wearing yellow in Paris, yet there are even more that we haven’t looked at in any detail— including Valverde, Emanuel Buchmann, Michal Kwiatkowski, Michael Woods, George Bennett, Fabio Aru, and Ilnur Zakarin. So, with that I’ll leave it to you to hash out below. Who do you like for the win this year?

Poll

Who’s going to win the Tour?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Geraint Thomas
    (9 votes)
  • 29%
    Egan Bernal
    (51 votes)
  • 7%
    Jakob Fuglsang
    (13 votes)
  • 7%
    Adam Yates
    (12 votes)
  • 4%
    Richie Porte
    (7 votes)
  • 8%
    Nairo Quintana
    (14 votes)
  • 10%
    Thibaut Pinot
    (18 votes)
  • 4%
    Romain Bardet
    (7 votes)
  • 6%
    Steven Kruijswijk
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    Vincenzo Nibali
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Mikel Landa
    (2 votes)
  • 5%
    Rigoberto Uran
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    Enric Mas
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Simon Yates
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Woet Poels
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Alejandro Valverde
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Dan Martin
    (0 votes)
  • 4%
    Mark Cavendish
    (7 votes)
  • 2%
    Other
    (5 votes)
171 votes total Vote Now