Tour de France 2020: the best and worst for the favorites

The route of the next Grande Boucle consists mainly of high mountains. Pure climbers will have a clear advantage.


The 2020 Tour de France was presented last Tuesday at the Palais des Congrès in Paris in true Vuelta a España style. And that can only mean one thing: mountains, lots of mountains from beginning to end. In an edition that is expected to be very demanding and in which Egan Bernal defends the title, what aspects of the route benefit and harm the favorites? We review it below.

Egan Bernal (Colombia, 22 years old)

Advantages. The current winner of the Tour de France will have a route in 2020 very favorable to his characteristics as a climber. With a total of 10 high mountain stages, the Colombian has a Tour tailor-made for him since, in these circumstances, he already proved to be the strongest throughout the 2019 season. There will not even be an individual flat time trial, but this will be the penultimate day in La Planche des Belles Filles, in the form of a time-scale. Having a team like Ineos, with the capacity to cover you in all areas, also favors you.

Disadvantages. The mid-mountain stages can give you some problems from a tactical point of view, with more distant attacks from your rivals, but with the teammates you have at your side you should not have too many problems. For Egan, avoiding falls and setbacks in the flat stages will be key to be able to attack in the blocks of the Alps and Pyrenees. His physical condition also leaves doubts after the back problems that made him leave the Dauphiné.

Primoz Roglic (Slovenia, 29 years old)

Disadvantages. The Slovenian will have to take another step in his level shown so far in his participation in the Tour if he wants to aspire to the maximum. Especially on a route that a priori shows more disadvantages for him than advantages. There is no fight against the clock except for the time trial of La Planche on stage 20, and taking into account its proximity to the end, the climbers and those runners who arrive with better strength will be the ones who start with an advantage over the pure time trialists. Roglic's response to 10 high mountain days is a mystery and that is a facet that he will have to improve if he does not want the last week to take its toll as it did in the last Giro d'Italia. Nor does he arrive in the best physical condition after his fall in Dauphiné. "I was hoping to be better," admitted the Slovenian a week before the start in Nice.

Advantages. The powerful block of the Jumbo-Visma that he will have behind him will rival that of Ineos and will be for Roglic a life insurance in difficult moments. On flat and mid-mountain stages, the Slovenian defends himself like a fish in water, so in steep arrivals he can prevail over the rest of the favorites thanks to his top speed.

Thibaut Pinot (France, 29 years old)

Advantages. If misfortunes in the form of falls or injuries do not prevent it, Thibaut Pinot has before him the best chance to win the Tour de France in his professional career. The Frenchman has improved his benefits year after year and in the mountains, as he showed in the last Tour, it is life insurance. The tough and demanding route favors him, because if the Frenchman stands out for something, it is because of his ability as a great long distance runner, always going from less to more in the three-week rounds. The shortage of kilometers against the clock is also going well, as well as the profile of the time-climb in La Planche, especially because it finishes high and does not have descent.

Disadvantages. This facet, despite improving it to a great extent in recent years, is still its weak point, so you should be especially attentive on the descents between so many passes that you will have to overcome in the 10 high mountain days of the route. In the flat stages where so much nervousness is generated, you will also have to take a step forward so that this 2019 does not happen, when you lost more than two minutes because of being cut off.Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands, 28 years old)

Disadvantages. The Dutchman will make his first big lap in the ranks of the Jumbo-Visma, sharing the leadership with Primoz Roglic and the same drawbacks on the route: there is no time trial. The great specialty of Dumoulin, one of the dominators of the discipline in recent years, is conspicuous by its absence in the 2020 Tour. The La Planche time-trial favors him, but it remains to be seen if he arrives with options to qualify for a good position in the general in stage 20. And the fact is that Tom has practically not appeared in competition this season due to a knee injury, a factor that does not invite optimism. Returning to top competition in such a demanding Tour de France may not be the best thing for him in order to recover his best version.

Advantages. The ports of this edition are mostly long, with less average unevenness than others more typical of the Giro d'Italia or the Vuelta a España (shorter and more explosive). That's an advantage for its climbing characteristics, diesel climber and less ability to enter changes of pace. On the Tour, where he already knows what it's like to get on the podium, he defends himself well in his mountains.

Juian Alaphilippe (France, 27 years old)

Disadvantages. The Frenchman has won his own right to enter the range of candidates to win the Tour de France, although it is true that on paper he does not have the same options as most favorites. Among the most obvious reasons are its calendar (it wears a lot in the spring classics), the lack of a competitive team for the grand tours and its endurance capacity to withstand three tough weeks of competition. Despite taking a step forward as he demonstrated in the last Tour, Julian is long on the big laps and he suffers in the high mountains more than other pure climbers.

Advantages. The mid-mountain stages with high-explosive finishes will be another edition, the most favorable of the route for him, without ruling out the La Planche time-trial, a facet in which we saw him improve greatly in the last year with his victory in the chrono of the last gala round before a specialist like Geraint Thomas. And pay attention on the descents, because more than one mountain stage ends with a long descent and there Alaphilippe has an extraordinary technique. Few in the squad beat him.

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