Nine Britons will be at the start in Brittany on June 26 for the Grand Départ and not all of them are racing for Ineos Grenadiers.British riders made the Tour selection to five other teams besides Ineos, with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Israel Start-Up Nation, Bahrain Victorious, Team BikeExchange and Arkéa-Samsic all selecting British riders.
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In an announcement that surprised us all, Mark Cavendish was selected to compete in the 2021 Tour de France for Deceuninck – Quick-Step despite team boss Patrick Lefevere saying reigning green jersey champion Sam Bennett was fit to ride.
Cavendish, who won 30 stages of the Tour de France, showed he still has the pace in the sprint after beating some of the world’s best on the final stage of the Belgium Tour a few weeks ago.
The “Manx Missile” joined Deceuninck – Quick-Step after a stint at Qhubeka-Assos and a year and Bahrain Victorious with its declining form after battling the Espstein Barr virus.
But, Cavendish embarked with the team’s incredible winning record with four Tour of Turkey wins before making a stop in Belgium. He will also receive the full train from Bennett, including Michael Mørkøw, who Cavendish praised saying anyone can win with their wheel.
Geraint Thomas, Tao Geoghegan Hart et Luke Rowe
Starting with Ineos Grenadiers, it’s no surprise to the three Britons they’ve chosen with two former Grand Tour winners and an essential team captain.
Geraint Thomas is the leader of Ineos, if that word has “co-” ahead of him to share with Richard Carapaz and Richie Porte is not quite in the know yet, but he showed excellent form entering the race and is approached by bookmakers. to be the closest challenger to the two Slovenian stars of Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).
Thomas entered the race with a victory in the general classification of the Tour de Romandie and a third place in the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he helped Porte to achieve the victory in the general classification. He has yet to race against Roglič but lost massively to Pogacar in Tirreno-Adriatico finishing 17-12 behind the winner of the Tour 2020.
Tao Geoghegan Hart is next on the Ineos list for UK runners. The 2020 Giro d’Italia winner chose not to try to defend his unexpected pink-clad crown in Italy, which was won by teammate Egan Bernal, but rather to return to the Dauphiné and then have a tilt in the Tour .
Geoghegan Hart has been a bit hit and miss this season, but appears to be in top form just in time for the race around France after taking an impressive 10th place at the Dauphiné while working for Thomas and Porte. Maybe if the stars line up in his path, maybe he could get some leadership or a little bit of flames in the mountains.
Well, for Ineos at least, Luke Rowe. An essential cog in the Ineos Grand Tour machine. Rowe doesn’t win often but he is an integral part of the team on level ground, especially if the wind picks up.
While it’s not much of a problem for riders like Thomas, who has already won the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, protecting Carapaz, Porte and even Geoghegan Hart in the crosswind could be the key to winning the race or missing a top 10 in GC, so Rowe is probably one of the first names on the list.
On Israel Start-Up Nation and the quadruple champion who is Chris Froome. While he did not come close to his old imperious form of the past he had before his horrific fall at the Critérium du Dauphiné 2019, where he broke several bones including the femur, Froome was selected for the team of the Tour for the first time in two years.
He’s not lagging behind as a team manager, that honor going to Canadian talent Michael Woods, who has shown excellent form in climbing this year. But Froome is more there in a role of road captain so he can help guide his teammates on what is best to do during the race. Even if he is in a team with experienced activists like André Greipel and Dan Martin.
Simon Yates has also been added to the Team BikeExchange start list. After taking a solid third place overall at the Giro, Yates comes to the Tour to support an almost resurrected Esteban Chaves who has shown he is set to be back at his best in the mountains.
Yates, who won the Tour’s best youngster jersey in 2017, hasn’t really shown much in the race other than two stage wins in 2019. Last year his brother, Adam (now at Ineos ), went around the yellow jersey in addition to finishing ninth overall, maybe Simon can achieve a similar result.
The latest WorldTour team to select a Briton is Bahrain Victorious with 22-year-old Fred Wright joining a very strong squad for the GC. But the youngster, who already raced a Grand Tour at Vuelta a España last year, will focus on the flatter stages and support new Italian champion Sonny Colbrelli in the sprints as well as Jack Haig, Pello Bilbao and Wout Poels. in the accumulation towards the mountains.
Wright joined Bahrain Victorious last year after interning with the now defunct CCC team in 2019. He has been a solid support for some of the team’s big names in races like Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and more recently. the Tour of Switzerland.
Connor Swift et Dan McLay
Let’s move on to the last team, but with two other riders. French ProTeam Arkéa-Samsic has once again trusted former British champion Connor Swift with the duty of dealing with Nairo Quintana in the flatter stages, but he also has the added responsibility of keeping Nacer Bouhanni well placed for sprints too.
This year’s Tro Bro Leon has shown brilliant form in Tour preparation, taking a very impressive seventh place overall in the Belgium Tour and sixth at the recent Dwars door het Hageland and will likely be the man to get the ball rolling. sprint. for Bouhanni.
At the wheel of Swift, Bouhanni’s direct leader will probably be the last Briton on the starting list, Dan McLay. Another runner who has shown a rise in form in the short races. He was Bouhanni’s last man on the Belgium Tour as training for the Tour, with varying success.
But, McLay appears to be the main man for the former French sprint champion, with only Clement Russo looking like the other potential fast man to support on the sprint train as the team look to share responsibilities between sprints. and the general classification.
Some teams have yet to announce their rosters, with more potential British riders waiting to see if they are successful.
Chris Lawless (TotalEnergies), Mark Donovan (DSM), Hugh Carthy and Simon Carr (EF Education-Nippo) are just a few of the names that could be selected.