Article submitted by Twitter user @cyclingbolar

Let’s take time to look at the best young rider. This classification is wide open, but if you do a process of elimination on logic, you can easily narrow it down.

For starters you have neo-pros, then you have riders working for their GC guys and then you have riders with free roles who are going for stage wins, but could get in enough winning breaks to get the jersey.

Egan Bernal

Age: 21
Nationality: Colombian
Team: Sky
Best TDF Performance: Debut
Best Grand Tour Performance: Debut
Odds: $2.30

It’s no surprise to see Egan Bernal the favourite. The neo-pro has burst onto the scene this year with 6th in the Tour Down Under, winner of Colombia Oro y Paz and Tour of California and 2nd in the Tour de Romandie.

The Tour de France wasn’t originally on his schedule – it was put on after the solid form he has had this year. But, he won’t be winning this jersey.

Factor 1: His age and a heavy program
Factor 2: He is not high up in the Sky hierachy
Factor 3: He will be working hard for Froome then Thomas if Froome falters then Poels if Poels falters.

I don’t think he can handle a three week race yet. He should finish, but he will soft pedal a lot of days when he isn’t needed. Based on all above, logic suggests he shouldn’t win it.

Pierre Latour 

Age: 24
Nationality: French
Team: Ag2r La Mondiale
Best TDF Performance: 29th (2017)
Best Grand Tour Performance: 28th (2016 Veulta a Espana)
Odds: $3.20

To win the jersey this year I think you need to finish between 15-30. Latour is in this range. He’s finished top 30 in both Grand Tour’s he has ridden. He is working for Romain Bardet but looking at the team Ag2r are sending, he is going to be Bardet’s last man. He is a quality climber and he shouldn’t fall off too much when Bardet takes over in the mountains. He should be able to limit his losses well. He should probably be favourite but the next rider will be tough to beat.

He has had a solid year with 3rd in Catalunya, 8th in Romandie and 7th in the Dauphine.

Guillaume Martin 

Age: 25
Nationality: French
Team: Wanty – Groupe Gobert
Best TDF Performance: 23rd (2017)
Best Grand Tour Performance: See above
Odds: $7

Martin has finished 2nd higher than the contenders in a grand tour, and he should be able to go better than his 23rd last year.

Earlier in the year he won the Circuit Cycliste Sarth and most recently was 12th in the Dauphine.

He is riding on his own here and is looking to finish as high as possible. Stage 9 is going to be a worry and he might end up being too far down that he will hunt for stage wins, but if he finds himself in a good spot between all of the white jersey contenders after that stage, I think he is the one to beat.

David Gaudu

Age: 21
Nationality: French
Team: Groupama FDJ
Best TDF Performance: Debut
Best Grand Tour Performance: Debut
Odds: $13

I have written off Bernal being a neo-pro and a heavy schedule and I will do the same here. Even though he is going to see how high he finishes, I can’t see him finishing top 30. He will end up chasing stages I think.

Marc Soler 

Age: 24
Nationality: Spanish
Team: Movistar
Best TDF Performance: Debut
Best Grand Tour Performance: 48th (2017 Vuelta a Espana)
Odds: $12

Soler has had a rock solid year. He won Paris-Nice and was 5th in Catalunya. He showed his form is good with a 16th in the Dauphine so he should have a good race. There is one problem though – his team.

He will be working hard for Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa. That puts him out of contention. Unless they all crash out and he finds himself leading, I just don’t see how he is going to win this jersey.

Tiesj Benoot 

Age: 24
Nationality: Belgian
Team: Lotto Soudal
Best TDF Performance: 20th (2017)
Best Grand Tour Performance: See above
Odds: $15

Benoot has finished the best out of everyone in a grand tour, but he is not riding for GC. With that said, he still can’t be discounted. Reason is stage 9. He is a classics rider and he can handle cobbles so you would think he is going to finish high on that stage. Then if he is close enough on GC, they may not let him in breaks so he could actually be fighting for this jersey after all even though that is not his preference – he said he is not after GC and is hunting stages. With that said and that being his mindset he will lose time on one of the mountain stages so he should get his wish. I don’t see him winning this.

Daniel Martinez

Age: 22
Nationality: Colombian
Team: EF Education First Drapac p/b Cannondale
Best TDF Performance: Debut
Best Grand Tour Performance: 89th (2016 Giro d’Italia)
Odds: $17

Martinez has had a rock solid year. 5th in Colombia Oro y Paz, 7th in Catalunya, 12th in Romandie and most recently 3rd in California.

Martinez is riding for Rigoberto Uran so depending on form, he could be in contention here. Looking at the team, chances are like Latour, he is going to be the last man for Uran. If he is, then he could do enough to hold on when he is dropped. I think he is a legitimate contender.

Antwan Tolhoek

Age: 24
Nationality: Dutch
Team: Lotto NL Jumbo
Best TDF Performance: Debut
Best Grand Tour Performance: 28th (2017 Vuelta a Espana)
Odds: $41

Tolhoek’s best result this year was 11th in the Criterium du Dauphine. That was a good result for him. He was attacking a lot and showed a lot of promise. After his 28th in the Vuelta last year you would think he is a good chance of bettering that result here.

He will be riding in support of Steven Kruijswijk and Primoz Roglic. The former will be riding GC and the latter hunting stages, but like Martinez and Latour, he’s going to be in that position where he will be last rider for Kruijswijk. Lotto NL Jumbo have the better TTT team than EF Education First Drapac p/b Cannondale and may have a slight advantage over Ag2r and he should get through the cobbles so if he is best placed out of all 3 heading into the Alps, then game on.

Gianni Moscon 

Age: 24
Nationality: Italian
Team: Sky
Best TDF Performance: Debut
Best Grand Tour Performance: 27th (2017 Vuelta a Espana)
Odds: $151

I will call it now. Moscon will finish higher than Bernal. Whether or not it’s enough to be the best young rider is another story, but he could be a good chance here.

What he has on everyone else here is his team. Sky will probably win the TTT so he will have a buffer over everyone else. Then he is a classics rider and good on the cobbles so you think he would increase his lead there. He should be leading this classification after stage 9.

Then it all goes down to the mountains and how he limits his losses compared to the others. Whilst working for leaders, he is not high up in the hierarchy so he will burn his matches early and that gives the advantage to the other riders who will be last man for their leaders. But whilst he is not that, you would think in the mountain stages that Kwiatkowski, Castroviejo and Rowe will be burnt before Moscon and Bernal. If Moscon is ahead of Bernal in that position, he can limit his losses enough to stay in contention for the jersey.

Apart from Latour, what Moscon has on everyone else is his time trialing ability. The final time trial suits him and he could put in a solid time and that could be the difference after the three weeks.

Predictions

  1. Guillaume Martin (16th Overall)
  2. Pierre Latour (19th Overall)
  3. Gianni Moscon (23rd Overall)

 

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