Alberto Contador has sponsored Egan Bernal (Ineos) to win the 2019 Excursion de France announcing the younger Colombian is the “transparent favorite” to be in yellow at the Champs-Élysées after 3 weeks of racing.
The Spaniard has stated this 12 months’s Excursion would be the maximum open race in years, with 3 of final 12 months’s most sensible 4 no longer taking the place to begin in Brussels on July 6, and added this might motive a converting of the guard in the case of the riders who will pass directly to contest long term Grand Excursions.
Chris Froome (Ineos) and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) will each pass over this 12 months’s race thru damage after completing at the podium final 12 months whilst Primož Roglič, who completed fourth final 12 months, makes manner within the Jumbo-Visma squad for Steven Kruijswijk to have a crack on the GC after Roglič faltered within the 3rd week of the new Giro d’Italia.
“I feel we face probably the most open Excursion of new years, there’s no transparent favorite in case you take a look at the percentages,” Contador informed Spanish newspaper Marca, “we’re witnessing a generational alternate and new winners might emerge, with the casualties of Froome and Dumoulin making it much more open.”
Of the highest 4 on final 12 months’s GC, most effective the protecting champion Geraint Thomas (Ineos) strains up this 12 months. After the Welshman crashed out on degree 4 of the new Excursion de Suisse, his team-mate Egan Bernal took over management duties and gained the race very easily.
“Egan is for sure one of the most nice favourites and no longer most effective as a result of his triumph in Switzerland however as a result of anyplace he is going this is a certain victory, and he additionally has an excellent workforce that works really well for him,” Contador stated. “However he already is aware of the race, final 12 months he did smartly and can combat for the victory.”
Bernal completed 15th on the 2018 Excursion de France, proving to be Geraint Thomas’ key mountain domestique because the Welshman rode to his first Grand Excursion victory. In 2019 Bernal then went on to pick out as much as degree race wins at Paris-Great and the Excursion de Suisse.
Contador believes Bernal is destined for greatness without reference to whether or not he wins the Excursion this 12 months, announcing “his long term capacity is scary and his high quality as a rider is already a fact”.
Regardless of Bernal being most effective 22 years outdated, Contador, who himself gained his first Excursion de France name elderly 24, says that early life won’t hang the younger Colombian again.
“The revel in issue can play an element, however Egan Bernal has an excellent workforce, probably the most tough, and a top quality he has already demonstrated,” Contador stated. “I used to be 24 years outdated and he’s now 22, however while you pass from beginner to skilled and you realize your talents, your watts, there are extra tactics to grasp your limits, so the variation is shortened. He’s younger however has a forged base, and is a transparent favorite.”
Whilst Geraint Thomas was once left slightly unscathed by way of his crash and temporarily returned to coaching to organize for the Excursion, Chris Froome’s twist of fate resulted within the four-time Excursion champion going through six months off the motorcycle as he was once positioned in in depth care after his crash on the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Contador has sponsored Froome to make a complete go back and get again to the extent required to problem for a record-equalling 5th Excursion de France name.
“I feel he’ll go back to the highest stage,” Contador stated, “he’s a aggressive rider in any respect ranges and he’ll get better absolutely, as proven by way of Alejandro Valverde in 2017 or myself in 2014.”