The Tour de France 2021 is about to start and after Giro d’Italia success with Egan Bernal earlier this year, cycling fans in Colombia can’t wait for a new grand tour.
The biggest chance of success for the escarabajos seems to come from Rigoberto Urán. El toro de urrao showed his form by winning the mountainous time trial stage in the Tour of Switzerland. In 2017, the leader of Team Education-Nippo was already close to the yellow jersey when he finished second, within a minute of winner Chris Froome. This time he isn’t expected to get any competition from Froome. The Brit will compete for Israel Start-Up Nation but after a crash in 2019, is far from the level he had before.
In Rigo’s quest for success, he’ll be supported by luxury domestique Sergio Higuita. The 23-year-old from Medellín already marked his name on the biggest stage in 2019 by winning a stage in the Vuelta a España, his first ever grand tour.
Miguel Ángel Superman López will also fancy his chances in this year’s Tour de France, but as is usually the case with Movistar, he will first have to compete with teammate Enric Mas and good old Alejandro Valverde to see whether he will get full support from his team. Superman López impressed on Mont Ventoux a few weeks ago, by blowing his competition away in the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge. The competition wasn’t too strong, but his climbing time in the single stage race was a minute faster than Chris Froome recorded in his maiden Tour de France victory. With a double Ventoux ascent on stage 11 (July 7), that bodes well.
Nairo Quintana will also have another shot at a tour victory. The Boyacense, who twice came second in the competition behind Froome, has been racing for the smaller Team Arkéa Samsic, where he will get full support to go for the Tour de France victory. Nairo mostly played hide-and-seek in the preparation, so it is hard to say whether he has got a serious chance to win it, but he seems an outsider for the yellow jersey.
After the big three and Higuita we will probably see Sergio Luis Henao for Team Qhubeka – Nexthash and Esteban Chaves for Team BikeExchange in a free role going for stage victories.
The three leading Colombians are definite contenders for the top ten and maybe even for a podium spot, but the competition will be tough. Last year’s winner Tadej Pogacar is all set to defend his yellow jersey and Jumbo – Visma has built their entire team around getting Primoz Roglic his first Tour de France victory.
Team Ineos comes to the Tour de France without Egan Bernal. The Tour winner from 2019 successfully set his sights on the Giro d’Italia earlier this season and will also be part of Team Ineos’s Vuelta a España line up later this year. Nevertheless, Ineos is probably considered the strongest team in the race. With Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz, Brits Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart and Richie Porte from Australia, they have four potential winners in their ranks.
The Tour de France 2021 will start this Saturday and finishes on Sunday, July 18 on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.