The Tour de France is right around the corner, so it’s important to refamiliarise ourselves with the 23 teams taking part.
Along with the 19 WorldTeams from the sport’s top tier, there will be four invited wildcard teams, drawn from the next tier down.
Along with star riders, memorable moments and racing style of each team, we’ll also be telling you which icy refreshment they most resemble…
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Ah, refreshing! De Clercq, Cavgana, Gaviria and Serry enjoy some icy refreshmemts
Image credit: Getty Images
AG2R La Citroën
- Star Rider: Golden Greg van Avermaet
- Memorable Moment: Bardet’s breakthrough in 2016 when he notched second overall. In retrospect, it was all downhill from there but at the time it all felt so hopeful.
- Racing Style: These days they’re a classics team good at getting top tens but not-winning. Hard to see much success for them this year in Le Tour.
- Icy Refreshment: Cherry Coke – always sort of ‘there’ in the off-license chiller cabinet, but you never choose it.
- SR: Mighty Mathieu van der Poel
- MM: This is their debut year, would you believe. They are auto-invited as the top-ranked ProTeam.
- RS: Bag a few stage wins with van der Poel then, when he bails early for the Olympics, who knows!
- IR: Fizzy Vimto – not an immediate top tier choice, but a reliable winner.
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- SR: Jakob Fuglsang, on paper at least.
- MM: Contador dropping his own teammate Lance Armstrong in 2009. If you haven’t seen The Armstrong Lie, go watch this immediately.
- RS: The sooner they abandon their GC hopes this year, the more productive their Tour will be. Lutsenko, Fraile and even Aranburu can all deliver stage wins.
- IR: Pepsi Max – you think it’s bad but actually it’s quite good.
- SR: Mikel Landa
- MM: Landa’s panicked face last year as he realised his last domestique was about to pull off and he was about to have to try and drop Pog & Rog.
- RS: They’ve started winning, recently. A lot, actually. It all depends how Landa’s GC goes, but there are a lot of stage wins in this for them.
- IR: Original Magnum – dependable but ultimately a little disappointing.
- SR: Peter Sagan. You know, Peter Sagan.
- MM: Sagan’s seven swashbuckling green jersey wins on Tinkoff, which then morphed into Bora.
- RS: Win the green jersey in the mountains. Intermediate sprint points for days. Also, Wilco Keldermann?
- IR: Lilt – used to be totally dominant in the summer time, but now a slightly fading force?
B&B Hotels p/b KTM
- SR: Pierre Rolland / Bryan Coquard
- MM: Last year at the height of ‘the BLM summer’ Kevin Reza became the focus of cycling’s own grapple with racial inequality.
- RS: Breakaway fodder, with Bryan Coquard for the sprints.
- IR: Appletiser – dark green, kinda tasty, but you’re never going to pick it as part of your meal deal.
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Cofidis, Solutions Credits
- SR: Guillaume Martin, philosopher, athlete, sneaky GC candidate.
- MM: They are and always will be the team after which the sport’s most notorious doping scandal was named.
- RS: Prove we’re 100% clean now by absolutely never winning anything.
- IR: Fab lolly – old school, low-budget, red and white.
- SR: Julian Alaphilippe, but also, maybe – whisper it – Mark Cavendish!
- MM: They’ve had some corkers, but Mark Cavendish crashing out of the grand départ in Yorkshire during his first stint with the team takes some topping.
- RS: Stage wins, the green jersey, but also at least six days in yellow with Julian ‘The Last Musketeer’ Alaphilippe.
- IR: Cornetto – various flavours, but all reliable winners
EF Education First NIPPO
- SR: Rigoberto Uran, coming in hot for a GC tilt after strong Suisse showing.
- MM: That time in 2017 when Rigo won a stage despite only having two gears for the last 10km.
- RS: Super-strong Colombians backed by a phalanx of cheerful North Americans. Fun!
- IR: Panda Pop Cherry flavour – bright pink, absolutely buzzing with EF numbers.
- SR: Fastman Arnaud Démare, good shot at the green jersey.
- MM: Thibaut Pinot climbing off in 2019, when he was absolutely 100% gonna win – what a sickener…
- RS: Latterly GC, but this year without Pinot you’d imagine sprintin’ and stage huntin’.
- IR: Orangina – bicycle racing teams simply don’t get Frencher than this..
- SR: Throw a stone in the team bus and you’ll hit one. Richie Porte, Richard Carapaz, Geraint Thomas… even Tao Geoghegan Hart could win.
- MM: Gosh. Wiggins in ’12, or one of the other six years they’ve won the bloody thing?
- RS: Crush. Kill. Destroy.
- IR: Feast Ice Cream – your dad’s favourite.
Intermarché Wanty Gobert
- SR: Louis Mientjes, South African former starlet who has struggled to reach his potential.
- MM: Guillaume van Keirsbulck’s solo, 190km breakaway in 2017. Memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.
- RS: Since stepping up to WorldTour, they might be less inclined to act as pack-filler, but it’s hard to see where a win will come from.
- IR: Twister ice lolly – green and white, surprisingly good
Israel StartUp Nation
- SR: Until quite extremely recently, Chris Froome.
- MM: They signed Froome on a mahoosive contract to help them try and be competitive at Le Tour, and that has not gone well for them.
- RS: Up until this year, stage hunting, but the team says they are putting their weight behind Mike Woods for the GC, after Froome failed to make the grade in time.
- IR: Tap water – plain, functional, ultimately uninspiring.
- SR: Primož Roglič, he used to be a ski jumper.
- MM: Losing the Tour in 2020 on the very last day may just become this generations unforgettable ‘Lemond-Fignon’ moment.
- RS: Tenderise the enemy with Wout, obliterate them with Primož. Big money, serious faces.
- IR: Fruit Pastilles lolly – simple, effective, conservative, gets the job done.
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- SR: Caleb Ewan, the pocket rocket.
- MM: Thomas De Gendt on the Ventoux in 2016, and Thomas De Gendt in every Le Tour breakaway since.
- RS: This is fundamentally a sprinting team that’ll try and take opportunities when not protecting Ewan.
- IR: Diet Coke – a zippy caffeine hit, always in and around the top three.
- SR: Marc Soler, finally emerges from the shadow of the infamous ‘trident’.
- MM: Big Mig Indurain won five Tours in a row when this team was called Banesto. That was in the ‘90s.
- RS: Internecine leadership squabbles. Dominate the team classification.
- IR: Bitter Kas – very popular in Spain but not appreciated much elsewhere, very bitter aftertaste.
Team Arkea Samsic
- SR: Somehow, inexplicably, Nairo Quintana…
- MM: 2020’s odd couple pairing of flatland bodyguard Brit, Conor Swift, and diminutive Colombian climber, Quintana, really warmed the heart. Beyond that, there aren’t many memories to choose from.
- RS: Top names like Warren Barguil and Quintana might be able to deliver a result in the mountains. It’ll be interesting to see if Nacer Bouhanni is selected given his travails this year.
- IR: Fanta Lemon – ignore at your peril, it low-key slaps but never gets the plaudits.
- SR: Simon Yates.
- MM: Back when the Aussie franchise was known as Orica, they got their team bus stuck under a finish gantry. Also that time an inflatable kite fell on Adam Yates.
- RS: We’re led to believe Simon Yates will be stage hunting as he prepares for the Olympics, while Michael Matthews might have a shout at the green jersey.
- IR: A good old 99 ice cream – tasty, but can be a bit flaky.
- SR: Romain Bardet, but they have a real gaggle of strongmen to pick from.
- MM: Had a purple patch in 2013 and 2014 when Marcel Kittel won eight stages of Le Tour, including two wins on the Champs Elysees.
- RS: One of the standout teams of 2020 with their voracious attacking style, which garnered eight podiums, of which three were stage wins.
- IR: McFlurry – one pot, but filled with many swirling and delicious flavours.
- SR: Anthony Turgis, a fierce competitor who could thrive on the toughest classics-style days.
- MM: Way back when they were known as Europcar, Thomas Voeckler’s unbelievable ten-day stint in the maillot jaune in 2011 sent France into raptures. It’s never got as good since.
- RS: Put a man in the breakaway, erry damn day. Change the kit right before the race and annoy some print journalists.
- IR: Irn Bru – a little bit nostalgic, and passionately loved by its devotees.
Team Qhubeka Assos
- SR: Have been very coy about exactly who they’re sending, but Fabio Aru is on their team roster and who could forget his iconic, short-lived surprise attacks of yesteryear?
- MM: Hard to look past Steve Cummings on Mandela Day in 2015. Pure goosebumps, the very best of sport.
- RS: Operating on a fraction of the other WorldTeams’ budgets, they continuously manage to deliver the results.
- IR: Mini Milk – they don’t cost much and everybody loves ‘em.
- SR: Vincenzo Nibali, one of three past-winners of Le Tour on the start list.
- MM: After John Degenkolb’s win on the Roubaix stage in 2018 there weren’t many dry eyes in the house.
- RS: After a magical year in which Richie Porte rode to the podium, the team is now Porte-less – and looking down the barrel of a threadbare month in France unless they can magic up some reduced-bunch finishes for Stuyven & Theuns.
- IR: Amaretto & Coke – classic American, with a big slug of Italian flavour.
A Coca-Cola support vehicle in the 2002 Tour de France. Amaretto not pictured.
Image credit: Getty Images
UAE Team Emirates
- SR: Tadej Pogačar, the champ.
- MM: Oh I don’t know, how about winning the Tour de France?
- RS: Last year Pogačar kinda snuck under the radar a little, but he won’t get the chance to do that twice. They’ve spent big to bolster their Tour squad.
- IR: San Pellegrino Aranciata flavour – more money than they know what to do with.
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