Riders from all around the world will be rolling down the start ramp in Copenhagen to kick off the 2022 Tour de France on Friday, with the peloton consisting of men from nations as varied as Norway, New Zealand, Colombia, and South Africa.
There are, of course, plenty of riders from the traditional cycling powerhouses of central Europe taking the start, while nine Australians and now – with the late addition of Canadian Guillaume Boivin (Israel-Premier Tech) to the start list – 11 North Americans will also be racing. There's also a small British representation at the race, with eight riders taking the start in Denmark this week.
It's down a few riders on last year, when a record 10 British riders started the race, equal with 2015, with big names such as Mark Cavendish, Simon Yates, Tao Geoghegan Hart, and Hugh Carthy not lining up.
There are still two former winners racing the Tour this year, though, as well as another GC contender, stage hunters, and domestiques. Read on to get the full rundown of the British riders starting the 2022 Tour de France.
Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers)
At the age of 36, 2018 winner Thomas is back as Ineos Grenadiers co-leader this time around and a real podium contender after winning the Tour de Suisse earlier this month.
There he got the better of riders like Sergio Higuita, Jakob Fuglsang, and Remco Evenepoel, during what was really the first week of the season where he has shown his top form.
Of the top two favourites – Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič – he hasn't been in a head-to-head battle with either since taking third at the 2019 Tour de Romandie, which Roglič won. Even if he was impressive in Switzerland, logically he's behind the pair in the pecking order until he can prove otherwise.
Ineos do have strength in numbers, though, with Dani Martínez and Adam Yates (see below) co-leading the squad with Thomas. While a leadership 'trident' hasn't worked out for other teams in the past – see Movistar's recent history – Ineos going on the offensive in the mountains could spring a surprise.
Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech)
Four-time champion and Thomas' old teammate Froome has had a very tough time of it since his major crash at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné. It's been a battle to get back to anything like the dominant form he showed before that career-threatening accident, but things are looking up.
A month ago, at the Classic Alpes-Maritimes he achieved his best result since 2019 with an 11th place, even if it was four minutes down on teammates Fuglsang and Michael Woods, who took the one-two.
The 37-year-old was hit by illness at the Dauphiné, so we don't have much else to go on and no real idea of what he's capable of at the Tour. A return to GC contention is a pipe dream but expect him to be seen working for Fuglsang and Woods and taking his own chances in the break if he has the form.
Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers)
Yates is part two of the Ineos leadership trio, the 29-year-old returning to the Tour after missing last year's race. His form is in question after he admitted that he struggled with COVID-19 after testing positive for the virus at the Tour de Suisse.
In a pre-Tour press conference, he said that he didn't lose much form during his illness but would have to wait for the opening time trial in Copenhagen to find out how he's going.
As such, it's hard to make any major proclamations about what Yates can do in France. He started the season well with second at the UAE Tour and fourth at Paris-Nice, though both were behind Pogačar and Roglič, and as is the case with Thomas, it's tough to envisage a scenario in which he'll beat them – even if he is in top form from Friday onwards.
Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious)
After making his Tour debut last year in service of Jack Haig, who was forced to abandon on stage 3, Wright returns to the police raid-prone Bahrain Victorious team, again as a domestique for the Australian GC hopeful.
Last October, the 23-year-old was a couple of seconds away from becoming British road champion, and this year he still awaits the first breakthrough win of his three-year career. A seventh place that few expected at the Tour of Flanders is his standout of 2022 so far.
With Haig and Damiano Caruso leading the GC fight and Matej Mohorič and Dylan Teuns set to hunt stages, Wright likely isn't going to get a lot of leeway to go for his own chances during the Tour. He will be a key domestique for the team leaders, though.
Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers)
The Olympic mountain bike and world cyclo-cross champion is the only British rider making his Tour de France debut this year. Like teammate Yates, though, he's on the comeback from COVID-19 after catching the virus in Switzerland.
His form, too, is under question, then, but he'll have a chance to grow into the race rather than being 'on it' from day one. Of course, the 22-year-old will be expected to work for Thomas, Yates and Martínez, but there will be opportunities for him and other teammates to fight for their own glory.
Pidcock confirmed in a pre-race interview that he's hoping to "maybe try and win a stage" in addition to working for others. As the squad's lead directeur sportif Steve Cummings told Cyclingnews earlier this week – Pidcock has "a role as a 'free electron', to take his chances where he can."
Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic)
26-year-old Swift makes his third Tour appearance in a row for French squad Arkéa-Samsic, who he joined back in mid-2019. Since then, he's been working in the sprints for André Greipel and Nacer Bouhanni.
This time he'll be helping out Amaury Capiot and Hugo Hofstetter in the flat finishes, though neither are top favourites for stage wins – Capiot hasn't raced the Tour before while Hofstetter collected a top-four place in 2020.
Swift won't be expected to assist team leaders Nairo Quintana and Warren Barguil in their natural terrain of the high mountains, so should have some leeway to infiltrate the breakaways here and there.
Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers)
The fourth and final Ineos Grenadiers rider on our list, Luke Rowe is one of the most experienced British riders at the Tour, his seven appearances second only to Thomas' 11.
Unlike the three GC leaders and stage hunters Pidcock and Filippo Ganna, though, Rowe's glory will come when the team wins rather than any personal stage victories. The 32-year-old is the road captain of the squad, helping out on all terrain however he can.
While the Welshman will be expected to be at the service of the team leaders throughout the race, his skills on the cobbles should come in very handy as the team navigates the Paris-Roubaix pavé on stage 5.
Owain Doull (EF Education-EasyPost)
Rounding out the British Tour selection is a third Welshman, Doull. The 29-year-old transferred from Ineos during the off-season and this July makes his Tour de France debut with his new squad EF Education-EasyPost.
A veteran of the track and an Olympic champion in the Team Pursuit, Doull possesses a quick finish, though is a level below the top sprint contenders like Wout van Aert, Caleb Ewan, and Fabio Jakobsen.
In an eclectic and versatile EF team, he'll be expected to help others, with several of his teammates strong options for a stage win on all different terrain. Doull said he's realising a "childhood dream" this July, and he could make the breakaway a few times himself, too.
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Daniel Ostanek is Senior News Writer at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired full-time. Prior to joining the team, he had written for numerous major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.
As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also oversees The Leadout newsletter and How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal.