Geraint Thomas is chasing history as he looks to become the oldest Tour de France champion since 1922… but can Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar spoil the party and seal his hat-trick of wins?
- The Tour de France begins today with 176 riders battling over 2,068 miles
- Geraint Thomas is looking to become the oldest winner since 1922
- Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar is hoping to win the competition for the third time
The Tour de France begins in Copenhagen on Friday with 176 riders battling it out over 2,068 miles before reaching the finish line in Paris on July 24.
With Geraint Thomas chasing history, and Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar looking to make it three wins in a row – it promises to be an exciting few weeks.
Here, Sportsmail looks at the key talking points ahead of cycling’s most prestigious race.
Geraint Thomas is looking to become the oldest Tour de France winner since 1922
WILL TADEJ POGACAR MAKE IT A HAT-TRICK?
No cycling fan will ever forget the Slovenian’s stunning victory in 2020, when he overhauled a 57-second deficit to Primoz Roglic in the final time trial to steal the yellow jersey. Pogacar then won last year’s race to become, at 22, the youngest two-time champion. The UAE Team Emirates rider is favourite again but will be challenged by countryman Roglic, who won this year’s Criterium du Dauphine and Paris-Nice.
Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar is looking to win the Tour de France for the third time in a row
WHO ARE THE BRITS TO WATCH?
‘Dismiss Geraint Thomas at your peril’ is the message from Sir Bradley Wiggins about the 2018 champion, picked as one of three leaders for Ineos Grenadiers.
At 36, Thomas would be the oldest Tour winner since Firmin Lambot in 1922 but the Welshman’s fine victory at the Tour de Suisse earlier this month showed he is still a dark horse. ‘I’ve been feeling good,’ he said. ‘I want to be there in the mix but I’m chilled. I’ve won the race before, I just want to enjoy it.’
Adam Yates is also a co-leader in his first season with Ineos and it will be intriguing to see how his team-mate Tom Pidcock, the Olympic mountain bike champion, fares on his Tour debut. Four-time winner Chris Froome, now of Israel-Premier Tech, is taking part in his 10th race at the age of 37.
British rider Adam Yates (pictured) is a co-leader in his first season with Ineos
WHERE IS CAVENDISH?
Mark Cavendish has been denied the chance to go clear of Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage victories after Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl controversially selected Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen instead.
IS COVID STILL A CONCERN?
Cycling’s world governing body were forced to update their Covid protocols this week, ramping up the testing of riders and staff. It follows the chaos of the Tour de Suisse, where Ineos stars Yates and Pidcock both tested positive and were among 29 riders who had to withdraw from the race. With cases rising across the continent again, teams fear that problems lie ahead for the Tour.