Tour de France 2022: the French hopes of this 109th edition without Alaphilippe

TOUR DE FRANCE – You are missing someone and everything is depopulated. Julian Alaphilippe will not be part of this 109th edition of the Tour de France, which starts this Friday 1 July from Copenhagen to Denmark.

Without the reigning world champion, sacked by his team after a heavy fall in Liege-Baston-Liege in late April, who will be able to take the torch of the only Frenchman to have won a stage in the Tour in 2021?

To answer this question, Yoann Offredo, a former professional cyclist turned consultant at France Télévisions, entrusted the HuffPost about the French opportunities in the Grande Boucle version 2022. In addition, the former rider wants to trust and believes that “French cycling goes long before the Tour”, despite “the disappointment of not seeing Julian at the start”.

  • Towards the peas: Pinot, Bardet, Barguil

Without a victory on the Tour since the 14th stage of the Grande Boucle 2019, Thibaut Pinot reaches this 2022 edition with new ambitions, such as success at the Planche des Belles Filles in the seventh stage. After a 1007-day diet without the slightest success, the Groupama-FDJ rider had won the fifth stage of the Tour of the Alps.

“This time he is not leading the general, so he will have less pressure than in the past. It makes me think that the polka dot shirt is accessible for him this year “, analyzes Yoann Offredo. He tested positive for Covid-19 on his return from the Tour de Suisse, Thibaut Pinot has finally confirmed his presence at the start of the race on Friday through his team.

Second in the Tour de France in 2016 and third in 2017, Romain Bardet (DSM) is one of the French in form this year with his victory in the Tour des Alpes. And despite a cruel abandonment in the Giro while fighting for the final victory, Brioude’s native will have a real role as an outsider. “Bardet has ambitions, we saw him at the Giro,” remarks Yoann Offredo, who doesn’t forget to mention the polka dot shirt he wore to the Champs Elysees in 2019.

“Like a Warren Barguil. Totally uninhibited, he can do something” behind Nairo Quintana in the Arkéa-Samsic team, adds the former rider. The winner of the 2017 Tour de France polka dot jersey could shine again in the mountain roads after some convincing results this season: a stage victory in March over Tirreno-Adriatico and his victory at the Miguel Indurain Grand Prix in April.

  • For a stage victory: Sénéchal, Cosnefroy, Turgis

Last minute surprise for Florian Sénéchal. The driver of the Quick-Step team, newly crowned champion of France 2022 had initially been dismissed by his team, but for a case of Covid, he will be well aligned at the start of the Tour.

A potential candidate for a French stage victory this July, just like other fit French runners this season. Among them, Yoann Offredo immediately quotes Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-Citroën) and Mathieu Burgaudeau (Total Energies) with his “Alaphilppe profile, has the same explosive potential to claim a stage victory.”

Another name has emerged in recent weeks. That of Anthony Turgis. The 2022 and 2018 French runners-up will be looking forward to winning this year after another second-place finish, in the classic Milan-San Remo in March. With his “puncher” profile, Mathieu Burgaudeau’s teammate can surprise on the roads of the Tour, especially the first week when several complicated stages can correspond to his style.

  • The surprise to the general: Gaudu, Martin

According to Yoann Offredo, the essential French rider of this Tour de France is David Gaudu. The proclaimed leader of Groupama FDJ “will have to be followed closely,” according to France Télévisions consultancy.

Despite a serious injury during the second stage of Paris-Nice in March, the Breton achieved good results despite physical problems: a victory in the Tour of the Algarve and a victory in the third stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné that could having allowed him to achieve the final victory, if he had not missed the last stage. 11th overall in 2021 at the Grande Boucle, the top 10 opens its doors to him, because “he has shown that he is capable of winning,” according to Yoann Offredo.

The other fit tricolor runner is Guillaume Martin. With the Cofidis team since 2020, the 28-year-old climber has been achieving results for two years. Best Frenchman in the general classification of the Tour 2021 (8th place) and 2020 (11th place), the Tour of Italy and the Tour de France have been set as his main goals for the 2022 season. Is to aim for the classification overall, it corresponds to my qualities of regularity and endurance ”, he confided in January.

With a 14th place finish in the Giro in May, for his first participation, the first climber of the Cofidis, however, showed some defects. “I would say that at the Giro I sometimes sinned by excessive ardor and impatience. So for the Tour, I remember the importance of patience in a Grand Tour ”, the pilot told Velo101 in mid-June.

For the past two years he has almost always faced Tour de France leaders in the mountain stages, but he will also have to rely on a Cofidis team in good shape if he wants to wait for a podium.

See also The HuffPost: on the Tour de France, the Jumbo-Visma t-shirt will be literally a work of art

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