Ineos Grenadiers brings the strongest team of all time to the Tour de France – but remains the underdog – –

Ineos Grenadiers brings the strongest team of all time to the Tour de France – but remains the underdog – –

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Primož Roglič and Tadej Pogačar, ces notes.

Ineos Grenadiers have assembled what he believes to be his strongest team of all time for this summer’s Tour de France.

The team’s full eight have yet to be confirmed, but Geraint Thomas, Richard Carapaz, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Richie Porte are so sure of a slot that they’ve already packed their bags. It is a veritable abundance of riches, and Ineos Grenadiers knows it.

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Chief sporting director Gabriel Rasch believes this year’s Tour team could be the best in their 11-year history.

“I think they’re our strongest team,” Rasch said when asked to compare the 2021 Tour selection to those in the past.

“Looking at the numbers, speed and times in the climbs, everyone stepped up the game,” Rasch told a small media group on Friday.

“There is a bigger group of riders who are able to be up there and able to fight for the win.

The British team know what it’s like to enter the Tour with more firepower than the rest of the field put together. From Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Porte in 2012, to Egan Bernal, Thomas and Froome in 2018 – Team Sky / Ineos have long drawn on the strength of bloated chests and an overflowing roster.

But this year is a little different. For one of the first times in its long history at the top of the Tour, Ineos Grenadiers may not be the strongest rider in the race. Thomas, Porte and Carapaz have all won a prestigious weeklong race in recent months.

But does one of Ineos’ three amigos have the clout to defeat Pogačar or Roglič one-on-one?

The jury is out.

Rasch conceded that the team should rely on collective depth rather than individual brilliance this summer.

“If we can create the right scenario, sure,” Rasch said of his riders’ chances in a hand to hand with their Slovenian enemies.

“We have riders who have all won laps on the floor with Tao, ‘G’, Carapaz. Richie wasn’t far away last year. I think in the right scenario we can [go one to one], Yes. “

Ineos Grenadiers misses the “Froome factor?

Froome was the man to beat through the majority of his rides in yellow. Photo : Tim de Waele/Getty Images
Ineos Grenadiers will enter the Tour as an underdog and dominant player in this year’s Tour. This will make a rare change from a scenario that has long seen Team Sky / Ineos bring the strongest rider of the peloton to France.

Chris Froome was a step ahead of the competition during his years of dominance over the past decade, giving Team Sky the finisher capable of capitalizing on the “Froome Fortress” of his teammates built around him.

Ineos Grenadiers knows that the “Froome factor” is missing in 2021.

“When we had Froome, we had more of a clear favorite when he was at the top, and it was a bit easier,” Rasch said.

“Our greatest strength is our collective strength as a group. Pogacar and Roglič have shown that they are currently the two best cyclists in the world. Our luck is in the numbers.

Pogacar proved last summer by pushing a swarm of Jumbo-Visma runners through the mountains that he had the resilience and explosiveness to fend for himself. The 22-year-old looks just as indomitable this season with three stage races and a monument added to his trophy cabinet already this year.

While force in depth didn’t work for Roglič and Co. last summer, the Ineos Grenadiers assault team are hoping to do better against Pogačar in the coming weeks.

“I think anyone can have a bad day,” Rasch said on a Zoom call. “And [Pogačar] might have a bad day. And I think another way is to outnumber him and make him work himself.

Rasch said Ineos Grenadiers would settle on his final Tour Eight earlier this week.

Thomas and Carapaz are expected to lead the line, with Tour de France rookie Geoghegan Hart and Australian veteran Porte half a wheel behind. Behind them, Rohan Dennis, Michał Kwiatkowski, Andrey Amador, Jonathan Castroviejo, Luke Rowe and Dylan van Baarle are fighting for the four slots to be confirmed.

It’s a selection that would make the rest of the peloton weak at the knees. It remains to be seen whether that will be enough to surpass Roglič and Pogačar.

The Richie Porte Riddle

Richie Porte could be the reluctant joker of the Ineos Grenadiers squad. Photo : Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images

Ineos Grenadiers hopes to keep all Thomas, Porte, Geoghegan Hart and Carapaz protected through the delicate opening salvo of the stages in Brittany. After that, the best placed rider will be awarded the captain’s armband – possibly last week’s Tour de Suisse champion Carapaz or Tour de Romandie winner Thomas.

There is, however, an Australian elephant in the room.

Porte is undoubtedly in the form of his life, fresh out of victory at the Critérium du Daphiné and second overall in Romandie and Catalonia.

The 36-year-old joined his former team this winter under an agreement that he would not be under any pressure in three-week races. Instead, he would end his career playing the role of the super maid who saw him thrive in his old spell at Team Sky when he towed Wiggins and Froome to several yellow jerseys.

If Porte somehow emerges above Thomas and Carapaz on GC before the last week, he may have no choice but to resume his long love-hate relationship with management. of the grand tour.

“It’s most important to us that someone from the team wins. Richie is one of the wilds we’ll have up the sleeve, ”said Rasch. “I think in the last week of the tour everything will be much clearer. “

Expect at least one Ineos Grenadiers rider to compete for yellow in week three.

Don’t ask what runner it might be, or if they can overtake Roglič and Pogačar.


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