Nice (AP) - At the 107th Tour de France, which starts on Saturday, everything points to a duel between the Colombian defending champion Egan Bernal and Vuelta champion Primoz Roglic from Slovenia.
But France can also hope for its first home win with Thibaut Pinot since the triumph of Bernard Hinault 35 years ago. From a German perspective, eyes are on Emanuel Buchmann.
THE TITLE DEFENSE: Last year, Egan Bernal rose to be the youngest tour winner since 1909 at the age of 22 years and 196 days. The Colombian is trusted to surpass the five-time winners Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain. But first the second step has to be taken. He easily won the internal power struggle with ex-winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, the two Brits are not even in the squad. However, not everything went well in advance. During the Dauphiné tour he let himself be shaken off by Primoz Roglic. Bernal got out early to make up for his deficit with extra units.
THE HIGH FLYER: It is an unusual career that Primoz Roglic has had. Until 2011 he was still on the road as a ski jumper, in the junior division he even won gold in the team competition. Then I switched to cycling. And the Slovene started here too. After his professional debut in 2016, Roglic worked his way up to the top of the world step by step. In his first year he won a Giro stage, and a year later he was already celebrating on a tour stage. The 30-year-old made his breakthrough as a tour driver last year. After finishing third in the Giro, he won the Tour of Spain. And so it went on after the Corona break: Five wins in nine days of racing are impressive. But how much did the fall on the Dauphiné tour throw him back?
THE FRENCH STAR: Bad luck is a constant companion at Thibaut Pinot. Last year, the French would have been able to win the Tour, had a torn thigh not forced him to give up on the third from last stage. The tour third from 2014, who has never worn the yellow jersey in his career, had to give up the tour prematurely for the fourth time on his seventh participation. In 2016, bronchitis stopped him. His end at the Giro d'Italia 2018 was particularly bitter, when he was third overall with two stages to go before pneumonia stopped him. Pinot has everything to give the French their first win since Bernard Hinault 35 years ago.
THE GERMAN HOPE: Fourth place last year whetted Emanuel Buchmann's appetite for more. The podium was the goal of the slender Ravensburger, after all, last year only 25 seconds were missing. His form after the Corona break underlined the ambitions. Buchmann climbed the mountains with the top stars before a fall forced him to take a break. Strong bruises and abrasions made him to create in the run-up to the tour.
THE SUBSTITUTE CAPTAIN: Should Bernal and Roglic fail, their teams have strong replacements up their sleeves. Bernal's Ineos team called in Richard Carapaz as a noble helper. The climber from Ecuador has won the Giro d'Italia after all. Roglic's Jumbo Visma colleague Tom Dumoulin already succeeded in doing this in 2017, and he finished second on the Tour in 2018. But after a protracted knee injury and the forced Corona break, the Dutchman has only just returned to racing after a 420-day break.
THE COLOMBIAN: When it comes to the mountains, Bernal isn't the only promising Colombian. Ex-Giro and Vuelta winner Nairo Quintana wants to attack again. Rigoberto Uran, after all already second in the Tour and Giro, knows how to do it. His Colombian compatriots Miguel Angel Lopez, Esteban Chaves and Daniel Martinez, who just won the Dauphiné tour, also have podium experience.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200826-99-319185 / 2
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