With the Tour de France 2023 just around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the top contenders as we prepare to kick off the 110th edition of cycling’s most famous race. The race begins on July 1st in Bilbao, Spain, and promises to be another spectacular battle for the legendary yellow jersey.
A Three-way Battle for the Top
The Slovenian Powerhouse: Tadej Pogacar
Despite entering the race with considerable uncertainty owing to a fractured wrist, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) is considered the race’s top favourite this year. Regardless, Pogacar’s background speaks for itself: his incredible track record of victories since turning pro in 2019, including victory in the Tour of Flanders and the Amstel Gold Race this year, all verify to his enormous talent. Pogacar is set to compete for his third Tour de France overall triumph, aided by a strong team that includes Adam Yates and Tim Wellens.
Defending Champion: Jonas Vingegaard
Last year’s champion, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), enters the race with the full support of the Jumbo-Visma team. Vingegaard appears to be in top form for the Tour after winning the Tour of the Basque Country and the Critérium du Dauphiné. His squad is all in to help him win another Tour de France, especially with Primoz Roglic’s attention turning to the Giro d’Italia.
The Dark Horse: Ben O’Connor
Australian Ben O’Connor (Ag2r-Citroen) stands out in the battle for third place. Despite being regarded as an outsider in comparison to Pogacar and Vingegaard, his recent third-place finish in the Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour experience – including a stage win and fourth overall in 2021 – make him a formidable threat.
Underdogs to Watch
Other cyclists to keep an eye on include local Basque rider Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) and Giro d’Italia 2022 champion Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe). Enric Mas (Movistar) and Americans Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) and Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) are also worth considering.
Analysing the Odds and Predictions
It’s a tough call between Vingegaard and Pogacar, with the odds slightly favouring Vingegaard due to his current form. However, Pogacar’s injury lay-off could either give him a boost of freshness or hamper his performance. One thing is certain though – a Pogacar victory, following more than a month of training on a stationary bike, would make for an incredible story.
As the days count down to the Grand Départ in Bilbao, the stage is set for an epic battle for the maillot jaune. The question remains: Who will emerge victorious on the streets of Paris on July 23?