It’s time for the Tour de France
We’re bringing eight riders from eight different nationalities to the world’s greatest bike race
It’s time for the Tour de France.
As French families head for the beaches of the Côte d’Azur and to campsites high in the Pyrénées and Alps, they will follow the news of their country’s summer spectacle, gathering around TV sets in sweltering bars and reading day-old newspapers or Insta-updates under their sun umbrellas. Americans will rise at dawn to watch the final kilometres of each stage, while Australians wait late into the night to see who will wear the yellow jersey. People from all over the world will camp by the side of French roads and party together long after the peloton has passed. The Tour de France now belongs to you, too. It is the vital side story to your summer holidays.
We’re excited to announce the riders for us that will star in one of summer’s classic traditions: Rigoberto Uran, Neilson Powless, Magnus Cort-Nielsen, Jonas Rutsch, Stefan Bissegger, Ruben Guerreiro, and Owain Doull will race Le Tour for EF Education-EasyPost.
For our riders, the Tour de France will be anything but a vacation. For 21 days, on a 3,328-kilometre race course, they will sweat to dizzying heights up France’s highest cols and throw themselves into mad sprints for the finish line, pushing their bodies to the limits of human endurance, as they try to win stages and pull on cycling’s greatest prize: the maillot jaune.
They are eight riders from eight different nationalities. Ever since they were little kids, they have dreamed of racing onto the Champs Elysées in Paris. We asked them about their ambitions for this year’s race and what Le Tour means to them.
"To win stages at the Tour is on a different level to anything else you can do in cycling. It means a lot just to be selected and going, especially this year when the Tour is starting in Denmark. It is probably the only race where you really count how many times you have been there and have finished. It’s not my first time going, but as a small kid, like most other Danes, I just followed the Tour on the TV during the summer holidays. I didn’t know anything about cycling, but watched the Tour every summer. It is pretty crazy to think back to that eight-year-old, myself, sitting there looking at all the bike riders, and now I am actually the one inside the television, riding the Tour de France in my home country."
"The best riders are here. The teams come prepared with everything, the new material, the new bikes. Everybody is focused on the Tour de France. You see the new developments. All the world is watching. The level is super high. Every stage is hard. The riders, the masseurs, the mechanics — everyone is focused and nervous for 21 days. Every second is important. It is nice. It is very different, starting in Denmark and not in France is something different, but especially here it is nice because there are many fans in Denmark. We take it day by day. It is one month. You need to stay first lucky and then healthy. You make a strategy, but must take it day by day. The most important thing is to sleep well."
"When I think about the Tour de France, I just think of the highest level of competition and just a race filled with athletes who have dedicated their lives to becoming as fit as possible and showing that along the countryside in France for the world to see. It is a pretty massive sporting event that crosses a pretty large area of space in France. It reaches a lot of people, which is really cool. The influence that it has is pretty massive, over the whole globe, which is pretty unique, and not a lot of people get to compete in an event like that, which is pretty exciting."
"Tour de France for me is the biggest race of the year. It is a big goal for the season. The Tour is the race where all of the teams put in the most effort. The best riders in the world are at the Tour de France, so it is a big show, so I really want to win a stage in this Tour de France. That is why I worked so hard, even if I had some trouble during the season with COVID and so on, but I am confident now after the Tour de Suisse. The team is really ambitious for the GC with the stage racers, and we will try to win a couple of stages. I worked hard for this event. I know it, because I have done it already three times, but I am really looking forward to the race."
"I have great memories from last year. It is the biggest bike race in the world, the one I am always looking forward to. I always hope that I will be selected, and I managed to get selected. I am just really excited to see what comes next. I love the whole history of the race, how well prepared the riders are every year, and the whole atmosphere."
"It feels amazing to be here after all the bad things I had in the last few weeks with COVID and having to leave the Tour de Suisse. It feels amazing to be here and be ready to race. The Tour de France is the biggest race of them all, so it is always nice to be a part of. I remember watching a mountain stage on TV and then later we went with the family to Alpe d’Huez. I’m definitely looking forward to it."
"The Tour de France is the race that made me a rider. I was young and watching the Tour de France and imagined, dreamed to one day ride the Tour. It is my favorite race. I think it is the race that motivated me to be a professional rider. My ambition is now bigger. With this team I have the opportunity to ride and arrive here in the best condition and now I hope to win something. It is a big achievement, a big honor to make my dream come true. Last year was my first one. This year is my second one. Last year, I didn’t win anything, but I was there, and this year I want to win something."
It’s a childhood dream. This is my first Tour, so I don’t know what to expect. Watching the Tour is my earliest memory of cycling. I think it probably means the same to every person who starts the Tour, whether it is their first or their tenth. It is the biggest race in cycling and I can’t wait to be a part of it. Even before I got into cycling, ITV used to show the Tour and I would always watch the highlights package in the evening. There is no other bike race where you know the theme tune. I remember watching that and every day they would do a round-up of how the British riders were getting on and it was in smaller numbers then. I can’t wait to get stuck into it.