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Evaluating Trek-Segafredo's Tour de France long list

Trek-Segafredo's Richie Porte at the 2020 Paris-Nice
Richie Porte at Paris-Nice earlier this year (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

After running through the Tour de France long lists for Team Ineos, Bahrain McLaren, and Mitchelton-Scott, we've got our hands on the riders in line for Trek-Segafredo

While Italian duo Vincenzo Nibali and Giulio Ciccone will lead the line at the Giro d'Italia in October, Bauke Mollema and Richie Porte will share leadership at the Tour in August and September. 

As for who will support them, there are a number of shoo-ins, but also a couple of decisions to be made, largely surrounding the balance between the team's wealth of Classics riders and climbing support for Mollema and Porte. 

Here's who's in the frame and what they bring to the table.

Richie Porte

  • Age: 35
  • Tours raced: 9
  • Best result: 5th overall, 2016

It just hasn’t panned out for the Australian in the way that many of us imagined after he rode to seventh in his maiden Grand Tour in 2010. He arguably spent his best years supporting Chris Froome at Team Sky, while at BMC, luck disappeared and robbed him of two potential top-five challenges. 

Since that Giro in 2010, the Australian has only finished in the top 10 in one Grand Tour, which feels like scant reward for a rider of his pedigree. Last year, he toured around France and finished 11th, despite his preparation being ruined by illness, but it’s hard to read where Porte will finish this time around. 

It’s not impossible to imagine both Porte and Mollema battling for top 10 finishes, but Porte has the added incentive of racing for a new contract. At 35, he probably has a couple more years left in the tank but the remainder of this season will determine whether he’s still considered a Grand Tour leader.

Bauke Mollema

Trek-Segafredo's Bauke Mollema celebrates his 2019 Il Lombardia victory

Mollema celebrates victory at Il Lombardia last year (Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Age: 33
  • Tours raced: 9
  • Best result: 6th, 2013

At the end of 2019, we wrote that Mollema was Trek-Segafredo’s most consistent and underrated performer, and little has changed during the short window of racing that was permitted earlier in the year. 

The Dutchman has been a reliable force throughout his career and Trek have benefited from that when plenty of their more high-profile leaders have struggled to match their reputations with results. A team manager knows exactly what they’ll get from Mollema, while his palmarès has been topped up in recent years with some fine one-day wins. 

While so much surrounding cycling’s 'new normal' appears uncertain and untested, one certainty that we can all rely on is that a fit Mollema will ride into Paris among the top-10 on GC, with possibly a stage win thrown in for good measure. Last year’s Giro d’Italia demonstrated that the 33-year-old still has the application and engine for three-week racing and the new-look season looks perfect for a versatile rider of his stature.

Mads Pedersen

  • Age: 24
  • Tours raced: 0
  • Best result: N/A

Of all the riders in the world to feel sorry for, Pedersen and Annemiek van Vleuten have to be up there. The Dane scored a thoroughly deserved win to take the rainbow jersey last year but has only had 16 days in the iconic bands since the beginning of the year. 

A world champion only holds the rainbow jersey for a season before it passes to another individual and there’s no guarantee that the Danish Classics specialist will have another chance of wearing it during his career. That means his reign as world champion will be condensed into just a few months of real racing. 

The Tour de France will allow Pedersen to hone his form and target stage wins but, while the Classics will be the main focus in the Dane’s season, the reality is that every day in the rainbow jersey will feel even more precious than before. The 24-year-old has never raced the Tour de France but it would be thrilling and deserving if he took the race by storm, just like he did in Yorkshire almost a year ago.

Jasper Stuyven

  • Age: 28
  • Tours raced: 3
  • Best result: 43rd overall, 2019

NINOVE BELGIUM FEBRUARY 29 Mads Pedersen of Denmark and Team Trek Segafredo Jasper Stuyven of Belgium and Team Trek Segafredo during the 75th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2020 Men Race a 200km race from Ghent to Ninove OmloopHNB OHN20 on February 29 2020 in Ninove Belgium Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Jasper Stuyven (right) alongside Pedersen at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which he won (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The Belgian, who took victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad earlier this year, is out of contract at the end of the year but even if he eventually ends up departing Trek-Segafredo there’s no chance that the team will flick him for the Tour de France. He’s just too important, too valuable, and Trek simply aren’t that short-sighted.

Stuyven provides opportunities for a number of stages in this year’s race and he has the ability to mix it with the sprinters or jump away in breaks. One of his most valuable roles might come during a long break, when he sets up a teammate by pulling on the front all day before swinging off on the final climb.

He has been close to stage wins in the Tour before, with two top-three results in the last two years and, in the absence of an out-and-out sprinter, Stuyven is a vital rider in Trek’s armory.

Niklas Eg

  • Age: 25
  • Tours raced: 0
  • Best result: N/A

The Dane doesn’t get the attention he deserves, but the former Tour de l'Avenir podium finisher is a solid climber. He only has two Grand Tours under his belt and he’s yet to make his Tour de France debut but he will provide valuable cover in the mountains when Porte and Mollema demand support. 

He’s a domestique for the medium mountains but he’s probably vying with Alex Kirsch for the final spot on Trek’s Tour team. His form, and that of the team’s Tour leaders, will determine the Dane’s immediate future.

Kenny Elissonde

  • Age: 28
  • Tours raced: 0
  • Best result: N/A

Elissonde working for Porte and Nibali at Paris-Nice

Elissonde working for Porte and Nibali at Paris-Nice (Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s almost inconceivable that the 28-year-old has never raced the Tour de France but that’s what happens when a rider spends three years of their career at Team Sky and opportunities are hard to come across. 

The Frenchman’s time on the British team was hardly a failure but at Trek he should have more space to express himself. Whether that starts at the Tour very much depends on the form of Mollema and Porte in the mountains but Ellissonde’s Tour spot is nailed on.

Edward Theuns

  • Age: 29
  • Tours raced: 2
  • Best result: 88th overall, 2018

Like Stuyven, fellow countryman Theuns will be using the Tour de France to prepare for the rescheduled ‘spring’ Classics. The 29-year-old will work alongside Stuyven in the sprints, while also searching for his chances in breaks. 

He has picked up a couple of respectable results in Grand Tour stages but Theuns' value comes in the form of his all-round game. He can work on the flats, provide cover on hilly stages, and sprint if required by his team.

His results towards the tail-end of 2019 suggest that he’s improving with age and enjoying his second coming after his one-year sabbatical at Team Sunweb.

Toms Skujins

  • Age: 29
  • Tours raced: 2
  • Best result: 81st overall, 2019

Skujinš is a dependable pair of hands in the Grand Tours

Skujinš is a dependable pair of hands in the Grand Tours (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

You may not notice Skujinš that much during Grand Tours – his best results have come in other races – but that doesn’t mean he’s not important. His value in Grand Tours comes through his versatility and capacity to handle a heavy workload. It’s little wonder that the Latvian has made Trek-Segafredo’s rosters for each of the last two Tours. 

He has a strong finish too – his mightily impressive win in Tre Valli Varensine two years ago was testament to that – but it’s his ability to cohesively work between the flatland specialists and the climbers that will be crucial for Trek. A certainty for the Grand Départ in Nice.

Alex Kirsch

  • Age: 28
  • Tours raced: 0
  • Best result: N/A

The Luxembourg rider already has 20 days of racing under his belt in 2020, which is impressive considering the circumstances, but he’s probably in a battle with Eg for the final Tour de France spot. 

He earned his Grand Tour debut just last year but his experience is limited in WorldTour stage races. If he earns a Tour spot, Trek will be looking for the 28-year-old to perform on the flats and then carry his form into the Classics.

If Mollema and Porte are flying before the Tour then Trek might edge towards another climber – in this case Eg. That would be tough on Kirsch but, with so many races in such a short period, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.