Although the official team sheets have not yet been announced, it is believed that six British riders will line up for the start in Brest, with the British team Ineos Grenadiers fielding half.In 2020, there were only four Brits in attendance when Tadej Pogačar won his first yellow jersey, but this time around there are two from the country with genuine aspirations to succeed the Slovenian, and maybe even a third if circumstances prevent it.
Geraint Thomas, Ineos Grenadiers
The Welshman won the race in 2018, finished second in his title defense and returns to The Great Loop after missing the selection in 2020.
His form this season suggests he’s stronger than ever and it would be a major surprise if he didn’t cause problems for Pogačar and Primoż Roglič in the mountains and time trials.
The 35-year-old knows time is running out on his quest to win at least one more Grand Tour, and it looks like he’s determined to add another to his collection, bruised by his Tour snub last summer, a premature fall at the Giro d’Italia and the perception that his best days were behind him.
Tao Geoghegan Hart, Ineos Grenadiers
It was Thomas’ fall at the Giro last fall that finally paved the way for Geoghegan Hart’s own stab at the pink that paid off in the final time trial.
The Londoner crashed in Paris-Nice in March and was out of step with his return race, the Tour du Pays Basque. Since then, he has slowly returned to form, with a second place in the sixth stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné and a 10th place overall.
Whether or not he’s in the same form as when he won in Italy is a question no one, probably much less him, has an answer for.
He’s very likely to run in support of Thomas, but given his victory in Italy, he shouldn’t be ruled out for a high ranking.
Simon Yates, Team BikeExchange
After finishing third in the Giro d’Italia where some days he was the best climber of the peloton and other days he seemed to be a shadow of his previous performances, the Bury-man returns to the Tour for the fifth time.
He won two stages in the 2019 edition and that is also what his goals are this time around, with road racing at the Olympics being seen as his goal for the season.
But if the 28-year-old found himself in an advantageous position in the overall standings after a week of racing, it would be foolish to think that the winner of the Vuelta a España 2018 would forgo the chance to win a second Grand Tour.
Chris Froome, nation start-up israélienne
The four-time winner is back in the race for the first time since 2018.
He might not win a fifth title and instead ride to support his team manager Michael Woods, but the 35-year-old’s mere presence in the race is a feat in itself given the injuries he sustained there. two years ago at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
It’s well known that Froome is more used to the back than to the front of the pack these days, but expect the TV cameras to focus on him a lot.
Luke Rowe, Ineos Grenadiers
There are few more trusted and respected road captains in cycling than Luke Rowe, who will line up for his seventh Tour.
Prior to last year, Rowe had a 100% Tour winning record, a remarkable comeback from five appearances.
He and Thomas have a very strong personal friendship, while his decision-making on the road has been credited with much success by Ineos Grenadiers over the past decade. An invaluable member of the British team’s eight-man squad.
Alex Dowsett, nation start-up israélienne
Although not yet confirmed, Alex Dowsett is set to play his third Tour, just five weeks after leaving the Giro d’Italia.
The time trial specialist will have his eyes on both time trial tests of the race, and he’ll also support himself if he manages to make a one-day breakaway.
Like so many others on the Tour, Dowsett has Olympic aspirations and he knows that a good performance in France could set him up for success at Toyko, if he were to fly to Japan.