2022 TOUR DE FRANCE: FIVE RIDERS TO WATCH
Filled with so many great riders with so much potential, picking any one rider as the most logical winner is a tough chore. Year after year the prognosticators weigh -in with their expert analysis, and year after year, some hit the mark while others wildly miss. So, here are the five we figure will be the most impactful.
Primed for a three-peat, Tadej Pogacar has shown his fitness throughout the season. Pogacar bookended his victory at Strade Bianche with overall wins at the UAE Tour and Tirreno Adriatico. The spry 23-year-old continued his spring campaign with solid results. Race after race, Pogacar continues to tactfully ride, making another win seem inevitable.
Back-to-back bad luck in July for Primoz Roglic has the three-time Grand Tour champion and Olympic time-trial winner seeking ultimate glory. Roglic has continued to sharpen his toolset following an upset loss on the penultimate stage of the 2020 Tour and an early exit following a fall during the first week last year. This year Roglic must stay healthy to be a serious contender. He has already secured victory at Paris-Nice ahead of Adam Yates and other Tour hopefuls.
With four top-10 results at the Tour in five appearances, Mikel Landa is one of the most consistent finishers without a podium result. Since jumping from Team Sky to Movistar, the 32-year-old Spaniard may have finally found a team to support him at the Tour with Bahrain Victorious. Landa’s biggest challenge will be the 30-plus miles of time-trialing this year. Look to Landa’s results at the Giro as a precursor for his Tour abilities.
Adam Yates appears to be the leader of a strong Ineos roster that is still reeling from the loss of Egan Bernal. The days of the Team Sky/Ineos train are over, which has forced the British team to search for a new approach to race on cycling’s biggest stage. A hearty core of support riders should be able to protect Yates, but he will need to step up to go head-to-head with Pogacar and Roglic.
After making the most of his opportunity to contest the overall competition in 2021 with a second-place finish, Jonas Vingegaard will get another chance to take on Tadej Pogacar. Vingegaard is set to start the Tour as part of the 1-2 Jumbo-Visma punch to attack the race. Vingegaard matched Pogacar’s efforts in the mountains, but, like many, must become more well-rounded to keep up during the time trials.
Photo: Bettini/Sprint Cycling