The governing theme of this year’s Tour de France is upheaval. So, who do you think will win? Now see if we agree…
The Yellow Jersey
Ineos are like The Hydra – cut one head off and two will grow to replace it. Geraint Thomas will certainly gun for his 2nd yellow jersey – but Egan Bernal, Thomas’s Colombian wunderkind team-mate, will also fancy his chances.
So far this year, Bernal has won both Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse – both key indicators of form in the run-up to Le Tour. The 22-year-old may lack the experience of Chris Froome, but he is a natural climber, with a fresh track record of winning races.
Adam Yates may have crashed out of La Flèche Wallonne, but he’s posted some extremely promising results, including 2nd place in both the Terreno-Adriatico and the Volta a Catalunya. Yates also placed 4th and 5th in Liège–Bastogne–Liège and the Basque Country, respectively. Can Mitchelton-Scott improve on Yates’ 2016 result? Only if they manage to pace him better than in 2018.
Falling leaves return to their roots, so Thibaut Pinot fans may take some joy that he won the Giro di Lombardia. That said, Groupama – FDJ’s ability to deliver Pinot to the finish line is inconsistent since his podium finish in 2014, but the team’s omission of Arnaud Démare is surely a signal of intent.
The Green Jersey
Jumbo-Visma appear to like the look of the flat stages and their team roster clearly signals their intent to do everything possible to make sure Dylan Groenewegen improves on his 2 stage wins in last year’s Tour. Primož Roglič is being rested in favour of some hardy domestiques, including Tony Martin and George Bennet.
Michael Matthews will fancy his chances in Fernando Gaviria’s absence. Matthews is a proven winner – he took first place in the points competition in Le Tour 2017. Sunweb have managed to keep Matthews in good form since, winning both the Grand Prix of Montréal and Québec last autumn – as well as a top 10 finish in both a Monument and Classic this spring.
With Gaviria missing this year’s Tour, Matthews’ biggest challenge will be prying the green jersey away from Peter Sagan. With the exception of 2017’s disqualification, the Bora-Hansgrohe rider has occupied the green jersey every year since 2012.
The Polka Dot Jersey
Rafal Majka won the Mountains Classification in both the 2016 Tour de France and the Tour of Slovenia in 2017. Interestingly, Majka also won the Combativity Award for Stage 15 of Le Tour in both 2016 and 2018. Bora-Hansgrohe fans will hope to see the domestiques alternate their support and bring home both the Green and Polka Dots in 2019.
Arkéa-Samsic are also capable of winning both the polka dot and green jerseys. Greipel sadly exists in the shadow of Sagan, so the team will throw their weight behind Warren Barguil. Now that Barguil is National Road Champion, Arkéa-Samsic will hope that he rediscovers his 2017 form, reclaiming both the Combativity award and King of the Mountains.