This year’s Tour of Britain breaks some rules. It features an uphill finish, possibly the queen stage, on day one, with the drive to Glenshee Ski Centre, ending with a fairly steep 3km climb.
This can nip the race in the bud on the first day, or cause the need to attack later; It can be both ways. And it ends with another short sharp effort towards the Needles on the Isle of Wight. On the way between those two points (and making a refreshing foray into Yorkshire), the race offers its usual mix of set sprints and shock finishes.
The list of departures has grown in recent years. The upcoming World Road Championships in Australia may have forced some to revise their copy. But the teams and riders starting the race will see it as a great opportunity to claim victory in an event that has grown in recent years to become a race only won by the best in the world.
Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers)
One name stands above all others, and we eagerly await your arrival. For Tom Pidcock, next week could be another big milestone in a career that charts so many paths that it’s hard to tell where it’s headed. Is it X-Cross, MTB, classics, stage wins or general classification? Did you rule out BMX?
The course suits him well, the team around him seems solid. He must surely enter the race as the favorite and yet at the senior level he has yet to prove himself in terms of overall ranking potential. Under-23 victories at the Tour d’Alsace and the Baby Giro suggest Pidcock can devote himself to the sometimes sterile discipline of floor racing.
But winning the Tour of Britain, after Mathieu van der Poel, Julian Alaphilippe and Wout van Aert, seems like the next logical step.
Dylan Teuns (Israel-First Tech)
The prolific Belgian is very well suited to the Tour of Britain, its wild and wet conditions, forceful climbs and unforgiving nature.
No longer wearing Bahrain Victorious red, Teuns joined the Israel-Premier Tech team on a two-and-a-half-year mid-season deal. This is his first race for his new team. His form is good, if not stellar. He may have been a bit understated in the Tour de France. But before that, he had won the Tour de Romandie, on very Tour of Britain terrain, and won the Flèche Wallonne. So many good signs that his form is not far off and his kind is permanent.
The strength and relative inexperience of his squad is debatable, but he will be motivated to get off to the best possible start with his new team, and to prove to the Belgium coaches that they made a careless mistake for the upcoming World Championships.
The Tour of Britain is one of the few one-week stage races that a rider like Teuns can seriously aim for in the general classification. But he has already done it before, in Wallonia, Poland and Norway.
Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe)
The Austrian national champion was in action on the recent Deutschland Tour, supporting unimpressive local hero Emmanuel Buchmann. I couldn’t help but think that this allegiance to the German rider was misplaced and that Großschartner might have been the man for the job.
The 28-year-old has already won the Tour of Turkey, when it was still a WorldTour race, moving to the top of the overall standings by beating Remco Evenepoel, still a teenager, on the snowy Kartepe climb. But he also raced to second behind teammate Sam Bennett in a rolling finish.
He is very versatile, which is what you have to be in this race. Not only that, but his team is arguably the strongest in the race, with the likes of Max Schachmann, Lukas Pöstlberger, the tireless Nils Politt and Marco Haller (who recently beat Wout van Aert in the sprint during the Bemer Cyclassics). ). ).
Anthony Charmig (Team One-X Pro Cycling)
After the season we’ve had, you can’t have a list of favorites without including a Dane. I chose Anthon Charmig partly because of his nationality, partly because of his form and partly because of his team.
Races like the Tour of Britain, with a relatively small presence on the World Tour, represent a huge opportunity for a team like Uno-X, which is still suffering from not being selected for the Tour.
They are extremely ambitious, very well trained and organized. And at Charmig they have a broker knocking on the door of even greater things. The nature of the Tour of Britain climbs will suit him perfectly.
In 2022 he tasted victory for the first time at the Tour of Oman, where he edged out Jan Hirt and outclassed Fausto Masnada and Rui Costa to win on a climb. It could be very dangerous, if your form is good.
Thomas Gloag (Trinity Racing)
Tom Gloag leaves Trinity Racing to join Jumbo-Visma next year. They know a good runner when they see one. Other Londoners (watch out for Oscar Nilsson-Julien), like Fred Wright and Ethan Hayter, are definitely a man apart.
Stranded in Gran Canaria when the pandemic arrived in 2020, and unable to return home, he flew to Colombia where he remained, at the age of 18, for months training with Esteban Chaves. He came back changed.
He is a climber, although his recent victory in the Tour de l’Avenir was the result of a two-man sprint on a flat and undulating stage. It will be interesting to see how he approaches this year’s race, having raced aggressively, if a bit recklessly, in last year’s edition.
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