If 184 riders set off on Saturday at the start line of the Tour de France in Brest, there are actually less than a dozen contenders for victory in Paris on July 18. The problem for most, however, is that they don’t roll for Ineos Grenadiers.
After a bad Tour in 2020, the British squad again seem to hold all the cards, with four riders – Geraint Thomas, Richard Carapaz, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Richie Porte – all capable of playing a leadership role. The problem for Ineos Grenadiers, however, is that they haven’t hired the sport’s most exciting young rider.
The threat that prodigious 22-year-old defending champion Tadej Pogacar poses to Ineos’ plans is enormous, something Porte, third overall behind the Slovenian in 2020, reluctantly admitted. “With the squad we have, he can’t keep up with all of us,” said the Australian. “Hopefully there should be four of us up there when we reach the mountains. We have such a strong team. This is our trump card. ”
But uncertainties remain over the leadership of the British team. One by one, the Ineos Grenadiers pulled out their quartet of big guns for their virtual press conference, with Thomas, Carapaz, Porte and Hart appearing in this sequence. When asked if the running order had symbolic significance, Thomas, 2018 champion and 2019 runner-up, replied in a deadpan tone: “Yes.
When asked a similar question, Carapaz said bluntly: “The two main leaders are Geraint and me.
But of the four, Hart was the most outspoken when asked about the team’s hierarchy. “Is the last the best or the first the best?” »The rookie of the Tour replied. “When you leave the room, who will you think of? The last person you spoke to?
Meanwhile, Michael Matthews, one of Mark Cavendish’s former training partners in Tour sprints, was among those celebrating the 30-time stage winner’s return to the Tour peloton. “He’s like a newborn,” Matthews said of the 36-year-old, after meeting Cavendish at the airport before flying to Brittany.
“He’s full of energy. I hadn’t seen him like this in a while. For a guy to be so excited to come back to the Tour is great for the sport. “