Cycling: Cycling-Penpix of the top Tour de France contenders


BREST, France (Reuters) – Penpix of the four main contenders for the 2021 Tour de France, which starts in Brest on Saturday:



Born: Sept 21, 1998 (Age 22)

Tour stage wins: 3

Grand Tour results: Tour de France – 1st (2020); Vuelta – 3rd (2019); Giro d’Italia – NP

Significant wins: Tirreno Adriatico 2021; Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2021

Strengths: A hugely talented climber, Pogacar is equally at ease on the long and short ascents. His carefree approach to last year’s Tour paid off as his attacks eventually wore out fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic, who cracked dramatically in the final time trial up to La Planche des Belles Filles.

Weaknesses: Pogacar doesn’t have any real weakness on the bike. However, while the surprise effect fully worked on the Tour last year, he will start this edition as the man to beat, which will put him under tremendous pressure.



Born: Oct 29, 1989 (Age 31)

Tour stage wins: 3

Grand Tour results: Tour de France – 38th (2017), 4th (2018), 2nd (2020); Giro d’Italia – 58th (2016), 3rd (2019); Vuelta – 1st (2019, 2020)

Significant wins: Liege-Bastogne-Liege (2020), Tour of the Basque country (2018, 2021)

Strengths: Already a seasoned Grand Tour rider, Roglic has a strong team at his disposal and like Pogacar is also at ease on long and short ascents, which often earns him bonus seconds in punchy stage finishes. Also a good time trialist.

Weaknesses: Has ‘bad days’, the worst of which cost him the Tour de France last year, when he cracked on the final time trial. Another one cost him the Paris-Nice title this season as he crashed twice in the final stage while wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey.



Born: May 25, 1986 (Age 35)

Tour stage wins: 3

Tour stage wins: 0

Grand Tour results: Tour de France – 140th (2007), 67th (2010), 31st (2011), 140th (2013), 22nd (2014), 15th (2015), 15th (2016), abandon (2017), 1st (2018), 2nd (2019); Giro d’Italia: 118th (2008), 80th (2012), ab. (2017, 2020); Vuelta: 69th (2015)

Significant wins (road only): Paris-Nice (2016), Criterium du Dauphine (2018)

Strengths: Experienced Grand Tour rider as a domestique, lieutenant or team leader. A track cyclist turned road rider, Thomas can sustain long efforts in the mountains and is a superior time trialist. Can count on the best team of the Tour.

Weaknesses: He might not like brutal attacks with constant changes in the pace on the climbs that will come from Pogacar. The team is the best on paper, but that means he will have to prove he deserves to be the leader over Tao Geoghegan Hart or Richard Carapaz.



Born: May 29, 1993 (Age 28)

Grand Tour results: Tour de France – 13th (2020); Giro d’Italia – 4th (2018), 1st (2019); Vuelta – 36th (2017), 18th (2018), 2nd (2020)

Significant wins: Tour de Suisse (2021)

Strength: A natural climber, Carapaz will be hard to get rid of in the mountain stages and he should be at ease when the race takes the peloton above 2,000 metres – which will happen four times this year.

Weaknesses: Will need to prove himself early in the race if he wants to be the designated leader at Ineos-Grenadiers, with Tao Geoghegan Hart and Geraint Thomas. Not as strong a time trialist as the other main contenders.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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