Tour de France Teams, Part III

There’s a race happening in France soon and in the final part of three, here’s a closer look at the last eight teams to name their rosters for the Tour de France.

UAE-Emirates are another squad with multiple ambitions. Kristoff comes for the sprints with Ferrari as his lead out. The Norwegian hasn’t been winning a lot of late and so he’s not got a luxurious train to ride. Martin has a route that suits him more than ever for a high GC thanks to a preponderance of sharp, steeper climbs and a TT course that’s got more of the same only he risks being undone in the team time trial (TTT). Sutherland will be his lieutenant and Giro stage winner Đurasek can support too on a team tilted towards the mountains.  Atapuma returns to bring more options in the mountains, he’s almost won mountain stages in the Giro and Tour before. Management will be busy on the rest days recruiting new riders, the team wants more riders for GC and classics and will pay a premium.

ATAPUMA John Darwin, DURASEK Kristijan, FERRARI Roberto, KRISTOFF Alexander, MARCATO Marco, MARTIN Daniel, SUTHERLAND Rory, TROIA Oliviero

  • Goal: the sponsors will expect a stage win in the mountains or sprints
  • Ace: Martin and if he’s got his Dauphiné legs or better, a top-10 on GC and some polka dots
  • Joker: Atapuma

Team Dimension Data should win a prize for the best roster announcement thanks to a fun video featuring school children in South Africa. They bring two sprint options in Mark Cavendish and Edvald Boasson Hagen and neither look to be in sizzling form but this is exactly when they pop up to surprise us and it’s happened many times in recent years. They have Renshaw, Vermote, Thomson and Janse Van Rensburg as support. Cavendish will find the opening stages to his liking with their set piece structures and if he’s been struggling because of injury and illness – one win last year, one this year – things seem to be turning around just in time. EBH can aim for wins later in the race from breakaways too, watch for him back in the Norway jersey. Pauwels and Slagter are stage hunters but not prolific, the team’s best bet for those breakaway days is to get one of them in a move with EBH too.


  • Goal: a stage win
  • Ace: Cavendish
  • Joker: EBH for his versatility

Cofidis leave Nacer Bouhanni out, a background saga of the season. Given too much sway in the team – they recruited his father as an advisor, his brother as a rider – new manager Cédric Vasseur has put his foot down. Bouhanni is still a good rider – points winner in the 2014 Giro – and still 27 and the team will test him in the Vuelta. Instead a window opens for Laporte who sprints well but isn’t really a sprinter, he’s more versatile and has won bunch sprints out of raw power but not yet at World Tour level. Spanish duo Jesus Herrada and Dani Navarro will be active in the mountains outsiders for a stage win, you’ll remember Navarro getting pipped on the final stage of the Dauphiné. Anthony Turgis and Anthony Perez are strong riders, Turgis was on the podium in the recent French championships but converting this into a win is a tall order. Edet is a perennial attacker. Overall though the team looks better than ever but they start from a low base.

LAPORTE Christophe, CLAEYS Dimitri, EDET Nicolas, HERRADA Jesús, NAVARRO Daniel, PEREZ Anthony, SIMON Julien, TURGIS Anthony

  • Goal: a stage win to end the drought since 2008
  • Ace: it’s hard to pick between Laporte and Navarro, Laporte has a future ahead but maybe in the classics
  • Joker: Herrada, he can win World Tour races on hilly days

Trek-Segafredo are in a transition year. Contador has retired freeing up a big budget but they lost out on the bidding for Fabio Aru last year which must bring delight with the benefit of hindsight. Bauke Mollema is their GC hope, he was a stage winner last year after his tilt at the Giro didn’t work out. He’s got some support in Grmay and Bernard for the mountains but they won’t be in the front group come the last climb and the TTT could be costly too. One early test to see if the team is all behind Mollema or allowed to do is whether Jasper Stuyven and John Degenkolb race for themselves on the pavé of Stage 9? De Kort is a veteran lead out to help “Dege” who just missed out on the German title last Sunday. Toms Skujiņš comes to terrorise keyboards and breakaways alike.


  • Goal: a high GC or a stage win for Mollema, which is more valuable to the team?
  • Ace: Mollema, a likeable rider who visibly give it his all but as fragile as Delft pottery in the third week
  • Joker: Degenkolb

Direct Energie won a stage last year with Lilian Calmejane and his card is going to be marked now. Given the manner of his win last year was like something out of a Rambo film it’s one thing to watch him, another to stay on his wheel in the finale of a hilly stage. But there are few opportunties for him, this year’s route has a lot more high mountains than the mid-mountains he loves. Chavanel starts his 18th consecutive Tour de France, a record and still an outsider for a breakaway but less victorious these days, his last win was over a year ago now. Gaudin will look forward to Stage 9 and the pavé and his workman’s shoulders provide a useful windbreak for Boudat, a budget version of Viviani for the way he can surge in the final metres with his track sprinting speed. Cousin won that stage in Paris-Nice and Taaramäe used to be a force of nature but has flown below the radar this year despite plenty of top-10s on hilly, hard days.


  • Goal: a stage win will do nicely
  • Ace: Calmejane but he’ll have to pick is moments
  • Joker: Boudat for the sprints, unlikely to win but being visible counts

Fortuneo-Samsic are Warren Barguil. Still it’s a team sport and he’s got a squad in his service who will aim to keep him as fresh as possible. It’s the only all French team on the race and old school style, they team picked their eight after the French championships with former U23 world champion Kevin Ledanois making the cut (NB Groupama-FDJ leave Roux at home despite winning the French title). Veteran Amaël Moinard has been a certain pick, recruited from BMC and is a solid support rider for Barguil. The likes of Florian Vachon, Elie Gesbert and Romain Hardy are likely candidates for the breakaway on a sprint stage. Cannon fodder? Yes but you try riding for 150km in the wind on a Tour stage and recover in time to do it again and again, it’s thankless task. Barguil deliberately opted out of the GC last year so give him more room to attack by sitting up on the climb to the Planche des Belles Filles, this year he’ll opt out via the TTT, this squad will be minutes off the leaders. They’ve just swapped bike sponsor after Barguil got fed up with their Look frames, now on BH the good news is the team reported nobody had aches and pains after making the switch for last Sunday’s French championships.

BARGUIL Warren, BOUET Maxime, GESBERT Elie, HARDY Romain, LEDANOIS Kevin, MOINARD Amaël, PICHON Laurent,VACHON Florian

  • Goal: a mountain stage win with Warren Barguil
  • Ace: Barguil, off the pace all season but while others live on Teide he didn’t do a mountain training camp until after the Dauphiné
  • Joker: sorry, it’s hard to see what other cards they can play

Team Sunweb have lost Wilco Kelderman to a crash, a plate fixing his collarbone in place got bent in the accident. The team managed to fight on two fronts last year with Barguil and Matthews taking stages galore and a jersey each. Matthews returns for more and will try to take on Sagan, remember he’s beaten the Slovak before. Andersen won a stage in Switzerland and is versatile, the old 1-2 option alongside Matthews while Nikias Arndt has won bunch sprints before and often in his seated sprint style which makes him ideal leadout material this July along with Teuns. They fight on a second front again, this time with Tom Dumoulin aiming for GC and they’ll be a closer look at his chances later this week. Ten Dam, Geschke and Haga are his support riders. They’re outsiders for the team time trial too and if they can place well they could get Matthews in yellow but ditto for several other squads.

ANDERSEN Søren Kragh, ARNDT Nikias, DUMOULIN Tom, TEN DAM Laurens, GESCHKE Simon
HAGA Chad, MATTHEWS Michael, THEUNS Edward

  • Goal: a stage win and then see what follows
  • Ace: Matthews because the Tour de France is his big goal
  • Joker: Dumoulin because there’s no pressure after his Giro: GC or stages, it’s up to him

Team Sky were the last to name their roster even if it leaked to La Gazzetta last week (is there a mole inside the team?). Froome is the obvious leader. Thomas and Poels could captain other teams although as outsiders with question marks about delivering for three weeks and that’s perfect for Sky, they’re not outright rivals to Froome and if they have a bad day in the mountains they’ll quickly fold into domestique role without a drama. Bernal is the curiosity, why bring a novice? You can understand Groupama-FDJ select Gaudu because their squad isn’t so deep and it’s time he does a grand tour, but is the Colombian among Sky’s best riders already? Presumably they believe it but the team time trial will be a baptism of fire, he’s done a couple with Androni but nothing at this level. Kwiatkowski can blow hot and cold especially when the burden of leadership falls on him but otherwise has to be the most highly paid domestique in the peloton and valuable. Moscon, much like his near neighbour Francesco Moser, is another Swiss army knife of a rider, able on the pavé, strong for the TTT and can climb well. Castroviejo is new recruit straight into the Tour and versatile, engine for the TTT but able in the mountains. Rowe is the road captain, he broke his leg in the off season and so had a discreet classics campaign but will be the one calling the shots and fetching the bottles as well as helping to guide Froome during the opening week.

FROOME Christopher, MOSCON Gianni, THOMAS Geraint,KWIATKOWSKI Michał, POELS Wout

  • Goal: a fifth win for Chris Froome
  • Ace: Froome
  • Joker: Thomas, he’s won the Dauphiné but can he ride high on GC for three weeks?

Tour de France Teams, Part I
Tour de France Teams, Part II

64 thoughts on “Tour de France Teams, Part III”

  1. It does look like Barguil could come crashing down to earth after last years high…. maybe getting too much his own way as a big fish in a small team.

    • He’s gotta get a bike to fit first. Look have just walked away from the team because WB doesn’t like their bikes. BH new sponsor 2weeks out from Tdf,bit tight for tweaks. Unless BH are happy for him to ride a spray job on his own steed like the old pegoretti days.

  2. Amazed that Madiot, of all people, is allowing the French champion’s jersey to gather dust on the shelf in July.
    That Sky team is pretty scary. Scarily strong, I mean.

  3. Thankfully back to a proper discussion.

    The three wildcard french teams strike me as particularly weak, how many of them will be at the Tour next year? I know that there is a preference for French wildcard teams (fair enough) but surely they have to do something beyond vie for the breakaway prize (does that exist in the Tour?).

    Not sure how UAE are going to fare in the TTT, they look likely to struggle, perhaps more than Movistar, which might see their GC ambitions disappearing after three stages.

    Sunweb seem to be suggesting that this Tour is all about learning how to fight for the GC win. Not sure about that, they are hardly newbies at all this. Still think they need to spend cash on mountain domestiques. They do look likely to be fighting out for the win on stage 3 with BMC and Sky.

    As to Sky the inclusion of Egan Bernal is puzzling. Especially with the reduction to 8 riders there is no room for riders to tag along for the experience. Maybe his climbing numbers are so good from training that he simply cant be left out. I guess Vasil Kiryienka must still be recovering from the Giro and possibly no one else has made a decisive case for inclusion. For the legions of cynics there is the thought he is there to take some of the focus away from Chris Froome.

    • Who else is there for the wildcard picks? Once you go beyond the Top-18 teams the talent pool relative to the top riders begins to dry up. Aqua Blue maybe but there are no surefire picks.

    • Team Sky’s inclusion of Bernal kind of makes perfect sense to me.

      It is an opportunity for him to get blooded without the pressure of expectation from his teammates – and yet he a very strong wildcard for stages whom other team may very feel the need to cover, and therefore split their resources … and stages where those resources are already stretched.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see him there or thereabouts with some of the GC contenders in Paris; but on the other hand, he won’t be a failure if he isn’t.

      I think other teams will see him as a serious danger they can’t afford to ignore.

  4. Why is Bernal here? For experience, because he is the mutt’s nuts and because he is the next team Sky rider who will win multiple grand tours and incur the wrath of some of the cycling public for being too successful. Sorry folks, it will never end as long as Sky exist. They aren’t in it to be also rans.

    • “…. wrath of some of the cycling public for being too successful.” as in US Postal/Discovery perhaps? Or Banesto? If you’re not cheating “too successful” ends up as simply boring…neither is good for the long-term health of the sport.

      • Perhaps you’d like the ASO to introduce a new rule Larry which says that if you win the Tour you must sit out the next race? This “the health of the sport” stuff you keep spouting seems to be a catch-all to criticise anything Larry T doesn’t like. But I’ll wager with you that there will still be 10-12 million on the roadside over the next three weeks and public attention will be high.

        To hear you talk cycling should have become something three men and a dog watch by now. Maybe it sounds good to you but sooner or later you have to leave your bubble.

        • The sport has been dominated over and over by the championissimo of the age for over 100yrs. Binda won everything to the point he got paid to miss the giro, Anquetil dominated, then Merckx dominated, then Hinault, Lemond, Indurain, Armstrong, Contador…. it’s amazing anyone watches it at all.

          • I’m convinced Larry thinks they don’t. He is confused as to why people keep replying to him since he imagines no one else is interested. Either that or he is the cycling prophet of the apocalypse who imagines that, like the imminent return of the Lord Jesus, doom is just around the corner.

        • I’m sorry and I know it’s not my blog to police but I’m sure @INRNG finds this constant back and forth between the two of you as tiresome as I do. I’m sure you’re both really nice guys and have some interesting perspectives: can you try to be friends for the next 3 weeks and see what constructive comments you can make to add to what are usually pretty insightful “below the line” comments?

          Good grief, I’m sounding like an old “peace” hippy….

          I agree that Bernal is looking like he will be a very special rider. As precocious as Fignon? Who knows. I think it’s great the team are taking him. If Landa goes on a crazy attack on a mountain day and he is the nominated “marker”, life could get very interesting for the weaker teams.

  5. I would have thought by now that people would realise that what applies to all the other teams doesn’t apply to Team Sky. Bernal is there because at Sky, he’s hit the ground running like he wouldn’t have in any other teams. He definitely had the potential last year at Androni but I don’t think anyone could have honestly predicted he would be that good so soon.

    I really wouldn’t be surprised if he comfortably finishes top 10.

    • Tiesj Benoot? David Gaudu? Guillame Martin? Marc Soler? Gianni Moscon? Pierre Latour? Antwan Tolhoek? Daniel Martinez?

      Lots of riders who seem not quite there/will have too many other duties to stay high up on GC. Perhaps Latour will be allowed to go for it.

      Expect Gaviria will be in white early on, though.

      • It depends on team orders a lot as you say, Sky regularly make those who are not in contention sit up, even on flat days so Bernal could lose time this way. At first glance Bernal, Latour and Soler look like the most obvious picks but they’re all on team duties… which leaves the door open for Benoot et al.

  6. Cavendish may not be on ‘sizzingling form’, but that is exactly the time he has often pulled off the biggest wins. But, yes, DDD have put all their eggs in one basket.

    Feel sorry for Fortuneo – I don’t see Barguil doing anything remarkable.

    Really hoping for a Laporte stage win – what a rider with a big future; a classics star I hope.

    • Slightly surprised that Fortuneo left Brice Feillu out. 16th last year (for the second time in the TdF) and decent form this year. Maybe a victim of 8-riders syndrome and not being a support rider for Barguil?

      I’d echo fingers-crossed for Laporte. Really stepped up this year and a great win at Tro-Bro-Leon. Going to take a massive slice of luck and maybe some gnarly conditions to get a podium on a stage though.

  7. I know this blog and its two partners are all about the riders who are riding, but surely you could have found space to mention the great gaping Adam Hansen sized hole on the start line. It’s the first Grand Tour he’s missed since the Vuelta 2011.

    • It had to end sometime. It’s impressive but each new tour completed was becoming a copy-paste story. It’s a bit like, say, climbing Mount Everest, climb it once and it’s impressive. Climb it 19 times and the 20th time less so even if doing it 20 times is unique, world beating. It’ll be interesting to see what he does next, whether he can target wins for himself etc.

  8. Phenomenal for Rowe to be in the squad but Van Baarle would have been a safer pick in my opinion.
    I feel sorry for Bouhanni, but it is his fault for not making the team. I’m really hoping for some Cofidis success.

      • If he’s within 5 or maybe even 10 minutes of the leader post stage 9, he will be a very dangerous man to be sent up the road in mountains. Other teams would have to chase.

        I’d use Landa this way if I was Moviestar. Not protecting him in TTT & cobble stage (or do just enough to keep him in distance contention without japodising Quintana’s chance) and give him some free reign once in the mountains. Though Landa is still likely to get shut down by Sky, as they probably know exactly how strong he can ride.

        • On a related note, can a rider require his previous team to give up all data they hold about him? After all, these are important strategic intelligence.

          Obviously you can’t compel Tim Kerrison to forget about Landa’s performance, but at lease he can require return of any hard/digital copy of the data.

          That said, probably better way to do this for Landa is to get stronger than when he was in Sky. Then Sky can’t be sure the intel they had is valid and had to assume otherwise.

          • That assumes that it’s Landa’s intellectual property. Sky data models, Sky equipment to model and collect the data. Sky to interpret the data. Ergo Sky’s IP?

          • Depends if Landa was paying attention to any of those GDPR emails and was inspired to exercise his right to erasure of personal data that’s no longer needed for the purposes for which it was processed. The IP in the models may be Sky’s, but the information about how Landa’s body responds to particular circumstances is his personal data.

    • He’s just as likely to get dropped in the TTT and/or stage nine and/or miss a split and lose minutes in the first week. I can’t recall the last TdF winner on debut but no doubt someone here will remind me…

  9. Can’t see what non-financial gains Dan Martin made in joining UAE-Emirates – at least with Quick Step he’d have been well looked after on the flat.

    Year after year, Cofidis get invited and do very little, the one caveat being that I seem to remember Navarro coming 9th overall a few years back.

    • Quick Step have no interest in Grad Tour GC racing. The support they can provide is due to their deep roster, but riders who really want a team that’s fully committed to a GC tilt look elsewhere.

      • Actually they’ve done well via cycling, it reaches the right demographic and they dish out a lot of goodies in the caravan to reach people, the business started in France and marketing via the team has helped them in Spain and Italy too and the message of “we’re a team, we trying hard” . Of course a stage win would do even better.

  10. The Trek roster looks like the team is being run down which is a shame. Lacking both Contador and Cancellara you’d have expected them to have landed one or two bigger named riders.

    I like Mollema, but it would appear his best days are behind him. He lacks the punch to race at the sharp end in the mountains and has only really done well when he gets in a break.

    QS looks like the team to beat on the flat, and Sky in the mountains/GC/TTT. But Movistar look like the only team capable of pushing them. BMC look like they will be as disappointing as ever, and Bahrain Merida’s roster looks like they drew lots for their places, albeit that their best GC rider and best sprinter ‘lucked out’.

    • If the transfer rumours are to be believed Trek are very much in the market for at least one GC rider, they have the budget as they have saved lots since Alberto Contador retired. I suspect that they will be back with a much stronger team next year.

    • The ‘Trek Factory’ moniker also makes obvious that the team is one of the shop windows for its own bicycles and products.
      In this regard, they don’t seem to be doing so badly.
      The Madone is a very well thought-of bike, possibly a brand leader, and Degenkolb and Stuyven for instance are worthy exponents of its merits.
      The lightweight Emonda (I’m starting to sound like a Trek salesman here!) is a cracking bike too – I have a sneaking suspicion that Inner Ring rides one, in red – and Mollema has been a faithful servant in the mountains at the Tour, though as you say another top GC man would not go amiss.

  11. I thought trek had already signed Porte for next year. Have I jumped the gun.
    Whether that makes them stronger or not is for other people to decide.

    • That is one of the rumours but UCI rules are that nothing can be officially announced until 1st August, though generally the various deals are sorted well before then. The rest days at the tour have traditionally been the time for handshakes between agents and teams.

      • Rest days these days are for filling a lot of the mid-team places, bringing in support riders around the leaders. A lot of the big moves are done between March and May although it seems this year the fate of BMC, typically generous on salaries, has caused a logjam with teams/riders/agents waiting to see if they’d be in the market or not.

  12. INRNG asks in his piece if there is a mole in Team Sky which is an interesting question. But it seems to me the answer is that there are several moles in several places. The UCI hardly seem a watertight organisation and British Cycling, once, but now much less, closely allied with Team Sky, seem to be a veritable colander when it comes being watertight. What with vulture-like journalists trying to pick up any tidbit of information and turn it into the next big story (and in the case of the most famous recent one falling flat on their faces) it seems to me it would well behoove any team to know who to trust and who not to.

    And people wonder why omerta was ever a thing.

    • Vulture is the word for so many of these cycling “journalists”. They do nothing themselves and just wait for a feast to be served up in front of them. No thought, no investigation, no critical analysis, no digging for facts. Opinion spiced with a juicy quote or two equals clickbait to drive the advertising revenue. If a democracy gets the politicians it deserves does a sport get the media it deserves?

  13. Chavanel is doing his 18th tour… wow! Did he complete all 18?

    having said that, I see he came 8th in the French TT champs 3.41 down last week, which tells me that as, a 6 times winner (last in 2014), we shouldn’t expect too much these days…

  14. That Sky team looks frightening if there are crosswinds. If they and QS were to put the hammer down and create echelons… Well, let’s just say there could be some very nervous stages for the other GC riders if the wind picks up.

  15. On the subject of teams, Mr Ring – are you going to do a piece looking at which teams have ended up with all the national champions’ jerseys this year?

    Was just glancing at the cycling news table of them here:
    doesn’t give teams, obviously, but looks like Sky have ended up with fewer road race jerseys than in the past – just 2 I think. Was wondering who’s ended up with the most…

    • Just doing a table/list would be a bit boring for me, sorry. It’s always a bit random although obviously different teams attach different importance to it, eg Sky don’t see too bothered by their home championships whereas it’s a big objective for, say, FDJ or Astana etc.

  16. I was interested in this as well.

    With regards Sky and specifically their Tour team, its very heavy in current or former TT champs if not road race. Bernal, Kwiatko, Thomas and Castro this year plus Moscon one last last year.

  17. You mention Barguil didn’t like the Look frames, is there anymore information on this? I thought the Look frames where right out of the top drawer?

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