Andy Schleck's Tour de France favourites after week one

Andy Schleck at the Tour de France 2010
Andy Schleck at the Tour de France 2010 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

A week into the Tour de France and 2010 winner Andy Schleck returns to give his analysis and opinions on the top-10 contenders. 

The former Saxo Bank climber gave Cyclingnews his expert views on the eve of the race and, nine stages into the Tour, he has been pretty accurate with predicting who would be near the top of the GC.

On the first rest day of the race, we checked in with Schleck to see how his predictions were faring and whether or not he has been surprised by any of the overall contenders for the yellow jersey.

★★★★★ – Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma)

Previous rating: ★★★★★

I still have Roglič as my favourite for the race. I think that Tadej Pogačar will now be his closest rival but Roglič still gets five stars, and I think that will be incredibly hard to beat him. 

Roglič just looks confident, and I know we’ve had some climbing in the Tour already but there’s only been one HC climb, and that wasn’t a summit finish. I won’t say that Roglič is unbeatable but he’s ridden a tactically excellent race so far with no mistakes. What I’ve been impressed with at Jumbo-Visma is how they’ve rotated riders around Roglič, too. That’s really important over three weeks when it comes to saving energy and it’s slightly different from what Sky or Ineos used to do in the past.

At the same time, they’re like Sky in those early years, when they would take the lead and control the whole peloton. That tactic has had to change slightly because there are only eight riders in teams but when you have a rider like Wout Van Aert in your team, who can pull over the big mountains, that spreads the effort out for the rest of your climbers.

★☆☆☆☆ – Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)

Previous rating: ★★★★☆

Well, the GC is over for Pinot but now the pressure is totally off and he can ride his own race and not worry about time or the yellow jersey. Of course, a lot depends on his back injury and if he can solve that problem during the rest day and then over the two flatter stages that come during the next couple of days but he’s a very good candidate for a stage win in my opinion. 

His form coming into the race was good but like every year there always seems to be a problem. Last year it was his thigh, this year it’s his back after his crash but on the crosswinds day he was there and at the front and I’m not sure what this means. After this race, I think he needs to change his perspective back to the Giro and try and win that because he’s still a good rider.

★★★★☆ – Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers)

Previous rating: ★★★★☆

He looks more than okay but he was definitely on the limit on Peyresourde because he was dropped at one point and, although he only lost a few metres, that was an important sign that to me suggested that his form still isn’t as good as some of his rivals. 

When you’re riding to win the Tour and you’re on your best form, you don’t give up any ground, not even a single metre, and you don’t say after the stage that you were just riding at your own tempo. If you’re good enough, you simply stay in the wheel and you don’t let yourself get dropped. That showed an element of weakness but on stage 9 he stayed with the best on a climb that was steep and really suited him, and at the finish, he was there fighting for the bonus seconds so you definitely can’t rule him out, even if he’s not Roglič’s biggest threat when it comes to form rather than the actual time gaps at this point. 

I think Bernal will get better in the Alps but I think that there’s also more to come from Roglič, too.

★☆☆☆☆ – Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep)

Previous rating: ★★★½☆

It’s all about stages now for the Frenchman because he’s lost so much time but the problem for him is that once he gets into the break I doubt many riders will give him a turn because he’s so dangerous in the finals. 

He’s still good enough to climb with the best 20 guys if he’s focused, so the form is there, and if he gets to the finish in a small group not many people would bet against him in the sprint. That means his best chance might come on stages that finish with a climb but the break has been caught.

★★★★½ – Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

Previous rating: ★★★½☆

As things stand, I think Pogačar is the only guy who can drop Roglič in the Alps. He pulled out a huge amount of time on the Peyresourde and it’s not like his rivals had stopped for a piss - they were going full gas, too. 

He lost over a minute in the crosswinds but he immediately told L’Equipe that he wasn’t worried about the gap because the mountains were coming up. That, to me, showed that although he’s still very young he’s an incredibly confident rider. He clearly believes in himself and he’s backed that up with two important performances in the mountains. 

I know that he’s young and he doesn’t have the experience of some of his rivals but Bernal won when he was young, too, so it’s hard to see Pogačar falling apart in the third week.

★★★☆☆ – Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren)

Previous rating: ★★★½☆

He’s clearly in shape - that showed on stage 9 when he went with the leaders, and he also made an attack with Richie Porte the day before - but I feel that he’s still missing a couple of per cent when he goes up against the very best riders. I think that he’s good enough to follow and I can see him squeezing onto the podium in Paris but I can’t see him making the difference. 

For me, he’s a bit sleepy at times, though, and you sometimes see him riding in places where he shouldn’t be if you’re a GC guy. He’s too relaxed at times and I just worry about his concentration at times.

★★★½☆ - Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic)

Previous rating: ★★★☆☆

He’s been surprisingly good. He’s always in a good position and he’s shown that he can climb with the best, although there was a bit of weakness on stage 9 when he couldn’t go with the group of Roglič and Pogačar for the second day running. 

His problem, however, could be his team. They actually protected him really well on the flats but in the mountains, Quintana looks a bit isolated. They’ve lost Diego Rosa to a crash, and Warren Barguil isn’t on the same level as his leader, so it means that Quintana has to be really careful when it comes to making the right moves. If he goes too early and is caught then he could be in serious trouble.

★★☆☆☆ – Rigoberto Urán (EF Pro Cycling)

Previous rating: ★★☆☆☆

I still think he’s at two stars because nothing has really changed my opinion on Urán. He can be good, he can be bad, and we’ve seen him up there. I think he’s going to finish in the top 10 but I can’t see him making the podium at this point.

★★☆☆☆ – Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma)

Previous rating: ★★☆☆☆

He’s there for Roglič and his ambitions for GC ended on stage 8 when he sacrificed his chances for his leader and the pursuit of the yellow jersey. He has a huge amount of talent but the goal at Jumbo is now totally clear with Roglič the sole and undisputed leader.

★☆☆☆☆ – Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Previous rating: ★★☆☆☆

He’s not been at the level that I expected from him and that crash in the Critérium du Dauphiné has clearly taken it out of him. 10 days ago wondered what the team plan was because it’s hard to target breaks, the green jersey and then mount a GC battle but Buchmann’s lost too much time to be considered a contender now. If he can come around then I can see him maybe trying to win a stage in the final week. To do that, however, he’ll need to really lose a lot more time.

★★½☆☆ - Romain Bardet (AGR La Mondiale)

Previous rating: N/A

He’s good but he’s good in most years. I always feel as though there’s something missing from his arsenal, though, and that he's not a complete rider when it comes to three-week racing. 

I think that the level this year is too good for him to reach the podium in Paris but he deserves credit for the way he’s approached this year’s race. Originally he was down to race the Giro but he’s found his focus and he’s doing better than many people expected, myself included.

★★★½☆ - Guillaume Martin (Cofidis)

Previous rating: N/A

He’s the surprise of the Tour and one rider that was overlooked at the start of the race because I’ve not seen him race that much but he looks class on the bike and I’ve been really impressed with how he has ridden for GC. He’s Cofidis’ big hope and I’m really curious to see how he will go in the Alps and that tough final week. 

He’s shown natural progression from his results last year and he knows which moves need to be followed. I have a question mark over him because he could have a bad day in the final week as he pushes himself but so far he’s been excellent and fully deserves to be where he is on GC.

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.