Who Should You Be Supporting At The Tour De France?
Conor Dunne: The Tour de France is in full swing. This first week has been a spectacular affair. There are riders from 30 different nationalities in this year’s race. To stop you from getting lost in the melee of all the different riders, we thought we’d try and highlight a few different riders and teams that you might like to support and you might like to wheel over that finish line in Paris.
To kick things off, there’s only two countries from South America that are present in this year’s Tour de France. Out of them, Colombia has the most riders with 10 riders in this year’s Tour, which is actually the sixth-largest number of riders in the whole race from any nationality. Out of the Colombians after this absolute melee of cycling talent, we’ve decided to go for Sergio Higuita. Why? Well, Higuita is a Colombian national champ for one. His national champ’s kit is possibly the best thing we’ve ever seen since Cipollini in his muscle suit. Absolutely outrageously good national champ’s kit by Higuita. He’s also in his first Tour de France and holding his own with courage which we think deserves our applause and our support. If you want to get behind the Colombian, I’ll shout Sergio Higuita. The only other South American country in the race is Ecuador.
They have only one rider as well which is Richard Carapaz. He won the Giro d’Italia last year and is now riding for the INEOS Grenadiers. We think just because he’s the only Ecuadorian in the race, he’s definitely got to deserve some support. Richard Carapz, everyone. North America is pretty thin on the grounds when it comes to riders this year especially when you look at its land mass and population density. There’s actually only five riders present at this year’s Tour from North America. For this reason alone, we think any North American country deserves some love. First up, the USA. I’m going to start with Sepp Kuss. We think he is going in the form of his life this year.
He’s definitely going to be a brilliant super domestique for Primož Roglič in the mountains. He’s already proven his worth in Roglič’s challenge for the yellow jersey. USA, Sepp Kuss. Canada also has only one rider at the Tour this year. Hugo Houle, riding for Astana. He’s got over 10 years of experience racing as a professional. He’s never won a road race himself. For this reason alone, he definitely deserves some support. Not just for the fact that he’s the sole Canadian at the race. Next up, one of my all-time favorite countries. Another country with only one rider in the race, Costa Rica. Andrey Amador will be representing Costa Rica at this year’s Tour riding for INEOS Grenadiers.
He’ll be Egan Bernal’s key mountain helper when the road really starts turning uphill. He probably won’t be going for results himself more like a super domestique and key super domestique at that, because Amador is a classy rider and also a super nice guy at that. If you’re looking for someone to support from Costa Rica, Andrey Amador. Onto Asia now, and seeing as Israel is part of the continent geographically, we thought we’d include them on the list here. Guy Niv is going to be the first Israeli cyclist to ever ride the Tour de France and hopefully make his way to Paris as the first Israeli to finish the Tour de France. We think for this reason alone, he definitely deserves some support out on the route. Guy Niv from Israel.
The only other Asian country that is taking part in this year’s Tour de France is Kazakhstan. Alexey Lutsenko who is riding for Astana who’s also the Kazakh national champ is hotly tipped to take a stage win at this year’s Tour de France. If you are looking for someone from Kazakhstan to support, Alexey Lutsenko is your man. Onto Europe now. This is the definite bulk of the Tour de France start list. We’ll try and narrow things down for you and find some riders and teams you may like to support. We’ll start with our pick of the Brits, Hugh Carthy. He’s from Preston.
He’s had a very gradual rise through the pro ranks in recent years. Quickly building up an impressive at Palmares. He finished just outside the Top 10 at the Giro d’Italia last year in 11th place. With the likes of Froome Thomas and the Yates brothers perhaps stealing the limelight from rider such as Hugh Carthy, we think this is especially a good reason to give Hugh a shout and definitely deserves some applause on his way to Paris. Hugh Carthy, who knows, could he dip into the Top 10? The Belgians do not have a lack of riders, that is for sure.
One rider who, again, maybe misses out in terms of the limelight is Ben Hermans, especially when compared to riders such as Philip Gilbert, Benoot or Thomas De Gendt. Hermans broke his collar bone at the start of the year in Tour Down Under and also fractured a rib and scapula in the same crash. He’s had a long road back to recovery and to the start line of this year’s Tour. He may not be starting in the best shape. I definitely think come the second or third week, he’ll start to come into his own and really start to challenge for some results and maybe a stage win.
If you are looking for a Belgium to support, Ben Hermans has definitely got a good chance of success and maybe flying under the radar a little bit more than other riders. He’s also got quality in the legs with wins in Utah, Austria and Oman. Watch this space for Belgium Ben Hermans. I’m going to allow myself to be a bit biased right now because I am Irish. I’m going to cheer for my home country. For Ireland, I reckon Sam Bennett. I want them all to do well but I think Sam is on the form of his life. I really think he can challenge for stage wins and also maybe take the green jersey in Paris because I think Sagan can be beaten this year and I think Sam can challenge for it. I think all the Irish, we need to get behind him. We need to be cheering him on. Come on Ireland.
Sam Bennett. I’m donating a good section of this video to Ireland. Come on. [unintelligible 00:05:32]. Come on. The Danish are another country with high numbers in this year’s race with eight riders who took to the start line. One rider you will probably see quite a lot of is Kasper Asgreen. He’s riding for Deceuninck-Quick-Step. He’ll be supporting Julian Alaphilippe and also Sam Bennett in the sprints. You’ll probably see him a fair bit on the front controlling the Peloton and also winding things up for Sam when the bunch sprints do kick-off.
He’s definitely going to be earning his paycheck around France this month. He’s also Danish national champion and has I think the best national champions kit in the bunch. I did say that about the Colombians national champs. You can have a few different favorites, can’t you? Now, Kasper has been second on the stage at the tour before so we think he deserves some support because it’d be great to see him go step higher even if he is racing in a domestique role for Alaphilippe and also Sam Bennett. Kaper Asgreen of Denmark if you’re looking for a Danish rider to support. Now, the French have their fair share of riders in this year’s Tour with 39 riders taking to the start of this year’s race. Julian Alaphilippe is obviously the man of the moment for France with a considerable amount of days in the yellow jersey already at this year’s edition. We think one French team that you should definitely give some love is B&B Hotels-Vital Concept KTM. I think they’re the underdog team which we all need to get behind.
They have been trying to get a wildcard to the Tour de France for a while now and have finally succeeded in taking part in the Tour. Wouldn’t it be epic to see them take a stage win in their first-ever Tour de France? They also have the youngest rider in the race, Maxime Chevalier. 21 years old. For those reasons, we really think B&B Hotels-Vital Concept KTM deserve all the support they can get from the French of course. Not from the Irish. I’ll be cheering for Sam. For a population of 1.92 million, Latvia has some serious cycling talent. Toms Skujiņš is the national champion of Latvia. He’s riding for Trek-Segafredo. Definitely one to get behind and one who can definitely take a stage win in this year’s Tour.
Another Latvian rider to shout for, Krists Neilands who’s riding for Israel’s Start-Up Nation. He’s already taken one combativity prize at this year’s Tour de France. He can definitely take another, and I think he can definitely take a stage win. Latvia, potato power to the max. Come on you Latvians. For the Dutch, we really think it’s a team that you’ve got to get behind and Jumbo Visma is that team. This year, they have a serious chance of taking home the yellow jersey.
Now, it may not be a Dutchman who takes the yellow jersey. It’s probably going to be a Slovenian if they do take it in Primož Roglič, but this year is a really great chance for Jumbo Visma to take that yellow jersey and break INEOS’s hold on the yellow jersey. They’ve won it for five years in a row. Could it be a Dutch team that wins the yellow jersey and take it to the Champs-Élysées? It’d be great to see. We think if you’re Dutch, you’ve got to get behind Jumbo Visma in this year’s Tour. Give them all the support they’ve got. Let’s see. Will they make it to Paris with the yellow jersey? Moving on to the continent of Oceania now. One Kiwi who we think definitely deserves some support is Sam Bewley. He survived lockdown in Girona in well, how can I put this, rather in an extraordinary way? Sam Bewley: A little bit of Jif or Cif if you’re in Spain.
Conor: After all those shenanigans, he’s made it to the Tour. We think this character from New Zealand deserves all the support he can get. He’ll be riding in support of his teammates and Adam Yates his team leader at Mitchelton-Scott. He’s going to do an amazing job. He’s got a massive engine on him but when the big mountains do start, he is going to need some shout outs. You know what to do, folks. Let’s support Sam Bewley all the way to Paris. Ryan Gibbons from Johannesburg in South Africa is one of only two riders from the entire African continent in the race alongside Daryl Impea who’s also from South Africa national champion. Actually of South Africa himself. Now, Ryan Gibbons will be competing in the sprint stages.
Whilst he may be an underdog against the likes of Ewan, Sagan, and Bennett, he’s definitely a challenger. He could sneak in a cheeky result. We at GCN love an underdog. Ryan Gibbons is definitely one to get behind. He has got four Grand Tours under his belt already but this will be his first Tour de France. At 26 years old, could this be his time to notch up a really big result? If you’re South African, give Ryan Gibbons a shout. Those are some of our picks at this year’s Tour de France, especially some of those underdog riders, I think they definitely deserve our support on their way to Paris. We have missed many. I think everyone in this brutal race deserves our support.
If I have missed anyone who you think deserves a big shout-out on their way to Paris, please let us know in the comments section below. Everyone deserves some love at this race. We’ve got to cheer those riders on because it’s impressive what they do. Now, if you do want to catch the action at this year’s Tour de France, don’t forget you can find it on the GCN app with GCN race pass. Geo-restrictions do apply. As I say this right now, I’m off to watch the finish of today’s stage. It’s a sprint. I’m crossing my fingers for Ireland. See you, everyone.