Is it sad that Chris Froome’s serious crash and subsequent withdrawal from the Tour de France has me more interested in this year’s race than I was before? It feels a little sad. Even still I’m conflicted about who to support. It’s not controversial to suggest, for the sake of good sport, it would be nice to see someone not Sky/Ineos win for a change. But I’m Welsh. I can’t not root for Geraint Thomas.
Thomas has just crashed out of the Tour de Suisse, but is still probably de facto leader, even with the promise of young Colombian rider Egan Bernal on the team. Ineos is always stacked with the strongest support riders, and that’s what’s made them such comfortable winners of so many Tours. They control the race more or less from start to finish.
As a team, Movistar provides an excellent foil to Ineos this year with Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa, supported by Alejandro Valverde. That’s a lot of uphill talent and potential to break individual stages when things get steep. And isn’t that what’s best about the Tour de France, the epic climbing battles. I think so.
And then you have a few others with the potential to get on the podium, including Adam Yates, Thibaud Pinot, and Romain Bardet. These guys are all talented and each has been building to bigger and better things in their careers, but it’s hard to see any of them winning, because their teams just aren’t strong enough.
This week’s Group Ride asks, who do you like in this year’s Tour? And how much will you watch? Are you still an all day, every day follower? Or do you watch text updates from work? The digested evening coverage? Or are you just fully and completely over it?