With the Tour de France 19-days away–the World Cup in Russia makes for a later start this year–and all the tune-up races completed, we can take a look at the recent form of the contenders for the yellow, the podium and the top-10.
Hot: Froome, Dumoulin, Thomas, Bernal, Valverde, Porte, Fuglsang, Quintana, and Roglic
Not: Nibali, Landa, Jungels
Giro d’Italia, May 4-27
1) Chris Froome (Sky)
2) Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb)
5) Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida)
DNF: Fabio Aru (UAE-Emirates)
None of these four riders have competed post-Giro. Pozzovivo is in a funny position with Nibali and the Izagirre brothers on his team: someone will emerge as the team’s protected rider.
Aru might end up playing second fiddle to Dan Martin in the Tour. Sixth in the Tour of the Alps is Fabio’s best result this season.
Tour of California, May 13-19
1) Egan Bernal (Sky)
Either Bernal or Geraint Thomas will be in the Tour’s top-10 this season and have the feeling it will be the Colombian white jersey favourite.
Critérium du Dauphiné, June 3-10
1) Geraint Thomas (Sky)
2) Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)
3) Romain Bardet (AG2R)
4) Dan Martin (UAE-Emirates)
10) Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha)
21) Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step)
24) Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)
25) Bob Jungels (Quick Step)
Thomas, Yates and Bardet all looked to be on good form, as did Dan Martin, who had to come from behind after a poor opening team time trial. Martin, silencing the critics with his Stage 5 victory, is UAE-Emirates’ best bet at the Tour.
Nibali had that classic indifferent pre-Tour form at the Dauphins. Bedsides his remarkable Milan-San Remo triumph, Nibali’s season high mark is 11th in Tirreno-Adriatico.
It’s a shame that Quick Step’s young Spaniard Enric Mas is slated for the Vuelta a España, because he’s the hottest of the squad’s stage racers. Jungels hasn’t finished higher than 18th in three WorldTour stage races in 2018. Alaphilippe will chase stage wins.
Tour de Suisse, June 9-17
1) Richie Porte (BMC)
2) Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)
3) Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
5) Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb)
8) Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo)
12) Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)
16) Mikel Landa (Movistar)
Porte took his first Tour de Suisse title with ease, showing savvy and power on Stage 6’s Cat. 3 finish to put 12-seconds into his rivals. Fuglsang’s second place after climbing 15-spots in the last three days shows that he’s ready to lead Astana at the Tour. Fuglsang was fourth in the Tour de Romandie as well.
Quintana’s stage winning attack was classic Nairo, and his podium place gives Colombian fans hope that he can mount a better Tour campaign than last year’s. In four stage races this season, he hasn’t finished lower than fifth. Quintana’s teammate Mikel Landa was a disappointment, especially after three 2018 stage races in which he took 6th twice and earned the runner-up spot at Pais Vasco.
Tour of Slovenia, June 13-17
1) Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo)
2) Rigoberto Uran (EF-Drapac)
6) Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Primoz Roglic must be taken seriously as a contender after winning the last three stage races he contested: the WorldTour Pais Vasco and Tour de Romandie rounds and his home tour, where he beat out last year’s Tour de France runner-up, Rigoberto Uran.
La Route d’Occitanie, June 14-17
1) Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
He just keeps winning. Valverde had little competition in this four-stage French race that he picked up after being too ill to start the Tour de Suisse. Valverde has won all four stage races he has entered this year.