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Giro d'Italia or Tour de France? Where the Grand Tour winners may line up in 2020

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Chris Froome (Team Ineos)

Chris Froome (Team Ineos) is hoping to be able to return to his best in 2020 to target a fifth Tour de France title
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)

2019 Tour de France winner Egan Bernal will be one of a number of Grand Tour leaders on the Team Ineos books in 2020
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) won his first Grand Tour in 2019 when he took the Vuelta a Espana title
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)

Might 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) target the Giro d'Italia in 2020?
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin

Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin had to quit the 2019 Giro d'Italia after crashing and injuring his knee
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) shows in 2019 that he's far from finished as a Grand Tour contender, and will be one of the leaders at Trek-Segafredo in 2020
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Movistar's Richard Carapaz

Movistar's Richard Carapaz was somewhat of a surprise winner of the 2019 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) hopes to return to Grand-Tour-winning ways in 2020
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) will make the move to Arkea-Samsic for 2020
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Alejandro Valverde remains with his Movistar team for 2020
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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UAE Team Emirates' Fabio Aru hopes to get back on track for 2020

UAE Team Emirates' Fabio Aru hopes to get back on track for 2020
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

With the 2020 routes for the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia now in the public domain, teams and their riders will be spending the next few weeks plotting their strategies to peak for their Grand Tour objectives.

The different nature of the Tour and Giro routes will act as magnets, either attracting or repelling riders, while team hierarchies, sponsor demands and the added enticement of the Tokyo Olympic Games will add further complications.

With 11 Grand Tour winners set to race in 2020, Cyclingnews looks at each of those riders, their possible Giro or Tour options, and how next season might unfold. 

A piece focussing on other Grand Tour contenders will follow next week.

Chris Froome - Team Ineos

Tell us about 2019...

Froome began 2019 on the hunt for a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title – a scenario no one would have envisaged a decade ago – but his chances of joining an elite club that is made up of just Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Jacques Anquetil were dashed during the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, when he crashed on his recon of the stage 4 time trial and suffered season-ending injuries.

The accident, as well as the subsequent coverage of his rehabilitation, have somewhat glossed over the fact that Froome was in relatively lukewarm form until the point of his fall, and hadn't won a race since the 2018 Giro d'Italia.

Giro or Tour?

Every word uttered from the Froome-filtered PR machine suggests that the 34-year-old is intent on racing the Tour in 2020, without even a passing mention of the Giro d'Italia. Perhaps there's little to lure you in when you've already won the race and the organisation isn't willing again offer what was reported to be 1.4 million-euro appearance fee in 2018.

What to expect in 2020

Everything depends on Froome's recovery and if he can get back to his best condition. A provisional return to racing is scheduled for February but that's probably as far as the race plan goes at this point. He has often altered his programme from year to year, even skipping Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico in the build-up to July, but after so long off the bike, he'll need race miles and wins if he is to solidify his position as Team Ineos' anointed Tour winner. (DB)

Chris Froome (Team Ineos)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Egan Bernal - Team Ineos

Tell us about 2019...

Won every WorldTour stage he entered, other than the Volta a Catalunya – which meant wins in Paris-Nice, the Tour de Suisse and, of course, the Tour de France. If that wasn't enough, he came back in the second half of the season to genuinely compete in the prestigious Italian one-day races where he won the Gran Piemonte and finish third at Il Lombardia. All this, and Bernal doesn't turn 23 until January. 

Giro or Tour?

Bernal is far too smart to nail his colours to the mast in late October and early November. After all, he's in a position of strength having won the Tour at 22 and seemingly having given his squad a much-needed face-lift in the process. The most likely scenario would be a Tour-Vuelta combination.

What to expect in 2020

Winning the Tour in your early 20s is never an iron-clad case for subsequent domination. Germany's Jan Ullrich won the Tour early on in his career, but never reached those heights again.

At this stage in his career, however, Bernal looks like the complete package, and, barring bad luck or team orders, he should repeat his 2019 exploits next season. (DB)

Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Primož Roglič - Jumbo-Visma

Tell us about 2019...

An astonishing season in which the Jumbo-Visma leader finished no lower than third in any of the stage races he started. His win-tally included titles in the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour of Romandie and his maiden Grand Tour win at the Vuelta a España.

The only blemish – and this is being incredibly hard on the Slovenian – came at the Giro where he 'only' finished third overall and took two stages. If all that wasn't enough, he came back from a quiet Worlds to win both the Giro dell'Emilia and the Tre Valli Varesine. 

Giro or Tour?

Jumbo-Visma have some big decisions to make over the winter, not least over how they split the Grand Tour duties between Vuelta-winner Roglič and their new star-signing Tom Dumoulin.

Roglič has already hinted that he wants to ride the Tour, and that the Giro route suits Dumoulin, which is an indication not just of where the Slovenian wants to race but that he wants Dumoulin off the scene when it comes to racing in July. With the Olympics on the horizon, the chances of a Grand Tour rider taking on both the Giro and Tour are slim.

What to expect in 2020

Jumbo-Visma have the strongest ensemble when it comes to challenging Team Ineos' dominance at the Tour de France, but the biggest question facing the Dutch squad relates to whether they can strike the right balance when it comes to settling on their Tour line-up. Roglič looks ready and deserves a shot at the Tour, while Dumoulin's health is still uncertain. (DB)

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Geraint Thomas - Team Ineos

Tell us about 2019...

Bar a second-place finish at the Tour de France, the Welshman struggled for form and consistency. He was off the pace in the year's early races and then crashed out of the Tour de Suisse, where his true bid to lead Team Ineos effectively ended. A runner's-up spot at the Tour is still a highly respectable result, but Thomas never raced on the front foot in 2019.

Giro or Tour?

Thomas told the media during the World Championships that he approved of Ineos' strategy of having two leaders at Grand Tours. With Egan Bernal, Chris Froome and the recently acquired Richard Carapaz, the squad certainly has options when it comes to a two-up split between the Giro and the Tour.

With Froome still recovering from injury and the Giro too close for him to target, the path looks set for either Bernal or Thomas to join Carapaz at the Giro. Given that Bernal is the defending Tour champion, and that the route of the Giro has more time-trialling kilometres, Thomas might be persuaded to head to Italy in May. 

What to expect in 2020

Thomas' main problem in 2019 came from the fact that his Tour de France hangover from the previous campaign lasted too long. His off–season was disrupted and the precious time he would have spent away from the limelight was taken up by too many off the bike distractions. It meant that he was chasing his rivals from the get-go.

This winter, he's taken a step back, with Carapaz, Froome and Bernal all attending Grand Tour route announcements, while the Welshman has stayed at home with his young family. If he can maintain a high level, and perhaps target a race programme built around the Giro, then there's no reason he can't add to his Grand Tour tally. (DB)

Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tom Dumoulin - Team Sunweb (2019), Jumbo-Visma (2020)

Tell us about 2019...

It was a season that never truly got off the ground for Dumoulin thanks to a crash at the Giro that saw him leave the race on stage 5 with an injury that scuppered his second half of the year and led to the end of his relationship with Team Sunweb. It was basically the worst year of Dumoulin's Grand Tour career. 

Giro or Tour?

Like Chris Froome, the Dutchman hasn't raced since the Dauphiné, and the complications after riding on after his Giro crash have only added extra time to his recovery. The Giro on paper looks like the better route for Dumoulin, but, given that the race comes two months ahead of the Tour, there's still the question over whether the former winner can find full health in time. A planned return to racing in February will be a key date. 

What to expect in 2020

Again, it all comes down to Dumoulin's recovery. If he can have a healthy winter and build up steadily, then a crack at the Giro and the Olympics isn't unimaginable. The politics within Jumbo-Visma will be delicate over the next few weeks as they decide on where to position their leaders, but Dumoulin was signed for a reason and is arguably the best time triallist on this list. (DB)

Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Vincenzo Nibali - Bahrain-Merida (2019), Trek-Segafredo (2020)

Tell us about 2019...

Other than Chris Froome, Nibali is the only rider on this list to have won all three Grand Tours. He'll be 35 soon, and his last GT win came in 2016, but the Italian looked a long way from past it when he finished second overall at the Giro behind Richard Carapaz and won the penultimate stage of the Tour in Val Thorens.

Giro or Tour?

Again, like Froome, Nibali has proved that he can do devastatingly well in either – or both. However, his move to Trek-Segafredo for 2020, to sit alongside their current Tour hope Richie Porte – who was signed ahead of the 2019 season – could require some strategic planning.

The Australian has yet to improve on his fifth place at the 2016 Tour, but if Porte was willing to give the Giro a go for the first time since 2015, it would leave leadership at the Tour open to Nibali.

What to expect in 2020

Another option might be for both Porte and Nibali to forego the Giro in favour of the two of them combining at the Tour to create what might be a potent attacking duo to stir up what is likely to be a battle between Team Ineos and Jumbo-Visma next July. That would leave this year's Giro 'king of the mountains' winner, Giulio Ciccone, to head Trek-Segafredo's efforts at the Italian race. (EB)

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Richard Carapaz - Movistar (2019), Team Ineos (2020)

Tell us about 2019...

What a year it was for the Ecuadorian, shrugging off the Movistar leadership challenge of Mikel Landa to land a big one: the Giro title.

Despite fourth place at the 2018 race, no one really expected to see Carapaz on the top step of the podium in 2019, but his rivals gave him too much rope on stage 14 to Courmayeur, and from there it was a case of him hanging on to his advantage – which he did to aplomb – to finish the race 1:05 ahead of Vincenzo Nibali and 2:30 in front of Primož Roglič.

Giro or Tour?

Is Carapaz a Grand-Tour one-hit wonder? That would be harsh, given his durable defence of his race lead at the Giro, but he's done himself no favours by signing a no-doubt-lucrative contract with one of the most successful Grand Tour teams in cycling history in the shape of Team Ineos, who are already brimming with riders capable of winning the Tour and Giro.

Much will depend on which of four-time Tour winner (and 2018 Giro winner) Chris Froome, 2018 Tour winner Geraint Thomas and reigning Tour champion Egan Bernal head to next year's Tour de France. If all three go to La Grande Boucle – which could happen – Carapaz can expect to have the opportunity to try to defend his Giro crown. However, if Thomas heads to Italy, then Carapaz could find himself in that super-domestique position, perhaps with an opportunity to ride for himself at the Vuelta a España later in the year instead.

What to expect in 2020

Carapaz is likely to find himself in a very different environment at Team Ineos, both culturally and as the number four in the Grand-Tour pecking order. True, that's probably the same position he occupied at Movistar, below Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa, before bursting into bloom, but while Quintana has won both the Giro and the Vuelta, and Valverde won the 2009 Vuelta, none of those teammates were Tour winners. (EB)

Movistar's Richard Carapaz

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Simon Yates - Mitchelton-Scott

Tell us about 2019...

Consistently inconsistent throughout much of the season with Yates's best GC finish coming at the Giro, where he drifted home in eighth after cracking in the first week, before turning his attention to stage hunting.

His time trialling saw a dramatic improvement with second places in both Paris-Nice and  Giro stages – before he cracked – but it was in the mountains where the British rider looked most vulnerable.

He ended up riding the Tour de France in order to help his brother, but successfully brought home two stage wins when the team's GC hopes faded.

Giro or Tour?

After two unsuccessful attempts at the Giro d'Italia, and his brother's own shortcomings at the Tour, the time has come for Mitchelton-Scott to shake things up when it comes to their Grand Tour plans. The Tour route has favourable elements that should suit Simon Yates, while the lack of cobbles, and plentiful long, flat time trials, should entice him even more. It's possible that both Yateses could even race the Tour together once again, although, as per 2019, the division of responsibilities will be clear from the outset.  

What to expect in 2020

Since winning the Vuelta a España in 2018, Yates's star has waned slightly. This season was a disappointment by his standards in terms of the GC, but his all-round ability and two stage wins at the Tour ensures that he enters 2020 with at least the embers of his maiden Grand Tour win fuelling his off-season.

However, part of the problem with determining Yates's progress lies in the fact that we're never quite sure where the blames lies when he falls short. (DB)

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Nairo Quintana - Movistar (2019), Arkéa-Samsic (2020)

Tell us about 2019...

The return of two Grand-Tour top-10s, including two stage wins, is far from a disaster, but, with each passing season, Quintana drifts further down the pecking order when it comes to Grand Tour contenders. He was consistent throughout much of 2019, never finishing below ninth in any of the seven stage races that he started, with fourth at the Vuelta and second at Paris-Nice the standout results.

However, at the Tour in July, Quintana once again failed to threaten the podium contenders, while in the Vuelta he suffered from patchy form and the durability displayed by his teammate, Alejandro Valverde.

Giro or Tour?

A Giro d'Italia spot isn't on the cards for his new Pro Continental outfit – or Pro Team, as the second tier of teams will be known in 2020 – so Quintana's Grand Tour hopes rest on a wildcard invite to the 2020 Tour de France. 

What to expect in 2020

Either a step down to a Pro Team provides Quintana with the much-needed assurances over leadership that he so desperately needs, or the move is simply the continued decline of a once-great rider.

At Arkéa, the Colombian will be the main focal point of the team's Tour challenge, but with Nacer Bouhanni and Warren Barguil on the team, there'll be no shortages of big personalities on the team bus. (DB)

Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Alejandro Valverde - Movistar

Tell us about 2019…

Just when you think the ageing Valverde is finally starting to show signs of slowing down, he pulls out a ride to confound the critics – just as he did with his second place overall at the Vuelta.

Giro or Tour?

During his long, long career, Valverde has only ridden the Giro once – back in 2016, when he finished third. A return to the race in 2020 would seem unlikely until one factors in the Tokyo Olympic Games, and their close proximity to the Tour de France. In 2016, Valverde raced the entire Tour before an underwhelming ride in Rio, so it remains to be seen whether he attempts to stick with that same plan or tries something a little different.

What to expect in 2020

With Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana leaving for new teams, Movistar are very much a team in transition. That also means that more responsibility will fall at the feet of Valverde as new-signing Enric Mas finds his range and Marc Soler looks to make another important step after his top-10 showing at the 2019 Vuelta.

Once again, Valverde will have a race-heavy schedule with between 80-90 days on the road as Movistar look to eke out that consistency. (DB)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Fabio Aru - UAE Team Emirates

Tell us about 2019...

Major surgery – for an iliac artery problem – bookended by gritty but unfulfilled performances summed up another disappointing season for the 2015 Vuelta a España winner.

Giro or Tour?

A return to the Giro d'Italia seems the most likely outcome, even if the Tour de France has the marginally better route to match Aru's skill-set. However, much will depend on how UAE Team Emirates structure their entire Grand Tour squad.

Aru is no longer a sure bet at leadership and the team has added strength in depth through signing Davide Formolo, David de la Cruz, Joe Dombrowski and youngster Brandon McNulty. The latter has never ridden a Grand Tour, and so expectations will be low, but the rest – along with Sergio Henao and one of the revelations of 2019, Tadej Pogacar – form a nifty little arsenal.

What to expect in 2020

From Grand Tour contender to also-ran in the space of four years, Aru's career trajectory hit rock bottom when he crumbled at the 2018 Giro and then sank without a trace at the Vuelta a few months later.

However, identifying what the problem may have been, and having treated it with surgery, could yet see Aru return to the top. (DB)

UAE Team Emirates' Fabio Aru hopes to get back on track for 2020

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)