Analyzing Ineos Grenadiers’ Tour de France long list

We take a look at the 14 riders in the frame for a shot at the Tour de France.

Photo: Getty Images

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Ineos Grenadiers will not finalize its eight-rider roster for the Tour de France until after the Tour de Suisse but VeloNews has learned of their likely 14-rider long list and has analyzed the chances of each rider making the cut.

Adam Yates and Dani Martínez are expected to lead the team’s challenge for the yellow jersey but there are major question marks over spots for former winner Geraint Thomas and several potential domestiques.

Also read: VeloNews’ Tour de France hub: All you need to know about this summer’s race

Tom Pidcock and Ethan Hayter could both push for places, while Tao Geoghegan Hart’s recent return to form could see his role change over the coming weeks.

Adam Yates

(Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Potential role: Team leader
Age: 29
Tour pedigree: Fourth back in 2016, and ninth in 2020.

Yates has been earmarked as the joint leader alongside Martínez since the start of the year but it’s hard to separate the pair at this point when it comes to who has the best credentials for an overall challenge. The fact is that both will need to be on their absolute best form if they are to genuinely challenge for the top-three, while it’s far too early to realistically talk about a yellow jersey challenge.

Yates is an excellent climber, and his pedigree is impressive over three weeks, but is he on the same level of the best riders at UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma? The stats say no. A better indication of his form will be provided at the Tour de Suisse but at this point, he’s a definite for the flight to Copenhagen.

Dani Martínez

(Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Potential role: Team leader
Age: 26
Tour pedigree: Two starts, won a stage in 2020.

Rod Ellingworth has been muttering the Colombian’s name in the same breath as Yates for several months, which is a clear indication of the team’s desire to head into the Tour with their options open.

Martínez was fifth in the Giro last year and played a pivotal role in Egan Bernal’s win, but is he a better all-round prospect than say, Richard Carapaz, who was third last year? The answer is probably no at this stage, although Martinez is clearly improving with each passing year. He’s also been in excellent form this season, picking up a number of wins and securing top-three performances in all of his stage racing outings. He won the Tour of the Basque Country in April, so despite a lack of grand tour leadership experience, he’s clearly on the rise.

Tao Geoghegan Hart

(Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Potential role: Super domestique
Age: 27
Tour pedigree: Rode around last year and didn’t really do a lot.

A month ago I would have said Geoghegan Hart’s place for the Tour de France was under threat. Yes, he had a decent day at Tirreno but more should be expected from a rider who won the Giro d’Italia roughly 18 months ago.

The Dauphiné version of Geoghegan Hart, however, looks like the real deal. He looks motivated, hungry and most importantly, competitive. We haven’t really seen that from him in a while. Now all of a sudden he looks like a guaranteed starter for the Tour de France, and what’s more an outsider for more than just a domestique role.

The Dauphiné has yet to play out, so it’s early days, but the British rider is certainly moving in the right direction at the most important point in the season.

Ethan Hayter

(Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Potential role: Stage hunter
Age: 23
Tour pedigree: None.

On form alone, Hayter has to go to the Tour de France, with five wins already under his belt and a string of results so far at the Dauphiné.

There’s the obvious question over experience, and the fact that he and Tom Pidcock might overlap on certain stages in the race, but putting that aside, Hayter looks well equipped to make his grand tour debut this July. There will be favorable terrain and less pressure with a Vuelta ride but Hayter is certainly doing his best to at least give Ellingworth and the rest of the Ineos management a difficult puzzle to solve.

If he picks up a win in the Dauphiné, and takes the national championships in June, it will be very difficult to leave him out.

Filippo Ganna

(Photo: MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

Age: 25
Potential role: Stage hunter, targeting the yellow jersey, and domestique.
Tour pedigree: None.

Ganna probably has the most defined and clear-cut role on the team, and there’s no chance of him missing out on a spot in the final eight-man selection. He will target the yellow jersey in the first time trial and will be the favorite to achieve that goal and become the first Ineos rider since 2019 to lead the race. After that, the Italian will settle into the role of super domestique and stage hunter.

In terms of the team’s GC ambitions, Ganna will be key to protecting both Yates and Martínez during the opening week of cobbles and crosswinds.

Tom Pidcock

Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers)
(Photo: Getty Images)

Age: 22
Potential role: Stage hunter
Tour pedigree: None.

Pidcock is another possible Ineos debutant even though there are questions over his current form. He skipped the Giro d’Italia in May after an illness hampered spring but like Hayter, he’s another rider who Ineos could rely on for stage wins throughout the race. Unlike Hayter, Pidcock has to balance all of his mountain bike and road ambitions that he currently fosters but the Tour de Suisse later this month will provide evidence of his current condition.

Ineos, at its very nature, is a GC-based team, so bringing Hayter and Pidcock might feel like a luxury, or even a hindrance, rather than a benefit if they are truly seeking the yellow jersey. Pidcock, however, can target stages throughout the entire race. Suisse, as we said, is key, especially given the fact that he’s not finished a stage race so far this year.

Michał Kwiatkowski

(Photo: ERIC LALMAND/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Potential role: Stage hunter, superdomestique
Age: 32
Tour pedigree: He’s made the Tour team every year since he joined, apart from in 2016.

So dependable, so solid, and on his day still a proven winner.

Kwiatkowski is another rider the team can’t afford to pass over for the Tour de France. Ellingworth would probably pick the former world champion on his experience alone but the fact that he’s such a mainstay in the roster over the years is testimony to his importance. He’s the sort of rider who can work on the flats or in the high mountains and deliver day-after-day.

Luke Rowe

Age: 32
Potential role: Domestique
Tour pedigree: Raced every year since 2015

Still pound-for-pound one of the best no-frills domestiques in the peloton. Rowe may not be guaranteed a spot but it would be a huge surprise if the Welshman missed out this season. His skills will be key in the first week when the peloton will be hectic and the fight for position intensifies.

Heading into the mountains, Rowe can hang on over anything within cat 1 range, while his selflessness throughout his career has always been a valuable asset. Along with Kwiatkowski, he’s road captain material.

Geraint Thomas

(Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Potential role: Domestique
Age: 36
Tour pedigree: Won the race in 2018, finished second a year later.

Thomas has to win the Tour de Suisse or at least come very close to victory if he wants to be in with a chance of racing the Tour de France. The winter was obviously far from ideal, with surgery and COVID slowing his progress, and while there have been improvements at each race since the spring, Thomas hasn’t shown his top form in a year. It’s June and he’s running out of time.

Ineos don’t do sentimentality, just ask Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, so being a former winner counts for little when it comes to the final selection, and so the question really comes down to whether there are better mountain domestiques on the team.

Win Suisse and he can at least point to his recent palmarès but other than that it’s hard to see him racing in Copenhagen unless he settles for a purely team-based role.

Jonathan Castroviejo

(Photo: Getty Images)

Potential role: Domestique
Age: 35
Tour pedigree: Raced seven Tours in a long career

Jonathan Castroviejo raced the Giro d’Italia, and while that might count against some riders, it doesn’t really apply when it comes to the veteran Spaniard, who has a proven track record in going back-to-back when it comes to grand tours. If he has fully recovered from his Giro exploits then it is likely that Ineos will deem him a safe pair of hands.

Dylan van Baarle

(Photo: James Startt)

Potential role: Domestique
Age: 30
Tour pedigree: Six Tours in total, three in a row between 2019 and 2021.

The Dutchman hasn’t raced since winning Paris-Roubaix but is expected to line up at the Tour de Suisse later this month. That race will give an indication of Van Baarle’s form but the fact that the 30-year-old is heading to Jumbo-Visma next year is a question that needs to be raised. Teams regularly factor in such situations when it comes to selecting rosters, and with so many youngsters on the team, might the management look to blood another rider with more promise rather than select a proven asset like van Baarle?

Neither Pidcock, Rodriguez or Hayter can really cover for the Dutchman’s experience or durability, and this is where decisions starts to get incredibly tricky.

Carlos Rodriguez

Potential role: Domestique
Age: 21
Tour pedigree: None.

The 21-year-old started the season in great form but hasn’t raced since the Classics. He’s racing La Route d’Occitanie later in June but has been penciled in for the Vuelta for most of the year. It’s hard to see that changing.

Omar Fraile

(Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

Potential role: Domestique
Age: 31
Tour pedigree: Fraile hasn’t done a huge deal since moving from Astana, and is more likely going to race the Vuelta later in the year. He does have the Tour de Suisse on his program, so he’s still in the conversation for a possible Tour de France place but the chances at this point are slim.

A couple of riders would need to pick up illness or injuries at this point, and even then a Tour spot wouldn’t automatically go Fraile’s way.

Andrey Amador

Potential role: Domestique
Tour pedigree: Six starts but hasn’t made a grand tour team since 2020.

He’s 35, and in a contract year, so it’s not looking great for Amador’s chances. He didn’t race a single grand tour in 2021 and probably isn’t going to get another chance this year either unless things really open up for the Vuelta. A good rider, still really solid, but his age and the team’s development have moved on in recent times.

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