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Cyclingnews predicts: Our writers offer their views on this year's Tour de France

Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic and defending champion Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) are set to do battle over the three weeks of the 2020 Tour de France
Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic and defending champion Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) – both pictured at this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné – are set to do battle over the three weeks of the 2020 Tour de France (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

What's a sporting event without a few opinions and predictions – no matter how outrageous? The 2020 Tour de France is finally upon us, the questionnaire has been sent around the globe to Cyclingnews' writers, reporters and editors, and this is what they've come back with.

Do you agree with our podium picks, or despair at our classification-jersey favourites? Is there perhaps a rider that we've failed to mention, but who you believe will emerge as a contender, or at least a future contender?

There's only one way to find out, and that's to delve in to our thoughts here.

Daniel Benson, editor-in-chief

What's your podium?

1. Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma)
2. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)
3. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers)

My head says Bernal, and my heart says Pinot, but Dumoulin greatly impressed as the recent Critérium du Dauphiné wore on. He enters the race with little pressure, and while he's untested over three weeks since 2018, I just worry about any rider, in this case Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), who took a heavy fall this close to the race. To back up my Dumoulin claim with scientific fact, and in no way pure superstition, he was also on the cover of Procycling's Tour de France preview issue.

Who else will be in the top 10?


Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Roglič, Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren), Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Miguel Ángel López (Astana)

Unlike my podium picks, the rest of the top 10 seems pretty realistic. Bernal can make the podium with one leg and Quintana will just miss out on the top three. It meant no Rigoberto Urán, Sergio Higuita (both EF Pro Cycling) or Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), but I got the feeling that the Frenchman went really deep at the Dauphiné, and will come into the third week of the Tour running on fumes.

Who will be the surprise GC rider?


If Bernal falters and Ineos teammate Pavel Sivakov is released from his domestique duties, then the Russian could be a genuine GC threat. If Higuita can make it through the first 10 days without any problems, then he could do some serious damage.

Which sprinter will dominate?


All the cool kids will say Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), but I'd like to see Elia Viviani (Cofidis) – who hasn't won all year – and André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation), just for old times' sake, pitch in with a win each. I also like the look of new European road race champion Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT), but just like all the other times in my life, the cool kids will be proved right.

Who will win the other jerseys?


I'll say Bahrain McLaren for the teams' prize, Bernal for white, Alaphilippe for the 'king of the mountains' and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) for green.

What are you most looking forward to in the race?

I'm just hoping that the race makes it to Paris, which seems a long, long way off right now with everything that's going on. Also, I'm missing my first Tour since 2007, which means that, for the first time in years, I won't arrive in Paris five kilos heavier and with my body mass mostly comprised of the free madeleines they give away in the press room.

Laura Weislo, deputy editor

What's your podium?

1. Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma)
2. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers)
3. Dani Martínez (EF Pro Cycling)

Normally, I'd go with the tradition of the winner of the Critérium du Dauphiné as the favourite for the Tour de France, and credit to Martínez. He was solid in that race, but it's his first Tour and Roglič was storming towards a dominant victory until he went pavement surfing.

Provided he and his team aren't concealing any serious injuries, Roglič has been so dominant since racing resumed that he's hard to dismiss – even in the high mountains. Bernal will make it a close second with Sivakov as his ally. EF Pro Cycling have a strong team, too, with Rigoberto Urán and Sergio Higuita, but I think Martínez is the man.

Who else will be in the top 10?

Thibaut Pinot will run it close for the podium, but his team has fewer tactical options. Jumbo-Visma will keep Tom Dumoulin high in the GC as a second option, and there's no doubt he's capable of a top 10, but he may have to sacrifice a podium spot in the final week for Roglič, especially now that Steven Kruijswijk is out of the picture due to injury.

Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot is a big favourite to take a podium place at the 2020 Tour de France

Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot is a big favourite to take a podium place at the 2020 Tour de France (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Nairo Quintana didn't make my cut for the podium because of his knee problems, which kept him from finishing the Dauphiné. Mikel Landa wasn't super there, either, but has the class to compete for the top five.

Miguel Ángel López and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) are sure bets for the top 10, along with Urán. Finally, Guillaume Martin is due for a high placing and is my pick for the final top 10 spot.

Who will be the surprise GC rider?

Martin took an unusual path out of the under-23 ranks after winning a stage in the Tour de l'Avenir, and with four years in the Pro Continental ranks with Wanty Gobert, he's finally come home to a French team and settled in nicely with Cofidis in their first season back at WorldTour level since 2009. His old Belgian squad gave him ample experience and room to grow, and I'm sure he's ready for his class to show through in the Tour de France at last. He was there every day with the best in the Dauphiné, finishing third overall. His team has dual ambitions with Elia Viviani, so he might not be the sole focus, but Martin's enough of an opportunist to make it work.

Which sprinter will dominate?

Caleb Ewan. No doubt. The Australian pocket rocket has been the quickest sprinter of the ones at the Tour de France this season, while Arnaud Démare, Pascal Ackermann and Fernando Gaviria aren't at the race. Lotto Soudal are solely focused on Ewan, and he has a great lead-out train with John Degenkolb, Roger Kluge and Jasper De Buyst.

Elia Viviani's Cofidis train hasn't really got on the rails yet, and while Giacomo Nizzolo has been amazing this past week, winning his Italian and European titles, Lotto Soudal had the measure of his team at the Tour de Wallonie.

Who will win the other jerseys?

You can't discount Peter Sagan for the green jersey. He's nothing if not consistent. He hasn't shown much of himself yet since racing resumed, but fourth place at Milan-San Remo is enough to convince anyone that he's going to continue his reign. The mountains jersey will go to a pure climber like Bernal or Bardet, depending on how the GC battle plays out.

What are you most looking forward to in the race?

Constantly feeling like it's July in September and, hopefully, taking a break from writing about COVID-19.

Kirsten Frattini, women's editor

What's your podium?

1. Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma)
2. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers)
3. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)

Roglič has shown a high level of form heading into the Tour de France – more so than most of his competitors in contention for the general classification. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the racing season for five months and forced many riders into full-blown lockdown, Roglič was able to continue training specifically for the Tour de France at home in Slovenia, beginning in May.

His performance at the Critérium du Dauphiné was superb, and although it is tough to predict what would have happened had he not crashed, he certainly looked in prime position to win the overall title. Being forced to recover from that crash may become a silver lining as he heads into the Tour de France with fresh legs. Plus, he has an incredibly strong Jumbo-Visma team to support his GC goals.

As the defending champion, Bernal heads into an especially mountainous edition of the Tour de France, which caters to his abilities as one of the best climbers in the world. Ineos Grenadiers' decision to leave Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas off their roster makes this year's team a little bit of an unknown. They have a strong team with Pavel Sivakov and a late addition with Richard Carapaz, but Bernal has admitted that he is not fully recovered from his back injury. Bernal is the leader of the team, and rightfully so, but if Carapaz is in good form and finds an opportunity for himself, he just might take it.

It would be special to see a Frenchman win the Tour de France, and, like most, I would especially like that rider to be Thibaut Pinot. He definitely has a shot at the podium, although I don't think Groupama-FDJ have an overall depth as strong as Jumbo-Visma or Ineos Grenadiers.

Who else will be in the top 10?


Daniel Martínez, Tom Dumoulin, Nairo Quintana, Miguel Ángel López, Emanuel Buchmann, Mikel Landa, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)

My remaining top 10 picks have either shown progressively good form in recent races heading into the Tour de France, such as Daniel Martínez and Mikel Landa, or they have the experience and depth in supporting teammates to back up a strong performance by two team leaders, such as Tom Dumoulin – and Primož Roglič – at Jumbo-Visma.

Who will be the surprise GC rider?


Richard Carapaz's form is a bit unknown. He was initially preparing to lead Ineos Grenadiers at the Giro d'Italia, but a last-minute adjustment found him a surprise addition to the Tour de France team instead. If he races in the same fashion that won him the Giro d'Italia while riding for Movistar last year, he could very well put forth a similar performance at the Tour de France.

2019 Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz (left) is set to support Ineos Grenadiers team leader – and defending Tour champion – Egan Bernal

2019 Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz (left) is set to support Ineos Grenadiers team leader Egan Bernal (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Which sprinter will dominate?


Giacomo Nizzolo is my pick to dominate the sprints because he's hitting his best form at the perfect time heading into the Tour de France. It's difficult to choose between Nizzolo and Caleb Ewan, however, as both riders will certainly be prepared to dominate the sprints. We also can't leave out Elia Viviani, Sam Bennett and Peter Sagan.

Who will win the other jerseys?


Ineos Grenadiers for the team classification, Egan Bernal as the best young rider, Romain Bardet for the mountains classification and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) for the green jersey.

What are you most looking forward to in the race?

I would like to see the event organisers and the UCI remain cautious at this Tour de France, given that there are risks that come along with racing during a pandemic that could affect everyone involved. When it comes to racing, specifically, it's always great to see Nairo Quintana quietly steal a summit victory.

Patrick Fletcher, features editor

What's your podium?

1. Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma)
2. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers)
3. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)

Predictions are a mug's game at the best of times, and even more so this year, but if you put a gun to my head, I'd tell you that Roglič's crash won't seriously hamper his dazzling form, that he has a quality team and Grand Tour-winning experience to go the distance, and that Bernal won't gain quite enough time in the final week to make up for the damage Roglič will inflict when he inevitably wins the final TT.

Who else will be in the top 10?

Tom Dumoulin, Nairo Quintana, Tadej Pogačar, Emanuel Buchmann, Richard Carapaz, Mikel Landa, Miguel Ángel López

This is so tough to call, as I could name nearly 20 riders who wouldn't look out of place in the top 10. Dumoulin has been building nicely, and while it's not the best route for him, I can see him riding consistently before overhauling a climber or two in that time trial. I fancy Pogačar to come good after his shaky post-lockdown return, while Buchmann would have been flirting with my podium until his Dauphiné crash made him a little harder to predict. Carapaz can have a real impact on this race, Lopez has the class to fend off more headline-grabbing riders, and Landa will do a Landa.

Who will be the surprise GC rider?

Dani Martínez and Guillaume Martin don't really feel like surprises after the Dauphiné, so how about Adam Yates? No one's talking about him because he's not talking about himself, but, on his day, he's one of the top climbers in the world and, after two disappointing Tours, maybe not really thinking about the GC is what will actually take him back into the top 10. Watch him sit up and lose 20 minutes on stage 1.

Which sprinter will dominate?

I don't see one in particular dominating. I'd be surprised if Ewan, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) or Nizzolo left without a win, and I could see Viviani nabbing one, too. With a fair few stages that could go the way of reduced-bunch sprints, there may not be too much room for domination, but, if pressed, I'd back Bennett to edge it given he handles the hills better than Ewan and, even in the absence of favoured lead-out man Shane Archbold, will have the strongest lead-out.

Who will win the other jerseys?

I'll go for a boring prediction of an eighth green jersey for Sagan. I reckon Van Aert could top him, but while he should get the green light to go for a stage win or two, he won't have the freedom to go for random intermediate sprints. Similarly, if Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) doesn't have to stick by Pogačar's side too much, then he's in the form of his life and could grab the polka-dots. I've put Bernal in second place, so he's automatically my white jersey, and then Jumbo-Visma for the teams' prize and Alaphilippe the super combatif, if you're asking.

What are you most looking forward to in the race?

It's hard to get past a sense of trepidation and actually look forward with the sort of excitement that a route and start list like this should elicit. If the race makes it to Paris in one piece, I'll breathe a sigh of relief and admit my surprise. From a purely sporting perspective, Jumbo-Visma's strength-in-depth will breathe fresh air into a race Ineos have dominated for nearly a decade.

Barry Ryan, European editor

What's your podium?

1. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers)
2. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)
3. Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma)

If the Tour ends up being cut short, all bets are off, but if the race goes the distance, it's hard to look past Bernal. The longer the race goes on – and the higher it climbs – the better he will be. Concerns about his team's strength are overstated given that Ineos were hardly dominant last year. I don't imagine his declared back injury will be an issue, either. Pinot will again be very, very good, but the stars won't quite align. Dumoulin will continue his promising comeback and lay down a marker for 2021, when he might eventually find a more amenable Tour route.

Who else will be in the top 10?

In no particular order: Nairo Quintana, Primož Roglič, Tadej Pogačar, Richard Carapaz, Guillaume Martin, Emmanuel Buchmann and Mikel Landa

Quintana and Roglič are contenders for overall victory but it all depends on how well they have recovered from their pre-Tour injuries. The same goes for Buchmann. Pogačar looked like a man hitting his stride at just the right moment at the Dauphiné. Martin has the form to make the top 10, even if a stage win is his avowed target. Landa will dig himself an early hole and then entertain as he claws his way back out, albeit without ever threatening Bernal et al. I've left out Julian Alaphilippe because he insists the GC is not a target, although I still wonder if lightning might strike twice…

Who will be the surprise GC rider?

I'm not sure if a Giro winner qualifies as a surprise, but I don't think Ineos have selected Carapaz entirely out of desperation. At worst, he'll be a very useful lieutenant for Bernal, but he has the potential to be much more. His attacking instincts and his eye for the right opening offer Ineos something different to Geraint Thomas or Chris Froome. He might be just what they need to disrupt the Jumbo-Visma train on this Tour.

Which sprinter will dominate?

There probably won't be enough mass finishes for one fast man to be labelled as dominant, but Sam Bennett and Caleb Ewan should both be to the fore, including on stage 10 at Île de Ré, which might well see a reduced front group if the race splits into echelons. Like last year, Wout van Aert could pop up at any point and frustrate the pure sprinters – maybe even in Nice on Saturday.

Who will win the other jerseys?

Peter Sagan should win the green jersey unless circumstances see Van Aert or even Alaphilippe target the classification on a route with relatively few bunch sprints. The king of the mountains will go to whichever French star is the first to drop out of the GC race. Bernal will be the best young rider, and I'll say Astana to win the teams classification.

Can Bora-Hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan take an eighth green jersey at this year’s Tour de France?

Can Bora-Hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan take an eighth green jersey at this year’s Tour de France? (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

What are you most looking forward to in the race?

Pierre Carrey's daily dispatches for French newspaper Libération. In a Tour where access for the written press will be so limited, the ability to cut through the fog of public relations waffle has never been more important.

As for the race itself, it's hard to look forward very far given that it could all grind to a halt at any moment. I just hope professional cycling's desperation to hold the 2020 Tour at seemingly any cost doesn't wind up having a negative impact on public health. I also hope this behind-closed-doors Tour (because that's essentially what it is) doesn't set a template for the race's future. 

Jackie Tyson, production editor (North America)

What's your podium?

1. Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma)
2. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers)
3. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)

My past attempts as a prognosticator have been with major league baseball and NASCAR fantasy leagues – I'm from the south of the US and have roots in stock-car racing – and I typically fall for most-liked over most-probable picks. I have to go with some usual suspects for the GC, even though some of those are battered and bruised, so I'm siding with the Ineos Grenadiers and Jumbo-Visma for a 1-2 punch on top of the podium. The first week may wreck this plan, but I'm looking for Roglič and Bernal to be healthy. And I have to put a sentimental French favourite on the podium, so Pinot gets the nod.

Who else will be in the top 10?

Tadej Pogačar, Emanuel Buchmann, Miguel Ángel López, Daniel Martínez, Ben Hermans (Israel Start-Up Nation), Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), Nairo Quintana

Pogačar is just 20 and was third at last year's Vueltaa España. I would pick him on podium, but he doesn't have the support at UAE Team Emirates. I'd put Buchmann close to fourth again, only because he is not 100 per cent for the race. One of my 'most-liked' picks will make the top 10: Belgian Ben Hermans. He just puts his head down and climbs. Plus, he was stellar at the Tour of Utah.

Who will be the surprise GC rider?

Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma)

Which sprinter will dominate?

I'll go with the Italian Giacomo Nizzolo for a couple of stage wins, but he won't get close to Peter Sagan for the green jersey.

Who will win the other jerseys?

White jersey: Egan Bernal
Green jersey: Peter Sagan
Polka-dot: Julian Alaphilippe
Teams classification: Jumbo-Visma

What are you most looking forward to in the race?

I'd love to see some of the young US riders mix it up on some climbing stages and get positive results, like Sepp Kuss and Neilson Powless (EF Pro Cycling).

Josh Croxton, senior tech writer

What's your podium?

1. Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma)
2. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers)
3. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

I've chosen a reasonably safe podium. I think the Ineos versus Jumbo battle will provide all the fireworks everyone's predicted, and more. However, I believe the absence of the late Nicolas Portal in the Ineos Grenadiers' car, and the collective might of the Jumbo-Visma roster, will tilt the balance towards Roglič, and a quietly consistent ride from Tadej Pogačar will round out the podium.

Who else will be in the top 10?

Thibaut Pinot, Daniel Martínez, Guillaume Martin, Emanuel Buchmann, Mikel Landa, Tom Dumoulin, Nairo Quintana

More than anything, I want Pinot to win, but unfortunately I feel his legs were proven to be below the performance of Roglič and Bernal at the Dauphiné before they both abandoned, but the French will rally behind the Groupama-FDJ man and he'll repay the fandom with a fight to the end. Julian Alaphilippe's insistence that he's not out for a GC battle will be proven early, but he'll win stages aplenty.

Daniel Martínez will be the strongest within the EF Pro Cycling squad, and, with both Urán and Higuita, will prove a formidable force. I expect another strong ride from Bora-Hansgrohe's Emmanuel Buchmann, but, for me, the youthful Movistar duo of Enric Mas and Marc Soler will fall foul of the ever-present internal battle, and both they and Alejandro Valverde will fall agonisingly outside of the top 10, whilst still winning the teams classification.

Who will be the surprise GC rider?

If he keeps his powder dry, Guillaume Martin could make it to the third week under the radar just by following wheels. However, if he goes for early glory, then his team might have a hard time protecting their leader for the three weeks.

Which sprinter will dominate?

Giacomo Nizzolo is a man on fire at the moment, but with such a punchy parcours, I think Ewan will walk away with the most stage wins. Does that make me a cool kid? Bennett, Viviani and Nizzolo will take stages of their own, and Peter Sagan will win the green jersey, as ever.

Who will win the other jerseys?

White jersey: Egan Bernal
Green jersey: Peter Sagan
Polka-dot: Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic)
Teams classification: Movistar

I'd like to see Barguil given the role of chasing the king of the mountains classification, with the added benefit of being ahead to offer assistance to Quintana when the lead group catches him.

The now former French road race champion Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) could go on the hunt for a second king of the mountains jersey, to add to the title he took at the Tour in 2017

The now former French road race champion Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) could go on the hunt for a second king of the mountains jersey, to add to the title he took at the Tour in 2017 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

What are you most looking forward to in the race?

As a road tech writer, it's the penultimate stage and the individual time trial that excites me the most. I'm hoping we'll see some amalgamated road-cum-time-trial Frankenbikes as riders look to eek seconds out of their set-up. Let's just hope the race makes it that far.

Daniel Ostanek, staff writer

What's your podium?

1 Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)
2 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers)
3 Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma)

Part of me thinks that Roglič likely won't fade during the race, while another part of me hopes we're not just in for a three-week continuation of The Roglič Show. I'm going to go with a fade, and install Pinot as the first French winner since 1985. Only Roglič got the better of him on the early stages at the Dauphiné, while last July he took time on Bernal on every mountain stage before his injury. If Pinot stays healthy and avoids another crosswind catastrophe (he lost 1:40 in Albi last year), he can do it.

Who else will be in the top 10?

Nairo Quintana, Tom Dumoulin, Tadej Pogačar, Mikel Landa, Miguel Ángel López, Emanuel Buchmann, Richard Carapaz

This might be the hardest of all the questions because you can argue for pretty much every man to make the top five. Realistically, you could throw a few more names into the mix, too. Quintana will hopefully be fully over his knee troubles, while Dumoulin should get better and better, even if the course isn't 100 per cent suited to him. Buchmann is the real wildcard here, depending on how he recovers from his Dauphiné crash early on. Then some further questions remain, such as: will Carapaz be on top form? And will Landa and López be consistent over three weeks?

Who will be the surprise GC rider?

There aren't any real surprises in my top 10, but the EF's Colombian trio of Rigoberto Urán, Daniel Martínez and Sergio Higuita could fit. The latter, younger duo have impressed at shorter stage races, but Higuita's 14th at the 2019 Vuelta a España is their top Grand Tour result so far. Urán, meanwhile, took second at the Tour in 2017 but his anonymous ride at the Dauphiné doesn't suggest a repeat of that result.

Which sprinter will dominate?

There's not exactly a wealth of sprint stages at this Tour – there are maybe five nailed-on flat sprints and only one after stage 10. Peter Sagan has the ability and experience to take another green jersey, but in terms of pure sprinters, I'll back Caleb Ewan to be the best of the lot once again, even against Sam Bennett and the best lead-out in the world. It's just a shame that Sunweb have inexplicably left out eight-time Grand Tour stage winner and green jersey candidate Michael Matthews.

Who will win the other jerseys?

Bernal will take white, obviously, although Pogačar, Sivakov, the EF boys and David Gaudu show that there's a wealth of young GC talent in the race. I wanted to include the in-form Guillaume Martin in my GC top 10, but polka-dots would go well with his red shorts and De Rosa bike, while he can also grab Cofidis' first Tour stage win since 2008. Jumbo-Visma should take the team prize, and finally European road race champion Giacomo Nizzolo and B&B Hotels-Vital Concept take my prize for the most stylish jerseys.

What are you most looking forward to in the race?

The early mountain stages could be interesting, but they could be phoney wars, as they often are. I do like a good battle among the break, or attackers taking their chance, so stages 2 to Nice, 9 to Laruns and 12 to Sarran look interesting. We're sure to have a good bit of polemica at one point or another, too.

Ellis Bacon, production editor (Australia)

What's your podium?

1. Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma)
2. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)
3. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers)

Even with a bit of a mountain to climb – pun very much intended – when it comes to recovering from his injuries sustained at the Critérium du Dauphiné, Roglič's performances so far this year suggest that he really will be the rider to beat. If the stars align, I believe that Pinot could take second place – and a lot of people would like to see him take a home win if said stars get really straight – while Bernal will complete the podium, and reveal in Paris that his sore back was killing him all along.

Who else will be in the top 10?


Nairo Quintana, Tom Dumoulin, Guillaume Martin, Sergio Higuita, Tadej Pogačar, Pavel Sivakov, Richie Porte

I see some lieutenants – like Dumoulin for Roglič, if the roles aren't reversed – and Sivakov for Bernal being strong enough to bag top 10s for themselves, while Quintana may just miss out on the podium, Martin looks almost certain to further impress, Tour first-timers Higuita and Pogačar look strong enough to take a high finish, and Porte will push hard but won't quite much his best finish of fifth from 2016.

Who will be the surprise GC rider?


For those who've been following the sport closely this year, it may not be that surprising to see the emerging Guillaume Martin ride to a top-five finish at this year's race, but there could be plenty of members of the French public who are surprised to see a stage-hunting Romain Bardet replaced in their affections by Martin, and two Frenchmen (Pinot being the other one) potentially finishing in the top five for the first time since 2014.

Which sprinter will dominate?

It may become more a question of which sprinter can win more than one stage, as opportunities are certainly few and far between compared to normal. I think that the on-form Giacomo Nizzolo and Caleb Ewan – who seems to just be getting faster and faster – may take two stage wins apiece.

Who will win the other jerseys?

I'm not convinced that there are going to be enough opportunities for the sprinters to amass enough points for the green jersey, even with the points weighted in their favour on flatter stages, and so I'm going to put my neck on the line and say that an attacking Julian Alaphilippe will win both the green jersey and the mountains jersey.

Bernal will win the white jersey by virtue of a high overall finish, while the teams classification should be between his Ineos Grenadiers squad and Jumbo-Visma, with Jumbo perhaps just pipping it.

What are you most looking forward to in the race?

I'm hoping for a good, clean – and sanitary – race on what could be one of the toughest parcours for some years. Add in the fact that most of the riders haven't raced anywhere close to as many days as they normally would have coming into the Tour, and I'm looking forward to witnessing some desperate, out-and-out racing and some wild, never-imagined performances from riders we perhaps know relatively little about at this point. Let the daily soap opera on wheels begin.

Stephen Farrand, European Editor

What's your podium?

1. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)

2. Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma)

3. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers)

This year’s Tour de France will be historic for so many wrong reasons, so it would be great if a French rider finally won it. And there’s no better French rider in the race than Pinot. 

The Ineos Grenadiers are the robotic Transformers of the Tour and Jumbo-Visma the killer wasps; Pinot remains pleasingly human and so vulnerable and fragile. 

If the Tour manages to reach Paris and Pinot can finally overcome all the difficulties of the Tour and defeat his rivals, it would be a fairy tail ending to such a troubled race.     

I think the three weeks of racing will be so testing that only the best Grand Tour racers, the most skilled and most resilient riders, will survive, hence my prediction that Dumoulin will be better than Roglic, while Bernal’s fragile back could mean he can probably only fight for a podium spot. 

Who else will be in the top 10?


It’s easier to pick the winning lottery number than name a final top ten for this year’s race because so much could happen in the next three weeks. I think they will be the usual subjects plus a few surprises. 

In no specific order, this is who I expect the rest of the top ten to look like in Paris:

Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren), Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling).

Who will be the surprise GC rider?


While I expect both Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) to finish in the top ten, I suspect they could do even better and finish in the top five and be in the thick of the battle for the yellow jersey. 

Martin is clearly on form after his strong Criterium du Dauphine, while Higuita seems to have the relaxed, no stress persona to survive the three weeks of intense racing. 

Which sprinter will dominate?


We’re in a moment of transition in the generation of sprints, making predictions even more difficult.  

The Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel era seems over and even the likes of Alexander Kristoff seem like sprint veterans.  

Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) seems slightly faster and stronger of the sprinters at this year’s Tour de France and arguably is currently the best in the world but I think Elia Viviani (Cofidis), Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) will threats and stage winner too.  

Peter Sagan is chasing an eighth green jersey and so will contest every sprint he can. He might not win the pure sprint finishes but will definitely be a contender on the hillier stages.

Who will win the other jerseys?


I suspect EF Pro Cycling will again quietly target the team prize to secure a place on the final podium and some bragging rights. Bernal is surely going to win the best young rider’s white jersey again, even if wearing yellow means the white jersey could always be on someone else's shoulders.

Julian Alaphilippe will be unable to resist targeting the 'king of the mountains' polka-dot jersey but so will Warren Narguil (Arkea-Samsic) and others. Surely nobody can stop Sagan winning green yet again.

What are you most looking forward to in the race?

The racing. 

After all the COVID-19 delays and doubts, every day of racing will feel like Sunday, as they say in Italy. Indeed every day will feel special and should be savoured. 

Of course everyone has to stay safe and if the COVID-19 situation in France makes it impossible to continue, then so be it.