Which 2024 Races Will Feature Some (or All) of the Big Four?

By Siegfried Mortkowitz

If everything goes as planned, this year in road racing should be a watershed in the sport, with an unprecedented number of superstars racing against each other in some of cycling’s iconic races. Most of these riders’ schedules have now been made public so that we know which races to mark in red on our calendars. Here’s a hint: many of them.

Certainly, no race will be preceded by greater anticipation than the Tour de France. With eight killer mountain stages, including the final-stage ITT from Monaco to Nice, and with two-time Tour winners Jonas Vingegaard (Visma– Lease a Bike) and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) riding against four-time Grand Tour winner Primož Roglič (BORA-hansgrohe) and the 23-year-old phenom Remco Evenepoel (Soudal–QuickStep), who will be making his Tour debut, this should be a race for the ages.

There will be many questions asked in the runup: can Vingegaard win the Tour without his super-talented lieutenant Wout van Aert who is riding in the Giro and the Vuelta but not the Tour? Can Pogačar outclimb Vingegaard on the big mountains? Can Roglič compete with the best at age 34? As good as he is in one-day races, and he is probably the best, does Evenepoel have what it takes to win the Tour de France? And what about INEOS Grenadiers? Will they continue to play second fiddle to the stars or will Tom Pidcock and Oscar Rodriguez threaten the Big Four in the race?

Vingegaard and Pogačar
Can Pogačar outclimb Vingegaard on the big mountains? © Profimedia

Evenepoel has downplayed his chances in the Tour on several occasions – though he will have a strong domestique for the mountains in the Spanish veteran Mikel Landa. And he has already declared that he would be happy with a top 5 finish in the Tour. He then told Wielerflits, “The answer to the question of whether I can win a Grand Tour is yes. In the last Giro, I was there for a short time – without illness. But the Tour is a different story. Going home with a stage win would be great.” I think – and I hope – that he expects to win more than one stage.

He will have the opportunity to race against some of his rivals before the Tour kicks off. He will take on Roglič in the eight-day Paris-Nice. Evenepoel will then face Pogačar in the prestigious Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a much-anticipated showdown that came to a bitter end last year when the Slovenian crashed badly early in the race and had to abandon. Finally, Evenepoel will line up against Vingegaard and Roglič in both the Itzulia Basque Country and the Criterium du Dauphiné. That last race should be a key indicator of their respective forms for the Tour since it is run on June 2-9 and the Tour kicks off just three weeks later on June 29.

Pogačar will race against an old foe, Wout van Aert, in the Strade Bianche and, most significantly, in the Giro d’Italia, as the UAE Team Emirates leader goes for the rare Giro-Tour double. And Evenepoel will be tested by his Belgian compatriot in the Volta ao Algarve in February.

Schedules are, of course, subject to tweaks and changes caused by accident or illness. The schedules have also been affected by this year’s Paris Olympics, with numerous riders going for gold in the ITT on July 27, just six days after the last stage of the Tour de France, and the road race on August 3.

There should be a wealth of great racing in 2024. Let’s cross our fingers and hope the weather cooperates.