30 nationalities to start Tour de France


The start sheet with rider numbers is now available. A quick glance reveals 30 different nationalities:

France 45
Spain 26
Belgium 15
Italy 15
Germany 12
Netherlands 12
USA 10
Russia 9
Australia 6
Denmark 5
Great Britain 5
Kazakhstan 5
Slovenia 4
Switzerland 4
Poland 3
Ukraine 3
Colombia 2
Lithuania 2
Luxembourg 2
Norway 2
Portugal 2

Whilst Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Estonia, Slovakia, Austria, Canada and New Zealand each have one rider in the race.

And so does Bielorussia, an omission earlier today. Cпасибо to an alert reader.

15 thoughts on “30 nationalities to start Tour de France”

  1. Andrey Amador of Costa Rica is the first person ever from Central America to get selected to the Tour.

    (And for you geo-neo’s out there, Mexico is North America)

  2. Nice to see Denis Galimzyanov announced with Katusha. There was a post about him on the Inner Ring a couple of months ago. Good to see he made it to the final 9, he’s up for a big 11+ days of racing.

  3. 29 nations sounds impressive but Central & South America only just make the list, Africa is not represented at all and Asia’s riders come from Russia or a former Russian republic. I don’t want to get into the discussion of whether the UCI’s dual role as policeman and promoter is correct or whether it needs splitting up. That has been covered before and deserves its own post. However, if part of the UCI’s role is to globalise the sport, then they should be doing more to support races and racers right across the world.

    That support should mean expanding the World Tour and enhancing the funding of the biological passport so that it can cover more racers. Just the name ‘World Tour’ is arguably a misnomer. Just adding the Tour of Beijing to the schedule is not enough, especially if the race is boycotted.

    ProTeam managers need to see a passport history before they will hire a new rider. That barrier is blocking fresh talent from countries outside the ‘old order’ from entering the peloton. Changing the way the passport is funded could provide the money for more riders to be tested and thereby build up a profile that can satisfy ProTeam mangers and help diversify the peloton.

  4. JT, you may want to look at where the sport has been relative to where it is now:

    1981 – 30 years ago

    150 riders from 16 countries
    2 countries make up 2/3 of the riders
    4 countries make up 89% of the riders

    Belgium 50
    France 48
    Spain 19
    Netherlands 16
    Switzerland 3
    Luxembourg 2
    Portugal 2
    United Kingdom 2
    Australia 1
    Austria 1
    Denmark 1
    Germany 1
    Ireland 1
    Norway 1
    Sweden 1
    United States 1
    [anyone now why no Italians that year?]

    1991 – 20 years ago

    198 riders from 20 countries
    Top 4 countries make up 55% of the riders

    France 35
    Belgium 27
    Spain 25
    Italy 22
    Netherlands 19
    Colombia 14
    Switzerland 13
    Russia 8
    United States 7
    Denmark 6
    Germany 6
    Australia 3
    Ireland 3
    United Kingdom 3
    Norway 2
    Canada 1
    Latvia 1
    Mexico 1
    Portugal 1
    Uzbekistan 1

    2001 – 10 years ago

    177 riders from 25 countries
    Top 4 countries make up 61% of riders

    France 36
    Italy 32
    Spain 26
    Belgium 14
    Netherlands 13
    United States 9
    Germany 8
    Denmark 7
    Switzerland 7
    Sweden 4
    Australia 2
    Colombia 2
    Estonia 2
    Kazahkstan 2
    Latvia 2
    Poland 2
    Austria 1
    Czech Republic 1
    Lithuania 1
    Luxembourg 1
    Norway 1
    Portugal 1
    Russia 1
    Slovenia 1
    United Kingdom 1


    198 riders from 30 countries
    Top 4 countries = 51% of riders

    Maybe you believe that the pace of change is too slow, but it’s easy to forget that not too long ago, pro cycling was basically the championships of 4 or 5 countries in continental Europe. It has spread to English speaking countries, former Communist Bloc countries (including central Asia), Slavic and Nordic countries.

    You can be fairly confident that the 2021 start list (if not 2016 will include many Chinese and Japanese riders, as well as Brazillians and other South American representatives. Africa? Probably not for a little while, but it did take the US quite a while to get engaged.

  5. No Italians that year, because Italy was its own cycling planet at that time, with a billion tiny teams, almost good enough to race the Giro. And Giros that were increasingly soft and mountainless. They didn’t go to the Tour because they didn’t feel they could do anything there.

  6. Thanks roomservicetaco, I’ve never seen the breakdown by country like that.

    Also interesting to look at other “world” sports like F1 where 90% of the drivers are European, despite the fact that half of the season is held outside of Europe these days.

  7. Thoughts:

    African Riders: Robbie Hunter and Chris Froome are 2 TdF quality riders that just didn’t happen to be picked this year. They’re both from SA, but that’s one of the few African countries with a good network of decent roads.

    Non Ex-Soviet Asian Riders: Where’s Fumy Beppu? Did RS not pick him this year?

    Final Thought. As a Canadian, I do get a kick out of the fact that Canada’s lone Ryder has a good chance of beating every single Frenchman in the race.

  8. Mike: nations get complicated but Cav has a British licence.

    Matt Rose: I thought Chris Froome was from Kenya? Robbie Hunter was the first African winner of a stage in the Tour de France but he’s not had the results this year. And Beppu wasn’t picked, nor Arashiro for Europcar. Ryder could do it but he’s up against Gadret, Coppel, Peraud, and more.

  9. A bit of local trivia that I think should not go unnoticed (yet I found no better place to tell it):
    Grega Bole 0f Lampre became Slovenian national champion week before the start of Tour de France, but the team screwed up with the jersey and ordered the colors wrong – instead of the vertical white-blue-red pattern they’ve printed the red-white-blue pattern.

    To avoid being fined, Bole is now sporting the Netherlands national champion’s jersey while the correct jersey is to be handed to him on Tuesday.

  10. Peter Sagan and Christian Vande Velde are my two most favorite riders in the whole tour. Them along with Lance Armstrong, but he’s retired.

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