2021 Tour de France

Six Big Favorites For The 2021 Tour de France Yellow Jersey

Six Big Favorites For The 2021 Tour de France Yellow Jersey

The Grand Départ is only weeks away as riders are fine tuning their form. FloBikes lists our favorites in the battle for yellow for the 108th edition.

Jun 24, 2021 by Rebecca Reza
Favorites & Underdogs For The TDF

The 2021 Tour de France route is one that will demand a truly versatile general classification contender. The opening stages in Brittany will test the mettle of the peloton with technical classics-style roads exposed to harsh coastal conditions. The parcours features high alpine and pyrenean passes, numerous sprint opportunities, and two significant individual time trials, which will prove decisive in the overall battle. 

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Read on to see FloBikes' six favorites for the general classification at this year's 108th edition of the Tour de France.

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

The defending champion continued his winning momentum from 2020, earning multiple victories starting at his season opener the UAE Tour, then won Tirreno-Adriatico and Liège-Bastogne – Liège. The Slovenian rider was to race the Critérium du Dauphiné, a traditional lead up for the Tour, but instead chose to change his program allowing a break from racing instead. 

UAE Team Emirates Director, Allan Peiper spoke with FloBikes at the Dauphiné. “The atmosphere is good within the team. Tadej has a much stronger lineup than we had last year so I think he’ll go into the Tour confident.” The team is hoping the combination of rest, recon, and altitude will prep the young champion well enough to defend his title. 

Primož Roglič (Jumbo - Visma)

Roglič joined his fellow Slovinian and rival in skipping the traditional lead up races of the Critérium du Dauphiné, and the Tour de Suisse. In 2020, he crashed at the Dauphiné, forcing him to avoid training for the time trial for six weeks. With only one stage remaining at the Tour last season, he lost the lead in a thrilling TT battle with Pogačar the race had not witnessed since Greg Lemond beat Laurent Fignon in 1989. 

Roglič has logged less than 20 race days this season, choosing to instead spend time in the Sierra Nevada and Tignes ahead of the Grand Départ. Jumbo-Visma performance director Mathieu Heijboer is confident he will arrive in top form, ready to find redemption from his dramatic loss in 2020. 

Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers)

Despite finishing third at the Criterium du Dauphiné last week behind the victor and teammate Riche Porte, the 2018 Tour de France champion is poised for another crack at the yellow jersey. Thomas will lead INEOS in their GC ambitions, taking confidence from his strong performance in these last weeks including the overall at Tour of Romandie and a stage win at the Dauphiné. 

Thomas is expected to excel in the two individual time trials at this year's Tour de France, which should give him an edge over many of his competitors. 

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin – Fenix)

Making his debut at the Tour de France, Mathieu Van Der Poel will arrive on the start line with a world of expectations on his shoulders. The young Dutch phenom went straight from yet another successful cyclocross season earning his fourth world title, to a stage win at the UAE Tour. This was quickly followed by an incredible show of force to win Strade Bianche before multiple stage wins at Tirreno-Adriatico and at the Tour de Suisse. 

Van der Poel has warned he will not be able to compete in the high mountains, but whether he chooses to battle for the green jersey, or lurk in the wings for yellow, he will surely have plenty in the peloton watching his every move.  

Miguel Ángel López (Movistar Team)

Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez was slow to find his rhythm with his new Spanish Movistar team, but "superman" López seems to have timed his season to perfection. 

López had raced for Astana since reaching the WorldTour in 2015 and is now on a one-year contract with the Spanish outfit. 

He secured overall victory at the Ruta Ciclista del Sol in May, followed by a top ten finish overall in the Criterium du Dauphiné. He solidified his Tour de France bid by winning the Mont Ventoux Challenge, a one-day race that featured two climbs up the Giant of Provence, similar to what the peloton will face on stage 11 of the Tour. 

The team will arrive in Brittany with two strong options for leadership, López and Enric Mas

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick Step)

The World Champion swapped his traditional lead up racing the Dauphine to make his debut at the Tour de Suisse instead. He had a consistent spring classics campaign finished second and third at La Fleche Wallonee and Liège – Bastogne – Liège. The Frenchman will arrive in Brittany after spending the last few weeks training in Sierra Nevada, with his main objective for the summer being the Tour, having announced he will be skipping the Summer Olympics.

Alaphilippe is likely to race for stages at this year's Tour, but the Frenchman has a way of finding himself in the yellow jersey and making it rather difficult for teams to take it off his shoulders.