It’s time for the most important race of all of them: Le Excursion de France. Forward of the Grand Go away this Saturday, familiarize yourself at the riders to look at, the levels to look at, and extra. That is CyclingTips’ preview of the 2019 Excursion de France.

The path

After two days within the Belgian capital of Brussels, the 2019 Excursion heads south in France on degree 3, then swings east in opposition to Germany. On degree 7 the path heads south west in opposition to the Pyrenees, heading throughout the Massif Central by way of a leisure day after degree 10. Phases 12 via 15 will likely be raced within the Pyrenees ahead of the second one leisure day, after which it’s up in opposition to the Alps.

Phases 17 via 20 are all held within the mountains ahead of the now-customary long-range switch at the eve of the general degree. As ever, the 2019 Excursion finishes with a dash at the most famed street in all of biking: the Champs-Elysees.

How it will spread

With simply two time trials (a complete of simplest 55km in opposition to the clock) and 3 summit finishes above 2,000m (a primary for the Excursion), this yr’s direction will have to favour the climbers some of the GC contenders. We’ll most likely get a way on degree 6 of who’s going neatly however, as ever, it is going to be the 0.33 week that truly determines the race general.

Right here’s a breakdown of each and every degree. The times with an asterisk are those we predict to form the GC:

Level 1: Early climbs of the Bosberg and ‘the Muur’ however will have to be a number dash.
Level 2: A 27.6km group time trial. A bit of lumpy however not anything extraordinarily tough. *
Level 3: 5 small climbs within the closing 45km, closing with 4km to head. Reasonably uphill end.
Level 4: A host dash into Nancy.
Level 5: 4 climbs, closing with 19.5km to head. Flat end. Breakaway?
Level 6: First summit end: L. a. Planche des Belles Filles (7km at 8.7%).*
Level 7: 3 early climbs, however virtually indubitably a number dash.
Level 8: Seven climbs, up and down all day, 3,800m of mountaineering. Breakaway?
Level 9: A lumpy day with 3 climbs. Final is 3.6km at 7.2%, 13km from the end.
Level 10: 4 small climbs however will have to be a number dash.

Level 6 options the primary summit end.

Level 11: Any other bunch dash to start out the second one ‘week’.
Level 12: Two large Pyreneean climbs overdue. Final is 30km from the end, downhill to line.
Level 13: Most effective ITT of the race. 27.2km lengthy. A bit of lumpy however not anything extraordinarily trying out.*
Level 14: 2d summit end, on the Col du Tourmalet (19km at 7.4%).*
Level 15: 3rd summit end, at Foix Prat d’Albis (11.8km at 6.9%). 4,700m of mountaineering.*

Level 14’s Col du Tourmalet end may well be decisive.

Level 16: Virtually indubitably a number dash.
Level 17: Past due climb is 5.2km at 5.4%, 8.5km from the road. One for the smash?
Level 18: 3 mountains. Final is the Galibier (23km at 5.1%). Final 19km is downhill.*
Level 19: Fourth summit end (7.4km at 7%) which tops out 2km from the end.*
Level 20: 5th summit end: Val Thorens (33.4km at 5%). 130km degree.*
Level 21: Bunch dash at the Champs-Elysees.

Level 18 options 3 large climbs.

The full contenders

Within the absence of Tom Dumoulin (moment closing yr; knee harm), Chris Froome (0.33; more than one accidents) and Primoz Roglic (fourth; raced the Giro), the 2019 Excursion is significantly extra open than it will were. With that during thoughts, listed here are the riders we expect will likely be vying for the rostrum, if no longer the entire victory.

Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal (Ineos) – Ineos would possibly have misplaced Chris Froome but it surely’s nonetheless the most powerful group at the startlist and it nonetheless begins with two riders who can win the Excursion. Geraint Thomas is the protecting champion and confirmed closing yr that he will also be the very best all-round rider when the whole lot is going to devise.

Not like closing yr despite the fact that, when he received the Criterium du Dauphine, Thomas hasn’t had a super lead-in this yr. He hasn’t received a race but in 2019 and crashing out of the Excursion de Suisse indubitably doesn’t rely as very best preparation. Egan Bernal, in the meantime, has had a miles more potent build-up.

To this point this yr Bernal has received Paris-Great and the Excursion de Suisse. After lacking the Giro because of a pre-race crash, he’s arrived on the Excursion in nice type. He’s probably the most supreme climbers on this planet and his time-trialling is coming alongside very properly. Reasonably merely, he can win the Excursion, although that is simplest his moment Grand Excursion and he’s simply 22 years previous. If he does win it, he’ll be the third-youngest Excursion winner in historical past.

Ineos has mentioned that Thomas and Bernal will cross in as co-leaders, which is attention-grabbing given, only a few weeks previous, Bernal used to be pronouncing he would journey for Thomas. Do they know that Thomas received’t have what it takes? Both approach it is going to be intriguing to peer how Ineos deploys its really extensive sources and who finally ends up being the more potent of Thomas and Bernal.

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) – That is more than likely the Dane’s supreme likelihood to win the Excursion. He’s having the most efficient season of his profession, successful the Criterium du Dauphine and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and with the likes of Froome and Dumoulin out of the image, Fuglsang’s possibilities have stepped forward significantly.

If all is going neatly, Fugslang will have to strengthen on his supreme of 7th general (in 2013) and may even win the item if Ineos and others falter. It’s going to most likely come down as to whether he can persistently observe the likes of Bernal uphill.

Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa (Movistar) – The Spanish squad has two compelling choices but it surely’s exhausting to peer them successful the Excursion. Quintana hasn’t been at his supreme over 3 weeks since early 2017 and a reversal of type right here turns out quite not going. Generally he’d have a handful of wins for the season thus far however in 2019 he’s simplest were given one (on the Excursion Colombia).

Landa is possibly a extra compelling choice however the large query will likely be whether or not he’s recovered sufficient from the Giro. Landa rode to fourth there as his teammate Richard Carapaz took the win general. If Landa can keep contemporary for the entire 3 weeks he’s indubitably an opportunity for some other best 5, if no longer the rostrum.

Notice that Movistar additionally brings international champion Alejandro Valverde to the Excursion. The 39-year-old is in a position to a best 10 in his personal proper (he’s accomplished so on six events), however will most likely journey in beef up of Quintana and Landa. He’ll be at his most deadly if he’s given the danger to head for degree wins. On his day he can win on with regards to any terrain and given his fresh wins at L. a. Path d’Occitanie and the Spanish Nationals, he’s indubitably in excellent type (when is he ever no longer?).

Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) – Adam Yates has flown slightly beneath the radar forward of this yr’s Excursion however he completely must be factored in. Whilst he pulled out of the Dauphine because of sickness he appears to be again at complete power.

Mitchelton-Scott and Yates are aiming for the rostrum — a practical purpose, specifically now that Adam’s brother Simon will likely be there on super-domestique tasks too. With Simon and Jack Haig taking a look after Adam within the mountains, the more youthful Yates may be very neatly positioned. It could be no wonder for Adam to check or strengthen on his supreme of fourth general (2016).

Adam Yates wore yellow on the fresh Dauphine ahead of heading house unwell.

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) – A couple of weeks in the past the 2014 Excursion champion used to be pronouncing he’d goal degree wins at this yr’s race. That wasn’t sudden given he’d raced the Giro in Might, completing moment no much less. However now, at the eve of the Excursion, Nibali has mentioned he would possibly goal the GC finally. Extra particularly he’s mentioned “I will be able to pay attention to my emotions” and that “I will be able to see the place I’m” after the degree 6 summit end.

That is an intriguing prospect. It’s exhausting to peer Nibali being contemporary sufficient to problem for the entire victory, despite the fact that he does generally tend to get more potent in opposition to the top of Grand Excursions, relative to his competitors. But when the GC struggle does end up an excessive amount of, Nibali concentrated on degree wins will likely be nice for the race. Both approach fanatics will have to be handled to a few thrilling racing from the Shark of Messina.

Notice as neatly that Rohan Dennis is within the Bahrain-Merida line-up. After his moment general on the fresh Excursion de Suisse the Australian is obviously in superb type, however how that can translate to the Excursion truly isn’t transparent. His large goal would be the one ITT (the place he’ll be the favorite) but when he can keep excessive up on GC all over, and specifically if Nibali falls away, Dennis may neatly check out for a excessive general striking.

Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) – It’s no secret that Porte hasn’t had a super yr. He’s battled a number of diseases in 2019, and whilst he received his conventional Willunga degree on the Excursion Down Underneath, that’s his simplest win and he’s appeared a ways off his supreme for many of the yr.

Porte will likely be hoping to journey himself into higher type because the Excursion is going on, most likely with the purpose of completing at the podium. Glance to the summit end on degree 6 to peer how he’s progressing. After all, a part of Porte it will likely be glad simply to complete the Excursion unscathed, after crashing out on degree Nine the previous two years.

Romain Bardet (Ag2r-L. a. Mondiale) – To mention there’s power at the French GC contenders this yr can be reasonably the understatement. Certainly, L’Equipe not too long ago ran a headline pronouncing “This yr, or by no means”.

Bardet does have a excellent shot this yr, specifically on a path that looks to favour the climbers. Bardet’s season thus far mightn’t glance spectacular (no wins) however that’s no longer extraordinary. He didn’t win in 2016 ahead of completing moment general. Any other podium end may be very achievable.

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) – Not like Bardet, Pinot does have some wins at the board in 2019. He received the entire on the Excursion du Haut Var and the Excursion de l’Ain. Lately he used to be 5th on the Dauphine and rode neatly within the mountains. Pinot is some other rider that advantages from the climber-friendly direction. Can he fit or strengthen his supreme of 0.33 general (2014)? Sure, if the whole lot is going completely to devise.

The yr Nibali received the Excursion, Pinot used to be 0.33.

Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) – The Dutchman used to be excellent ultimately yr’s Excursion and completed 5th for his troubles. On paper, with closing yr’s second-, third-, and fourth-placed finishers lacking this yr, the rostrum is now a chance. After all it’s no longer reasonably so simple as that, however be expecting for Kruijswijk to be across the mark.

He’s had a excellent begin to the yr: of the 3 degree races he’s completed, his worst general striking is 6th. Any other Excursion best 5 is definitely inside of his grab and if the whole lot falls into position, the rostrum indubitably isn’t past him. Notice that George Bennett is in attendance too. The Kiwi will indubitably be a to hand super-domestique for Kruijswijk or a excellent moment choice for Jumbo-Visma if Kruijswijk falls by way of the wayside.

Kruijswijk at the assault all through the 2018 Excursion.


Past the ones which can be prone to problem for the general podium, there’s a number of riders who will have to even be within the dialog for the highest 10.

Rigoberto Uran and Michael Woods (EF Training First) – It could be a wonder to peer Uran at the ultimate podium, however the similar used to be true forward of the 2017 Excursion when Uran completed moment. Uran hasn’t received a race this yr however he didn’t ahead of the Excursion 2017 both, so write the EF chief off at your peril, specifically with 3 summit finishes above 2,000m. The highest 5 may be very possible.

As for Woods, neatly, he continues to strengthen as a GC contender and used to be 7th on the Vuelta in 2017. It sounds just like the Canadian may well be extra occupied with degree wins than the entire but when he does focal point on GC, the highest 10 isn’t past him.

Woods received a degree ultimately yr’s Vuelta. May a degree win on the Excursion be at the playing cards?

Dan Martin (UAE-Workforce Emirates) – Martin has completed best 10 in each and every of the previous 3 Excursions along with his 6th in 2017 being the high-water mark. Any other best 10 turns out an excellent wager for the Irishman, who can have Fabio Aru in his nook this yr. If Martin falls out of the GC race, be expecting each Martin and Aru to be unhealthy stage-hunters later within the race.

Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) – The German climber has ridden 4 degree races this yr and his worst general end used to be 7th on the Excursion de Romandie. 3rd general on the Dauphine and Basque Nation and fourth on the UAE Excursion are not any comic story.

Buchmann used to be 15th general in 2017 (he didn’t race the Excursion closing yr) and it’s no longer exhausting to peer him sneaking into the highest 10 in 2019.

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) – The lanky Russian has made a addiction of completing within the best 10 of Grand Excursions, with 4 such finishes prior to now 3 years. Any other identical result’s conceivable on the Excursion, however that can most likely rely on how neatly he’s recovered from the Giro, the place he completed 10th. Notice that Zakarin isn’t the most efficient descender within the peloton so he would possibly lose time at the likes of degree 18, with its 30km descent off the Galibier to the end.

Enric Mas (Deceuninck-QuickStep) – Whilst Mas’ Belgian squad will focal point on degree wins on the Excursion, the younger Spaniard is definitely value protecting your eye on within the GC struggle. He’s been nibbling away within the best 10 of degree races all yr (together with 9th on the fresh Excursion de Suisse) and as he confirmed with moment ultimately yr’s Vuelta he’s greater than succesful over 3 weeks. A best 10 end for the proficient 24-year-old wouldn’t be extraordinarily sudden.

Mas received a degree of the Vuelta closing yr en path to moment general.

The sprinters

In all chance there’ll be seven levels determined in a number dash at this yr’s Excursion, most likely extra if a number of the lumpier levels are raced defensively. Listed below are the sprinters to overcome:

Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep): In simply his moment Excursion de France, Viviani will likely be taking a look to dance again from a irritating Giro d’Italia previous this yr. The Italian has six wins for the yr, together with two victories on the fresh Excursion de Suisse. It could be a wonder if Viviani left the race with out his first Excursion de France degree win.

Elia Viviani received degree Five of the Excursion de Suisse.

Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) – Over the last couple years the Dutchman has advanced into probably the most supreme sprinters on this planet. He’s received 10 races this yr, together with two at Paris-Great, and he will have to upload to his 3 profession degree wins on the Excursion within the coming weeks.

Notice that Wout Van Aert could also be in Jumbo-Visma squad. The Belgian has proven himself to be greater than competent in bunch sprints in recent times, or even beat the likes of Sam Bennett to win a degree of the Dauphine not too long ago. Groenewegen might be the Dutch group’s primary guy, however Van Aert will have to get a chance sooner or later. A relatively uphill end possibly?

Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) – Ewan in the end will get to make his Excursion debut this yr and does so with a super shot at a degree victory. The Australian received two levels of the Giro in Might ahead of heading house early, which means he’ll be neatly rested for the Excursion. A win on debut is an actual risk.

Ewan received two levels on the Giro previous this yr.

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) – It’s going to be atypical to peer Sagan racing in common group package on degree 1, but it surely’s no longer exhausting to believe him finishing up in inexperienced (or yellow) ahead of too lengthy. As with Viviani, it might be a wonder to peer Sagan depart the Excursion with no degree win to his identify. However in contrast to Viviani, who wishes a most commonly flat dash, Sagan can win on difficult uphill drags as neatly.

The Slovakian brings excellent type into the Excursion — he received a dash on the Excursion de Suisse — and whilst he’s simplest were given 3 wins for the yr, he’s most likely so as to add to that on the Excursion.

Can Sagan win some other degree, and some other inexperienced jersey?

Michael Matthews (Sunweb) – Matthews would possibly were unsettled by way of the withdrawal of his GC chief Dumoulin, pronouncing he hasn’t labored on his dash, however it might be silly to put in writing off the Australian. Like Sagan, “Bling” is excellent in a difficult end and if he has been operating on his mountaineering like he says, he would possibly consider levels he wasn’t in a position to up to now.

Alexander Kristoff (UAE Workforce Emirates) – The withdrawal of Fernando Gaviria (because of a lingering knee harm) is a blow for UAE Workforce Emirates however in Kristoff the group has an excessively forged moment choice. He’s a three-time degree winner on the Excursion and whilst he’s slightly previous his supreme, the similar used to be true closing yr when he received at the Champs-Elysees.

Kristoff successful at the Champs-Elysees closing yr.

Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) – The Eu champion may be very robust at the harder finishes and already has two Excursion degree wins to his identify. Look ahead to him to tussle with the likes of Sagan and Matthews.

Andre Greipel (Arkea Samsic) – Greipel is more than likely not going to take a degree win, but it surely’s no longer out of the query. The 36-year-old German simplest has one win for the yr (on the UCI 2.1 Tropicale Amissa Bongo) and he received’t have just about the similar lead-out educate he did in his heyday. However the veteran is cunning and robust and he’d love to turn he can nonetheless combine it with the kids.

Greipel has a complete of 11 Excursion de France degree wins to his identify.

The opportunists and stage-hunters

The Excursion isn’t simply made up of days for the sprinters and days for the GC males. There are many possibilities in there for riders with the power and braveness to get off the entrance. Right here’s a choice of the riders you will have to be mindful:

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) – The Frenchman is one of the vital flexible rider in the world in this day and age. Decreased bunch sprints, tough uphill finishes, breakaway wins within the mountains — Alaphilippe can do all of it, and has. He received two levels closing yr en path to successful the KOM jersey and some other degree win is more than likely an expectation at this level.

Alaphilippe used to be superb ultimately yr’s Excursion. Be expecting extra of the similar in 2019.

Lots of the Astana group – Whilst Astana will likely be in large part occupied with Fuglsang’s GC ambitions, the group has a variety of riders that may stand up the street and snag a degree win. Pello Bilbao received two levels of the Giro doing precisely that, Luis Leon Sanchez has had an excellent yr and is a huge risk (he used to be moment past Valverde on the Spanish Nationals closing week), and Omar Fraile received a degree closing yr from a smash. The Kazakh squad has a variety of choices and a degree win may be very most likely.

Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) – The previous U23 international champ already has a degree win at each the Vuelta and the Giro and he’s indubitably in a position to finishing his assortment this yr. Loves getting away overdue and may be very unhealthy when he does.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Measurement Knowledge) – A overdue get away, a discounted bunch dash – EBH can win from both. He’s a three-time Excursion degree winner already and some other win wouldn’t be a wonder, specifically after his bunch dash win on the fresh Dauphine.

Boasson Hagen pulled off an exhilarating solo victory on degree 19 of the 2017 Excursion.

Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) – The Olympic champ’s Spring Classics mightn’t have long gone to devise however some other Excursion degree win can be a fantastic comfort prize. His two wins thus far have come from a overdue get away and from a protracted breakaway within the hills. He’s in a position to repeating both (or each) this time round.

Notice that for the primary time in its historical past CCC doesn’t have a GC contender for the Excursion. As such, the entire group will likely be searching for degree wins. Look ahead to the likes of Paddy Bevin (within the ITT or in a large late-Excursion breakaway), Alessandro De Marchi (from a mountain breakaway) and Simon Geschke (likewise) to be specifically visual.

Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) – The not too long ago topped Latvian champion might be given loose reign sooner or later (when he’s no longer driving for Porte). If he can stand up the street, he’s very unhealthy.

Niki Terpstra and Lilian Calmejane (Overall Direct Energie) – The previous is a brilliant wager for a overdue transfer at the lumpier days. The latter received a degree from a mountain breakaway a couple of years again. Each are worthy of your consideration.

Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) – Received a degree of closing yr’s Giro from a breakaway. Very unhealthy in difficult, hilly races. Be expecting to peer the brand new German champ up the street on a number of events.

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) – De Gendt coming into breakways is a given at this level. And he’s no longer simply there making up the numbers — the Belgian can indubitably win some other degree this yr.

De Gendt received on Mont Ventoux again in 2016.

The jerseys

The golf green jersey struggle seems to be to be a fascinating one. Sagan is the favorite to win a record-breaking 7th jersey, however he’s were given some stiff pageant. Matthews received inexperienced in 2017 and might be willing for some other chunk of the cherry, specifically and not using a Dumoulin to fret about for GC, and specifically given he’s been operating on his mountaineering.

Wout Van Aert is an engaging wildcard. He sprints rather well, time trials like a md, and if he to find his approach into breakaways within the mountains, he may simply give Sagan and Matthews a run for his or her cash. Whether or not the fairway jersey is even a purpose is still noticed.

In 2017 Matthews was the 0.33 Australian winner of the fairway issues jersey.

As for the KOM jersey, neatly, it seems to be prone to be a basically French affair. If Alaphilippe needs it once more he’ll be very exhausting to prevent. On the other hand, the in-form, newly topped French champion Warren Barguil is in a position to disrupting the ones plans — finally, he did win the polka dots in 2017. It’s going to be attention-grabbing to peer if this yr’s Giro KOM Guilio Ciccone will likely be allowed to aim the double, or if he’ll be required to journey for Porte. The latter turns out much more likely.

And as for the most efficient younger rider, neatly, if Egan Bernal finishes the Excursion he’s going to virtually indubitably take the white jersey. Enric Mas is possibly the next-best-placed in that struggle.

Egan Bernal isn’t any stranger to a supreme younger rider jersey.

Easy methods to watch the race

For those who’re looking at from Australia, SBS has you lined with a mix of are living streaming by way of the Excursion Tracker app, SBS OnDemand, and TV declares. Take a look at the SBS Biking Central web page for all of the main points.

For those who’re in america, NBC Sports activities is a forged go-to, so too is Fubo.television. ITV4 can have each degree are living in the United Kingdom, whilst Eurosport is a forged choice all over Europe. As ever, make sure to test steephill.television and your native guides for essentially the most up-to-date knowledge.

Who’s your select to win the 2019 Excursion de France? What are you maximum taking a look ahead to concerning the race?

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