After the strangest summer of (non)cycling in our lives the Tour de France is finally here. Lockdowns, virtual races and unexpected transfers have dominated the build up to the Grand Depart in Nice. Travel is almost impossible, fans are restricted and strict controls will be in place. But nothing can take away from the excitement of the greatest sporting spectacle on the calendar and we can’t wait for the carnival to begin!
At the end of the 2019 edition we wondered how this year’s race could ever compete, surely anything would be an anti-climax after the greatest race of a generation. But global circumstances have contrived to leave us grateful for any race at all, so the sight of a Grand Depart in Nice on the horizon is a glorious one.
Whilst we can’t run trips to this year’s race we do have a team on the ground, so we’ll be bringing you daily updates from inside the race thanks to our privileged status as the Number One Premium Tour Operator to the Tour de France. Keep watching our Instagram and Facebook pages for roadside action, insider access and exclusive news.
A Climber’s Race – Tour de France Preview
The route this year has a distinct southern bias, which means more mountains! There are still a few sprint stages but the race will never be far away from a wee bump or two. It all kicks off right from the gun, no gentle start for the peloton this year. A hectic start will see the riders take on the Col de Colmiane and Col de Turini as early as Stage 2 and a ski station summit finish on Stage 4. The hilltop finish at Orcières-Merlette has a place in Tour history thanks to the stage in 1971 where Luis Ocaña got the better of Eddy Merckx for once.
We recce’d these early climbs way back at the beginning of the year. You can see those amazing climbs in our film below. We hope to be back there at some point to ride those impressive cols.
The Contenders – The Yellow Jersey
For the first time in a few years the list of GC contenders doesn’t include Chris Froome. His crash over a year ago has severely impacted both us form and his position at Team Ineos. The changing of the guard is well under way in the peloton, so who are the contenders for yellow this year?
Primoz Roglic – Jumbo Visma
Jumbo Visma have been the team to beat since lockdown eased, dominating the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de L’Ain. A crash on Stage 4 of the Dauphiné casts doubt on Roglic’s form, but if he has recovered he is the standout favourite. With Dumoulin, Van Aert, Gesink and Kuss in the team he has the best chance of anyone.
Thibaut Pinot – Groupama-FDJ
Last year’s French assault on the Tour lives long in the memory with Pinot and Alaphilippe helping to make it the best race in a generation. The loveable Pinot finished second and looked strong in the Dauphiné, which is always a good barometer for the Tour. He perhaps doesn’t have a strong enough team to support an extended challenge but he’s always proved capable of freelancing it when he needs to.
Egan Bernal – Ineos Grenadiers
Last year’s winner hasn’t ripped things up yet this year, but could be timing his form for the Grand Boucle. The team have a definite plan, with no leadership distractions since Froome and Thomas are left at home. The squad looks great on paper with Carapaz one to watch and an engine room of all star domestiques to make up that famous train.
Nairo Quintana – Arkéa-Samic
Always on the favourites list but rarely these days any danger to the title. His new team might be the catalyst he needs to find some form but he seems to be struggling since a training crash in July. Can he make it through three gruelling weeks in the lead, probably not but he’s aways a threat.
Tadej Pogacar – UAE Team Emirates
A very good shout for the White jersey but an overall win is not out of the question for the youngster. Aru might well be the team leader, so Pogacar may play second fiddle until the Italian inevitably blows up mid race. One to watch for sure.
The Contenders – The Green Jersey
With few all out sprint stages and a relatively small number of sprinters selected, Sagan is the obvious pick for Green once again. However his form is decidedly under par, but this seems to be a trend. It could be a more even contest this year for once!
Peter Sagan – Bora Hansgrohe
He’s won it 7 times already and would have won 8 if not for being disqualified in 2017 for ‘that’ sprint finish. Bora have GC hopes but he’ll have help from Oss and Pöstlberger whenever he needs it.
Caleb Ewan – Lotto Soudal
The best out-and-out sprinter on the Tour and could still be heir to Mark Cavendish’s sprinting throne. He scored plenty of 2nd and 3rd places last year, so if he could convert those into victories he will be a true rival to Sagan. The parcours has prompted teams not to field sprinters, so if he can get over the climbs he’s a good shout.
Sam Bennett – Deceuninck–Quick-Step
The Irishman is a versatile rider who could do well in uphill sprints, intermediates and on lumpy days. He’s a consistent rider but one with team duties to carry out, so things will have to go very right for him and wrong for his opponents to be in the Green jersey in Paris.
Elia Viviani – Cofidis
Very much an uutside bet, not least because literally any stage win at all will be a champagne day for Cofidis – they have’t won one since 2008. He’s one of the best sprinters in the world on his day, but will he make it all the way to the Champs-Élysées?
Advanced Reservations are Open Now
Every year our Tour de France trips sell out within a few days of the TDF route being announced and only holders of an advance reservation will be guaranteed a final spot. So whilst we can’t be at this year’s race, now is the time to reserve your place on the 2021 edition.
Book your spot with a risk-free $100 deposit. Every advanced reservation will be entered into the draw to win an amazing Sportful kit.
Sportful are technical supplier of clothing for some of the biggest names in cycling – in the past from Mapei & Team Italia to the current partnership with Tinkoff Saxo. Innovation & design has always been key to Sportful’s products, something clearly demonstrated by the success of their athletes over the past 40 years.
With an eye for style and a passion for innovation, we are proud to have Sportful as our apparel partner.
Don’t miss out on the 2021 Tour de France. Book your spot with a risk-free advance reservation!