Tour de France – Thibaut Pinot, Mathieu Van der Poel and Andreas Kron: the runners to follow this week

Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)

He is one of the great discreet of this Great Departure. If he did the watch thoroughly, it was not enough to offer him the yellow jersey. The Dutchman, however, is not far away (5th to 20 ” from Van Aert) and this could become a goal, as the profile of the stages corresponds to him every day, with the exception of the Super Planche des Belles Filles and, no doubt, of Chatel.

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You shouldn’t see him on the attack every day, but with him the norm is a vague notion that is often rewritten. On the northern cobblestones on Wednesday, Van der Poel will even be the big favorite if Van Aert remembers his collective duties. His main rival could then be the new French champion Florian Sénéchal, who wants to shine in these cobblestones he loves.

Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) during the inaugural time trial of the Tour de France 2022

Credit: Getty Images

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)

Friday will be the most motivated man in the pack. The cobblestone stage has not yet passed but the Franc-Comtois is exactly where I wanted to be before the start: in French territory without having fallen. Officially, Pinot is there to support Gaudu but to see him waste a lot of time in the 5th stage to make the most of Friday to play the victory, at home, in the Super Planche des Belles Fillies, is something irresistible and obvious. . Almost too much. All of France dreams of it. He too. Rest so as not to fall then.

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Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates)

Undoubtedly, his training aims at the final coronation in Paris with Pogacar. But given the course of the Swiss weekend, uninspiring for leaders, the UAE Team Emirates could let the Swiss try to win at home, which is not so common for a Swiss on the Tour. Whether in Lausanne, as a puncher, or in Châtel, a mid-mountain stage he loves, Hirschi can win both days. The legs, in any case, are there (12th in the Tour de Suisse before leaving the race because of Covid) and his delay in the overall classification very consistent (more than 5 minutes). More than enough to have freedom from other formations. His? It is less secure.

Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates)

Credit: Getty Images

Andreas Kron (Lotto Soudal)

Like Marc Hirschi, the Dane would have liked to shine at home but worked for his sprinter Caleb Ewan, without success. The opportunities for sprinters will be much less this week and the chances of getaways much stronger. A scenario that would suit the Dane perfectly, who dreams, as he told VéloFuté in his July magazine, of “win Liege-Bastogne-Liège and a stage of the Tour de France“. An ambition that confirms the punching profile of the Lotto-Soudal driver, which could surprise Longwy but should be found especially at the front towards Lausanne and Châtel. Or even from Calais.

Andreas Kron (Lotto-Soudal) at the head of the peloton, during the 2nd stage of the Tour de France 2022

Credit: Getty Images

Matis Louvel (Arkéa-Samsic)

He’s one of the pilots you’re sure to see at some point. Although he is unlikely to have the freedom to play the cobbled stage, we should at least see him at the head of the peloton, to protect his leader Nairo Quintana. Specialist in cobblestones (top 20 in Ronde and Roubaix), the young Frenchman has a very complete profile, with a good burst of speed, as we observed in Dauphiné. If the cobblestone stage were like 2018, it wouldn’t be weird to see him fight for victory. The Lausanne stage, too hard for a pure sprinter, may also suit him. As long as you have some freedom.

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Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert materials)

In great form in the Dauphiné (6th overall), the South African was, unfortunately, trapped on Sunday by the great fall that cut the peloton in two, yielding 39 ”. Now back in 1’21 ” of the general, even before the cobblestones where he could lose a lot, Meintjes is a very good candidate for next Sunday’s escape, to Châtel. His delay should be enough, except for surprise, for the favorites to let him escape but weak enough to, why not, dream of the yellow shirt. If Pogacar, for example, keeps it after the Super Planche des Belles Filles, he will have all his interest in leaving it to a safe climber for the final victory. And the South African could take advantage.

A clash and the platoon split in two

Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo)

The American is perhaps the youngest rider in this 109th edition, but he is certainly not the least talented. Specialist in getaway and mountain jerseys this season (picked up those from Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Suisse), the one who has barely celebrated his 21st birthday is already participating in his second Grand Tour (Vuelta 2021). On a team without a leader, without a great sprinter either, there should be plenty of opportunities to sneak into the breakaways and the polka dot jersey could quickly become a target for the American again. Although the Trek-Segafredo is still a stage victory.

Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) in the Tyrrhenian-Adriatic 2022

Credit: Getty Images

Andrea Bagioli (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl)

The Longwy and Lausanne stages seemed cut for double world champion Julian Alaphilippe. Not on the Tour de France? No matter, the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl always has a spare card and, at the punch level, this one is called Andrea Bagioli. The young Italian has neither the record nor the explosiveness of his tricolor teammate, but he is still a hellish stinger, able to (almost) compete with Roglic in rugged arrivals of the Vuelta, in Suances in 2020 and in Cullera in 2020. 2021. Enough to make him a candidate for victory at Longwy, especially if the general favorites keep some under the pedal, on the eve of the Super Planche des Belles Filles.

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