Roundtable: Which of the active Colombian riders will be next to win a grand tour?

Colombia has a lot of candidates for grand tour glory. But which of the active peloton will be first to take the top step after three weeks? We argue it out.

Photo: Benoit Tessier - Pool/Getty Images

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Due to the cancelation of last week’s Colombia Tour 2.1, we have a host of features, interviews, photo galleries, and other stories to celebrate Colombian cycling as part of “Colombia Week.”

There are over half a dozen Colombian riders that could win a grand tour in the near future.

Of the Colombian riders in the WorldTour, who will be next to win a grand tour? Egan Bernal is targeting the Giro d’Italia alongside teammate Iván Sosa, Nairo Quintana, Miguel Ángel López, and Rigoberto Urán are lining up for the Tour de France.

Of these stars, who is next to win a grand tour? Quintana and Bernal are already grand tour winners, but they are definitely included in this question.


Fred Dreier, Andrew Hood, and Jim Cotton serve up their takes:

Fred: Egan Bernal

Bernal often looks outnumbered, but never outgunned.
Will Bernal fly high in the Italian high mountains? Fred thinks so. Photo: Benoit Tessier – Pool/Getty Images

Egan Bernal, but it won’t be the Tour de France, it will be the 2021 Giro d’Italia.

I still believe Bernal to be the best Colombian rider of his generation, and although he may not win the Tour de France in 2021 or 2022, I still believe he’s totally capable of winning a grand tour. This year’s Giro d’Italia route offers a few opportunities for top climbers to soar in the big mountains. And, as we’ve seen already, Ineos Grenadiers have an extremely strong and motivated lineup. I think Bernal will be anxious to prove himself to team management and his peers after his setback at the 2020 Tour de France. He’s going to have a more normal leadup to the Giro than his leadup to the Tour last year, which means he will have plenty of racing in his legs.

Watch out, world, Bernal is coming for the Giro to win.

Jim: Miguel Ángel López

With a new team and the wind at his back, Lopez is Jim’s choice. Photo: Christophe Petit-Tesson – Pool/Getty Images

Miguel Ángel López gets it by elimination.

Bernal won’t be in grand tour form by May for the Giro and has no chance at the TT-heavy Tour (if he’s selected) this summer. Daní Martinez and Sergio Higuita could do it one day, but not for a long time. Rigo, Nairo, or Estaban Chaves? Sorry fellas, your time has come and gone.

López has a grand tour victory in his legs, and it could come very soon. Consistently in the top-8 at grand tours he’s finished and twice on the podium, “Superman” has been knocking on the door of greatness for a long time. He’s one of the most explosive climbers out there and can limit his losses in a time trial, and riding with Movistar in 2021 will finally unlock the grand tour that López has had in his sights for so long.

The Spanish team has years of grand tour know-how and two solid co-captains to back López in the form of Enric Mas and Marc Soler. “Superman” won’t be winning a Tour de France any time soon, but I can definitely see him sending Movistar back to the top of the podium on home soil at the Vuelta a España in the next year or two.

Andrew: Richard Carapaz

Richard Carapaz on stage 18 of the 2020 Tour de France
Not a Colombian, but nearly – Hoody votes for Carapaz. Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Richard Carapaz — he’s not Colombia by birth, but he was all but “raised” as Colombian during his development years.

Taking nothing away from his Ecuadorian roots, but it was his racing experiences in the cut-throat and highly competitive amateur scene in Colombia that helped him open the doors to Europe. At 15, he moved to Colombia to chase his racing dreams, and he became the first non-Colombian to win the “Vuelta de la Juventud de Colombia,” a kind of Tour de l’Avenir in Colombia. That piqued the interest of the European teams, he signed with Movistar’s Lizarte team before joining the WorldTour.

Now that he’s on Ineos Grenadiers, he will be a force in every grand tour he starts. Last fall, he was very close to cracking Primož Roglič on the final climb at the Vuelta a España. Team boss Dave Brailsford loves his attacking style, and it won’t be a surprise to see Ineos let him have wings to try to disrupt the Tour this summer. The 2021 course is far from ideal for Carapaz, but as soon as there is another climber-friendly route, I see him winning the Tour before any of the other Colombians in the bunch.

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