Stalwart French battlers celebrated for wearing brown shorts who hired a host of multinational talent after their stalwart Romain Bardet left for DSM. This paid off last year when Ben O’Connor won the stage to Tignes and placed fourth overall. Behind the Aussie, however, they lack strength in depth.
Team Geoffrey Bouchard, Mikaël Cherel, Benoit Cosnefroy, Stan Dewulf, Bob Jungels, Oliver Naesen, Ben O’Connor, Aurélien Paret-Peintre.
Main man Ben O’Connor – talented climber who must prove last year’s fourth was no fluke.
Second-division Dutch squad who punch far above their budget, thanks to the no-holds-barred racing style of Mathieu van der Poel, the most popular cyclist on the circuit. They won two of the first three stages and held the yellow jersey in 2021; this year, they bring sprinter Jasper Philipsen alongside VDP.
Team Mathieu van der Poel, Silvan Dillier, Michael Gogl, Alexander Krieger, Jasper Philipsen, Edward Planckaert, Kristian Sbaragli, Guillaume van Keirsbulck.
Main man Mathieu van der Poel – a stage win and yellow last year. Great things expected 12 months on.
This French division-two team has plenty of potential for a stage win, with the former King of the Mountains Warren Barguil, the evergreen Colombian champion Nairo Quintana and the Belgian sprinter Amaury Capiot. The British strongman Connor Swift will support his leaders on the flat and probably infiltrate a break somewhere in his own right.
Team Warren Barguil, Maxime Bouet, Amaury Capiot, Hugo Hofstetter, Matîs Louvel, Lukasz Owsian, Nairo Quintana, Connor Swift
Main man Nairo Quintana – 2015 Giro winner is long in the tooth but can still shine in the mountains.
The squad flying the Kazakh flag produced one of the worst team raps ever over the winter, and changed the spelling of its name by substituting Qs for Ks. That’s as exciting as this squad gets; they will figure in breaks and hope for a stage win from Dombrowski or Lutsenko but don’t expect any drama.
Team Jo Dombrowski, Fabio Felline, Dimitri Gruzdev, Alexei Lutsenko, Gianni Moscon, Alexei Riabushenko, Simone Velasco, Andrei Zeits.
Main man Alexey Lutsenko – the Kazakh came a stealthy seventh last year and could make the top 10 again.
Several potential stage winners here – Caruso, Haig, Mohoric, Teuns and Wright – but the big question is whether Caruso can replicate his form at last year’s Giro, where he came second and won a stage. Haig is a talented climber, while Mohoric and Teuns have landed Tour stages in the past, and Wright is due a major win.
Team Damiano Caruso, Kamil Gradek, Jack Haig, Matej Mohoric, Luis León Sánchez, Dylan Teuns, Jan Tratnik, Fred Wright.
Main man Damiano Caruso – consistent Italian climber who finished second in last year’s Giro d’Italia, and 10th in the 2020 Tour.
Flyweight French team whose poor results this season earned them a hairdrying from management recently. That doesn’t bode well for the Tour, where they will figure in breaks and vie for the mountains prize when the big boys aren’t too bothered. A stage win would be a miracle but the race visits Lourdes so they can hope.
Team Cyril Barthe, Franck Bonnamour, Alexis Gougeard, Jérémy Lecroq, Cyril Lemoine, Luca Mozzato, Pierre Rolland, Sebastian Schönberger.
Main man Pierre Rolland. Ageing climber and non-stop attacker who is in decent form and will target the mountains prize.
Australian flagship deep in the WorldTour relegation quagmire, and without top climber Simon Yates. If Dylan Groenewegen can secure a fifth career stage win in a sprint and Michael Matthews gets moving in the hills, they are looking at a good Tour. If either of the pair has issues, however, there is little firepower to fall back on.
Team Jack Bauer, Luke Durbridge, Dylan Groenewegen, Amund Grøndahl Jansen, Christopher Juul Jensen, Michael Matthews, Luka Mezgec, Nick Schultz.
Main man Dylan Groenewegen – Dutch sprinter back from a ban in 2020-21, now flat stage favourite.
Last-minute decision to drop former green jersey winner Sam Bennett in favour of a full-on GC challenge with dark horse Russian Aleksandr Vlasov – riding the Tour as a neutral – has raised eyebrows, especially as Vlasov is getting over Covid. The decision is inspired by Bora’s perfectly calculated Giro win with Jai Hindley; they are thinking medium term about preparing to launch the Aussie on the Tour. Schachmann, Konrad and Kämna are all capable of stage wins as well as support roles.
Team Marco Haller, Lennard Kämna, Patrick Konrad, Felix Großschartner, Nils Politt, Max Schachmann, Danny van Poppel, Aleksandr Vlasov.
Main man Aleksandr Vlasov. Winner of the Tours of Valencia and Romandie this season, and could well have won Switzerland had he stayed Covid free.
Guillaume Martin is a potential top 10 finisher, while there are several outside hopes for stage wins – Lafay, Thomas, Walscheid – even with Bryan Coquard out due to Covid. Plenty of individual talent for the flat and the mountains but it will take careful management to ensure they work in unison. If there isn’t goal clarity and role clarity, it could all get rather tense.
Team Pierre-Luc Périchon, Simon Geschke, Ion Izagirre, Victor Lafay, Guillaume Martin, Anthony Perez, Benjamin Thomas, Max Walscheid.
Main man Guillaume Martin – consistent French climber who now needs to make the jump from top 10 to top six.
The German team shone in 2020 with three stage wins but fell apart in 2021. Their best chance for a stage win is Romain Bardet, who was a contender in the Giro but dropped out with illness. They have a strong lineup behind the Frenchman, so will target their days and try to ensure they get several riders in the key moves.
Team Romain Bardet, Alberto Dainese, John Degenkolb, Nils Eekhoff, Chris Hamilton, Andreas Leknessund, Martijn Tusvveld, Kevin Vermaerke.
Main man Romain Bardet – French former podium finisher back to his best and looking for a stage.
Multiple stage win hopes for America’s finest, beginning on Friday with time trialist Bissegger. Urán’s past Grand Tour record makes him the nominal leader but Powless is the man in form. Cort nailed three stages in the Vuelta last year while past Giro stage winners Guerriero and Bettiol could also get their chance.
Team Alberto Bettiol, Stephen Bissegger, Magnus Cort, Owain Doull, Ruben Guerriero, Neilson Powless, Jonas Rutsch, Rigoberto Urán.
Main man Rigoberto Urán – it’s five years since the Colombian finished second in the Tour; a stage win will suffice.
Uber French team run by mercurial Marc Madiot have sidelined sprinter Arnaud Démare and pinned their hopes on young climber David Gaudu backed by the fragile but talented Thibaut Pinot. Half of France will reckon this is a cunning plan to take the pressure off Pinot, finally back at the Tour after a nightmare in 2020.
Team Antoine Duchesne, David Gaudu, Kevin Geniets, Olivier le Gac, Stefan Küng, Valentin Madouas, Thibaut Pinot, Michael Storer.
Main man David Gaudu – supported Pinot in 2019 and finally gets his chance.
Belgian squad that has progressed from plucky underdogs to mid-table contenders in four Tours. Quadruple sprint stage winner Kristoff will relish stage two if the wind howls out of the north, while Meintjes has the climbing ability to finish in the top 10 and Van der Horn can win out of a break.
Team Sven-Erik Bystrøm, Kobe Goossens, Alexander Kristoff, Louis Meintjes, Andrea Pasqualon, Adrien Petit, Taco van der Horn, George Zimmerman.
Main man Alexander Kristoff – veteran Norwegian sprinter at his best on tough windy days.
Big budget, big ambitions, but it’s hard to see them winning the Tour this year. Their three leaders, Thomas, Martínez and Yates, are all strong and talented but none of them is a match for Pogacar head to head. They need to catch the Slovenian napping, using their biggest asset – the incredible talent supporting the lead trio. Riders like Ganna, Pidcock and Van Barle can turn the race on its head if brought into play at the right moment.
Team Jonathan Castroviejo, Filippo Ganna, Dani Martínez, Tom Pidcock, Luke Rowe, Geraint Thomas, Dylan van Baarle, Adam Yates.
Main man Geraint Thomas – last chance for the Welshman but age is not on his side.
A stage-hunting lineup for the hilly days, headed by Danish Classic winner Fuglsang and Canadian mountain man Woods; the others will be tasked with showing their faces in the breaks when they can, while four-times winner Froome’s potential as he rebuilds after his serious crash in 2019 is impossible to read.
Team Simon Clarke, Chris Froome, Jakob Fuglsang, Guillaume Boivin, Hugo Houle, Guy Niv, Krists Neilands, Michael Woods.
Main man Michael Woods – winner of the Route d’Occitanie in mid-June which bodes well for both GC and stages.
The strongest team in the Tour. They have a host of potential stage winners, the strongest all rounder in the world in Wout van Aert – winner of three stages last year – and two overall contenders in Roglic and Vingegaard, who came second in 2021 after Roglic crashed out of the race. Can the Jumbo juggernaut flatten Pogacar? Perhaps, but only if all the key men stay in one piece and everyone plays the team game to perfection.
Team Tiesj Benoot, Steven Kruijswijk, Sepp Kuss, Christophe Laporte, Primoz Roglic, Jonas Vingegaard, Wout van Aert, Nathan van Hooydonck.
Main man Primoz Roglic – Time is running out for Slovenia’s No 2 to finally win the Tour.
The Belgian squad is heavily involved in the relegation battle, they need sprinter Caleb Ewan to add at least a sixth Tour stage to his tally, preferably more. If he flops, Gilbert remains talented in spite of his advanced age, while Kron can finish in the top 15. Realistically though, it’s Ewan or the void.
Team Caleb Ewan, Frederik Frison, Philippe Gilbert, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Andreas Kron, Brent van Moer, Florian Vermeersch, Tim Wellens.
Main man Caleb Ewan – accident-prone Australian who can deliver multiple stages if he stays upright.
Past flirtations with multiple leaders have never quite worked so Spain’s finest are focussed on one man, Enric Mas, who looks to improve on his fifth and sixth places in 2020 and 2021. It’s hard to see him getting near Pogacar, but if he survives the first five days he will fancy his chances for the podium.
Team Imanol Erviti, Gorka Izagirre, Matteo Jorgenson, Enric Mas, Gregor Mühlberger, Nelson Oliveira, Albert Torres, Carlos Verona.
Main man Enric Mas. Young Spaniard with a good deal to do to match Movistar’s stars of the past.
Eyebrows were raised when Mark Cavendish was refused the chance to break Eddy Merckx’s Tour stage win record, in favour of young Dutch sprinter Fabio Jakobsen, the team’s man for the long(er) term. World champion Julian Alaphilippe didn’t make the cut as he is short of fitness following a serious crash, while French champion Florian Sénéchal was called in late for “Tractor” Tim Declercq. Apart from Jakobsen, Italian Mattia Cattaneo will want to build on his 12th place overall of last year.
Team Kasper Asgreen, Andrea Bagioli, Mattia Cattaneo, Yves Lampaert, Mikkel Honoré, Fabio Jakobsen, Michael Mørkøv, Florian Sénéchal.
Main man Fabio Jakobsen. Dutch sprinter back after a life-threatening crash who is making his Tour debut.
The marquee signing Peter Sagan started winning again this June which will have put team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau’s mind at rest. The multiple world champion and Tour points winner will have strong backing from the likes of Oss, Bodnar and Turgis, and if Sagan crosses the line first even once at the Tour, JRB’s decision to splash the cash will be justified.
Team Edvald Boasson-Hagen, Maciej Bodnar, Mathieu Burgaudeau, Pierre-Roger Latour, Daniel Oss, Peter Sagan, Anthony Turgis, Alexis Vuillermoz.
Main man Peter Sagan – ageing Slovak superstar who may be coming to form at just the right time.
Multinational multitalented squad, headed by strong Dutchman Bauke Mollema, who climbs like a nodding dog but is a reliable stage winner. Mads Pedersen will figure in the sprints, Stuyven, Skuijns and Ciccone are strong riders for a break, while young American Quinn Simmons is capable of pretty much anything on any terrain.
Team Giulio Ciccone, Tony Gallopin, Alex Kirsch, Bauke Mollema, Mads Pedersen, Quinn Simmons, Toms Skuijns, Jasper Stuyven.
Main man Bauke Mollema – seasoned, cunning stage hunter who will have chances aplenty in the hills.
UAE Team Emirates
There has been serious investment since Pogacar won his first Tour in 2020 and UAE can now field a team that’s stronger than Ineos, and only behind Jumbo-Visma because they are focused on one individual while the Dutch have three leaders. Bennett, Majka, Soler and McNulty will be a force in the mountains while Bjerg, Hirschi and Stake Laengen can shepherd the young prodigy on the flat. If they all stay healthy, “Pog” has every chance of sweeping to his third Tour win.
Team George Bennett, Mikkel Bjerg, Marc Hirschi, Vegard Stake Laengen, Rafal Majka, Brandon McNulty, Tadej Pogacar, Marc Soler.
Main man Tadej Pogacar. Flying Slovenian who is hot favourite for a Tour hat-trick at just 23.
The relegation issue
With only the best 18 teams in the UCI’s rankings set to receive a coveted WorldTour slot in 2023 – guaranteeing them entry to major races including the Tour – a raft of squads will start this year’s Tour knowing that a good race will save their bacon and a poor Tour could mean disaster. As of 21 June, there were six teams involved in cycling’s first relegation battle: Israel-Premiertech, Lotto-Soudal, BikeExchange, EF Education, Movistar and Cofidis; Lotto and Israel-Premiertech were in the “relegation zone” in 19th and 20th place. With, for example, 125 points available for 12th overall in the Tour, that could mean in the final week of the race teams may start to become more interested in consolidating their position in the UCI’s team rankings, to guarantee they take home a certain number of points, than in taking risks which might compromise their future. That in turn could make for more conservative racing. What’s certain is that it will be weighing on many minds and putting pressure on riders and management alike.