On Friday, 176 riders will take part in the Copenhagen time trial to kick off the 2022 Tour de France.
The majority of these men will have already raced the Tour, some more than 10 times like Peter Sagan, Jakob Fuglsang, Geraint Thomas and Philippe Gilbert. But a small group of the peloton will take part in the July Grand Tour for the first time.
Last year, 45 men made their Tour debuts, including runner-up Jonas Vingaard, as well as stage winners Mathieu van der Poel and Tim Merlier.
Eight of the 22 teams have already confirmed their squads for this year’s race, and while the full roster of riders is yet to be confirmed, an additional 40 riders are expected to debut this year.
We’ve taken a look at the list of confirmed and expected rookies in this year’s Tour and picked out some of the best.
Russian GC candidate Vlasov is the biggest debutant on our list, though his participation is yet to be confirmed.
The 26-year-old joined Bora-Hansgrohe this season after two years at Astana, and he has duly enjoyed his best opening half-season of his career so far. He has won five victories so far, including overall triumphs at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and the Tour de Romandie.
There were podium places at GP Indurain, the Basque Country of Itzulia and La Flèche Wallonne too, as he led the Tour de Suisse before testing positive for COVID-19 in five stages.
The positive test raises questions about his condition ahead of the Tour, but if he has avoided serious illness and is fully fit, he is a clear contender for the podium in Paris.
Ganna, a two-time world time trial champion, is another rider not confirmed for the Tour, but a certificate to start in Copenhagen. The 25-year-old, who recently won his third Italian TT title, is the heavy favorite to win the race’s first yellow jersey in the first 13km time trial.
He will have stiff competition in Denmark as Van Aert, Van der Poel, Pogačar, Roglič, Küng, Asgreen and many more will line up against him. However, Ganna’s time trial pedigree remains unrivaled and it would be an upset if he didn’t add yellow to the pink jerseys he picked up on day one of the last two editions of the Giro d’Italia. .
The Italian title was his fifth TT victory of the season, with the short UAE Tour Stage 2 his only defeat in the discipline so far in 2022, so he is the favorite on Friday.
After this opener, he is expected to play a team role for Ineos’ GC men Dani Martínez, Adam Yates and Geraint Thomas. The 40km time trial of the penultimate stage of the race will be waiting for him, however.
Dutch sprinter Jakobsen is expected to get the nod for QuickStep-AlphaVinyl in July following Mark Cavendish’s stunning return to the Tour last July.
The 25-year-old has five Vuelta a España stage wins to his name, including three and the points jersey last fall as he made his own comeback from serious injuries sustained at that infamous accident at the Tour of Poland 2020.
He is now ready to test himself for the first time in the biggest race of the year, and with the help of the best frontrunner in the peloton. Tim Declercq, Julian Alaphilippe, Kasper Asgreen and Michael Mørkøv formed the almost unstoppable train last year and should all be back this time around.
With half a dozen sprint stages on the menu of this year’s Tour, it would frankly be a huge shock if Jakobsen – who has racked up 10 victories at the front of the peloton in 2022, including Paris-Nice and Kuurne-Brussel – Kuurne – does not add to his charts this month of July.
Pidock is our second Ineos runner on the list, although once again his place is yet to be confirmed. He left the recent Tour de Suisse with a positive COVID-19 but has since recovered and tested negative, saying it was “the game” in a social media post last Wednesday.
The 22-year-old has been an integral part of Ineos’ long list for the Tour since reshuffling his Grand Tour plans to skip the Giro d’Italia following a sometimes grueling Classics campaign.
Now the all-rounder is set to bow out on the Tour and, while not a team leader, he’s certainly one to watch in July. Last year he made his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España and was in the running for a breakaway victory on the summit finish of stage 14 at Pico Villuercas.
This time around he will work for Thomas, Yates and Martínez in the high mountains, but he should also have his own opportunities. The fourth and fifth places in the hilly sprint stages in Switzerland show that he is in good shape and that he could also be in the game on similar stages of the Tour.
In July, Movistar will focus its race on GC contender Enric Mas and American talent Jorgenson could be a key cog in the Spaniard’s bid for a first Tour podium.
At 190cm tall, the 22-year-old Californian can tower over Mas and the other top climbers in the race, but he has shown himself in the mountains several times in the past two seasons since turning pro with the Spanish team in 2020. .
Last season he took a top 10 at Paris-Nice before finishing the Giro d’Italia, while this season he was in contention for the podium at the Tour de la Provence and recently finished seventh at the mountainous Classic Alpes-Maritimes before taking 13th place overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Jorgenson is unlikely to play a starring role in this year’s Tour, but he should be an important rider for his team leader Mas when the race heads uphill.
Norwegian climber Leknessund is the first of two riders on our list who have already been announced as participating in the Tour. He will put together a young team consisting of five rookies in the DSM team.
Romain Bardet could be the team leader in July, but 23-year-old Leknessund is expected to be second in command in the mountains at the race. He’s one of the Dutch team’s greatest talents and the former Race for Peace winner highlighted his good form in the recent Tour de Suisse.
In Switzerland, Leknessund picked up their first career WorldTour win, soloing to victory on a hilly Stage 2 at Aesch before finishing 13th overall. He may be one for the future rather than making a big impact on this year’s Tour straight away, but he’s still one to watch.
At this time last year, Storer was still awaiting the results of the breakout that would put him on the map in July and August. The Australian stormed to victory in the Tour de l’Ain at the end of July before claiming two breakaway victories at the Vuelta a España and winning the mountain jersey in Madrid.
He moved from DSM to Groupama-FDJ this year and the 25-year-old has impressed in fits and starts so far. He finished second in the Tour des Alpes and then third in the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge earlier this month.
He’s in good shape then, although he probably won’t be as free to fight for his own Tour results as he was in last year’s Vuelta. Groupama-FDJ is aligned with David Gaudu and Thibaut Pinot in the lead in the battle for the GC and the stage victories (even the polka dot jersey in the case of the comeback man Pinot).
Valentin Madouas and Stefan Küng will also be looking for opportunities, so Storer’s might be somewhat limited. With no Tour stage wins since 2019, the team would surely welcome success from any of its riders.
Cobbled stage 5 could be on the radar of Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), who took second place on his Paris-Roubaix debut last year. His compatriot Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) has enjoyed the season of his career so far.
Giro d’Italia stage winner Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) will be looking to pit himself against the best fastmen in the world in July. Mikkel Honoré (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) could be part of the most formidable front runner in the peloton.
Both Victor Lafay (Cofidis) and Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën) enjoyed success at the Giro last year and will be hoping to prove themselves on their home Grand Tour. Their compatriot, the time trial Benjamin Thomas (Cofidis), will be an outsider for the yellows in Copenhagen.
Other confirmed beginners
- Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma)
- Andreas Kron (Lotto Soudal)
- Kevin Geniets (Groupama-FDJ)
- Kevin Vermaerke, Chris Hamilton, Martijn Tusveld (DSM team)
- Stan Dewulf (AG2R Citroën)
- Nick Schultz (BikeExchange-Jayco)