2021 Tour de France

Five Underdogs With A Shot At The 2021 Tour De France Title

Five Underdogs With A Shot At The 2021 Tour De France Title

The 108th edition of the Tour de France promises a spectacular show. FloBikes picks five underdogs lurking in the peloton.

Jun 24, 2021 by Rebecca Reza
Woods Previews First TDF Target, The Mur

The 2019 and 2020 editions of the Tour de France were won by two of the youngest riders in the history of the race. Tadej Pogacar and Egan Bernal are at the forefront of a new generation of young cyclists which are continually raising the bar and upsetting the established favorites. The 2021 Tour de France will be another battle between the dynamic youth and the experienced establishment.

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From the opening stages fighting the winds in Brittany to the key time trials and the battles in the high mountains, the 108th edition of the Tour de France promises a spectacular show. 

Read on to discover FloBikes' five underdogs who are in with a shot at upsetting the Tour de France favorites.

Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers)

On any other team, the 2019 Giro d'Italia champion would surely be the designated leader for the Tour. INEOS however arrives with four legitimate contenders for the overall title, a tactic that has proved to be both an advantage and a detriment in years past. 

The team has stated Geraint Thomas will be the designated leader for the team despite Richie Porte's victory at the Critérium Dauphiné and Richard Carapaz's success at the Tour de Suisse.

The Ecuadorian rider spent much of the first block of the season at home training in the high mountains, a fact that may prove instrumental as the race moves into the high Pyrenees at the end of the second week. Will Richard Carapaz sell out early for Geraint Thomas, or will he keep his options open to step up and take yellow when the race hits the high mountains? 

Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation)

The 2-time Vuelta stage winner will be making his second appearance at the Tour when they arrive for the Grand Depart in Brittany. The Canadian has shown his climbing prowess, challenging the top GC contenders at the Tour de Suisse, and winning a stage at the Tour de Romandie. 

Woods will be backed up by none other than four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome as the Canadian looks to discover what he is capable of en route to the Tokyo Olympics. 

Woods will have a strong team behind him with the power engines Alex Dowsett and Rick Zabel protecting him from the winds, and Dan Martin who brings a wealth of experience.

Alexey Lutsenko (Astana – Premiere)

The Astana veteran has come into form precisely at the right time, giving Astana an option for a GC challenge. Astana lost their star GC rider Miguel Ángel López to Movistar, but with the combined power ofIon Izagirre, Jakob Fuglsang and Lutsenko, one can expect explosive and disruptive riding from the team. The question remains, will the Astana outfit focus solely on stage wins, or does a rider like Lutsenko have greater ambitions?

Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange)

The 28 year old finished third in the overall classification at the Giro d'Italia before turning his attention to the Tour de France. 

He had a slow start to his Giro but improved with each passing stage, wining stage 19 summit finish ahead of João Almeida and the eventual Maglia Rosa winner, Egan Bernal

The Brit won the Tour of the Alps in the lead up to the Giro, but has taken an appropriate break to recover ahead of the Grand Depart. 

Yates will have Lucas Hamilton backing him up in the mountains, who has had a strong Tour de Suisse sticking with the GC contenders in the high mountains. 

Yates has stated that he only intends to hunt stages at this year's Tour, claiming that the individual time trials will rule him out of the general classification contest. Regardless, the former top-ten finisher at the Tour will certainly be one to watch throughout the three weeks.

Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën La Mondiale)

Making his Tour debut, O’Connor has shown glimmers of greatness over the past couple seasons. The Australian's future was in jeopardy after his previous team, NTT Pro Cycling, nearly folded at the end of 2020. 

In 2021, O'Connor has found a new team and renewed energy, finishing 6th overall at the Tour de Romandie. He went on to animate the Critérium du Dauphiné and finish 4th at the Mont Ventoux Challenge. The youngster will be backed by powerful veterans Greg Van Avermaet and Bob Jungels