This year’s Tour de France didn’t follow the script (as so many editions of this classic grand tour refuse to do), with surprise winner Egan Bernal becoming Colombia’s first-ever winner. The young rider’s shocking performance sent South American cycling fans into delirium, but can he repeat the heroics this round?
With so much that can change in bike racing, from team sponsors to injuries, it can seem crazy to try and predict who’ll be wearing yellow in Paris next year. But, some things never change.
We break down the contenders, the highlights, and the possible outcome of the world’s biggest bike race.
The Big Players
Perennial contenders, young beginners, and those hungry to prove a point: these riders are out to show they mean business when the race rolls around next year.
In no particular order, we predict the big players will be the following.
- Egan Bernal – The 22-year old Colombian superstar rocketed to the head of cycling’s elite with a mature and rounded performance this year, using the formidable power of Team Ineos (formerly Sky) to blast past his opponents in the Alps.
- Geraint Thomas – After coming in second to his teammate this year and winning the year before, Thomas has moved into position as one of the great British cyclists, easily on pace with former teammates Froome and Wiggins. Thomas will be chomping at the bit for another try next year.
- Julian Alaphilippe – The French star came into the Tour, like so many French riders before him, with a huge weight on his shoulders. Despite hopes that he might become France’s first winner in decades, he fell just short, but he will feel that he’s done enough to be a very serious contender next year.
- Alejandro Valverde – The Spanish veteran again demonstrated his class in the General Classification and will be hoping that he can use his experience in the peloton to stay in contention for another one in 2020.
- Rigoberto Uran – 1 of an amazing 4 Colombians who made the Top 10 in the 2019 Tour, Uran is a seasoned campaigner with years of Grand Tour experience. He’s never won, but he’s showed his ability, especially in the high mountains, on countless occasions.
- Nairo Quintana – Quintana is another brilliant Colombian who could win it all with the right conditions. A fearsome climber, Quintana can attack from anywhere in the race and shouldn’t be discounted.
It’s always so difficult to guess how a race where so much can change might shape up. Even before the Tour starts, some of these riders may be ruled out or choose not to compete.
But, if we’re staking our claim, here’s our prediction for the finale in Paris next summer.
Ineos vs Movistar – The Battle of the Spanish-Speakers
The primetime showdown between two of cycling’s premier teams will be featured again in the 2020 edition, with Ineos deploying all of their resources to get their chosen man on top of the podium. With Thomas likely to play a supporting role this time around, Bernal has a formidable domestique and eases away to a fine victory.
Final Tour de France Podium: Bernal, Alaphilippe, Quintana
You heard it here first… That’s our prediction. Bernal, Alaphilippe, Quintana.