Skip to main content

The debutants to watch at the 2022 Tour de France

120622 / Brugge / Elfstedenronde / Exterioo Cycling Cup /
Aleksandr Vlasov, Fabio Jakobsen, and Filippo Ganna are among the major names set to make their Tour de France bow (Image credit: Getty Images composite)

On Friday, 176 riders will roll out in the Copenhagen time trial to kick off the 2022 Tour de France.

The majority of those men will have raced the Tour before, some over 10 times like Peter Sagan, Jakob Fuglsang, Geraint Thomas, and Philippe Gilbert. But a small group of the peloton will be taking on the July Grand Tour for the first time.

Last year, 45 men made their debuts at the Tour, with second-place finisher Jonas Vingegaard among them – as well as stage winners Mathieu van der Poel and Tim Merlier.

Eight of the 22 teams have already confirmed their squads for this year's race, and while the full start list of riders is as-yet unconfirmed, another 40 or so riders are expected to make their debuts this year.

We've taken a look at the confirmed and expected list of debutants at this year's Tour and picked out some of the best.

Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe)

ZINAL VAL DANNIVIERS SWITZERLAND APRIL 30 Aleksander Vlasov of Russia and Bora Hansgrohe Team celebrating wrongly at finish line during the 75th Tour De Romandie 2022 Stage 4 a 1801km stage from Aigle to Zinal Val dAnniviers 1664m TDR2022 on April 30 2022 in Zinal Val dAnniviers Switzerland Photo by Dario BelingheriGetty Images

Vlasov has enjoyed a stunningly successful start to his time at Bora-Hansgrohe (Image credit: Getty Images)

Russian GC contender Vlasov is the biggest-name debutant on our list, though his participation is yet to be fully confirmed.

The 26-year-old joined Bora-Hansgrohe this season following two years at Astana, and he's duly enjoyed his best opening half-season in his career so far. He's racked up five victories so far, including overall triumphs at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Tour de Romandie.

There have been podium places at the GP Indurain, Itzulia Basque Country, and La Flèche Wallonne, too, while he was leading the Tour de Suisse before testing positive for COVID-19 five stages in.

That positive test does raise a question over his condition ahead of the Tour, but if he avoided serious illness and hits top shape then he's a real contender for the podium in Paris.

Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers)

Italian Filippo Ganna of Ineos Grenadiers pictured in action during the fourth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine cycling race an 319km individual time trial between Montbrison and La Batie dUrfe France Wednesday 08 June 2022BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN Photo by DAVID STOCKMAN BELGA MAG Belga via AFP Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

World time trial champion Ganna is the top favourite for stage 1 glory (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Double world time trial champion Ganna is another rider unconfirmed for the Tour but a cert to start in Copenhagen. The 25-year-old, who recently took his third Italian TT title, is the top favourite to take the first yellow jersey of the race in the opening 13km time trial.

He'll have stiff competition in Denmark as the likes of Van Aert, Van der Poel, Pogačar, Roglič, Küng, Asgreen, and more line up against him. However, Ganna's time trial pedigree remains second to none and it would be an upset if he doesn't add yellow to the pink jerseys he's picked up on the opening day of the last two editions of the Giro d'Italia.

The Italian title was his fifth TT win of the season, with the short stage 2 at the UAE Tour his only loss in the discipline so far in 2022, so he is the favourite on Friday.

After that opener he'll be expected to play a team role for Ineos' GC men Dani Martínez, Adam Yates, and Geraint Thomas. The 40km time trial on the penultimate stage of the race will be waiting for him, though.  

Fabio Jakobsen (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl)

BERINGEN BELGIUM JUNE 19 Fabio Jakobsen of Netherlands and Team QuickStep Alpha Vinyl celebrates winning during the 91st Baloise Belgium Tour 2022 Stage 5 a 1799km stage from Gingelom to Beringen BaloiseBelgiumTour on June 19 2022 in Beringen Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

The latest of Jakobsen's 10 wins in 2022 came at the Baloise Belgium Tour (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Dutch sprinter Jakobsen is widely expected to get the nod for QuickStep-AlphaVinyl this July following Mark Cavendish's stunning Tour comeback last July.

The 25-year-old has five Vuelta a España stage victories on his palmarès, including three and the points jersey last autumn as he completed a comeback of his own from serious injuries sustained in that infamous crash at the 2020 Tour de Pologne.

He's now set to test himself at the biggest race of the year for the first time, and with the top lead-out train in the peloton aiding him, too. Tim Declercq, Julian Alaphilippe, Kasper Asgreen, and Michael Mørkøv formed the near-unstoppable train last year and should all be back this time around.

With half a dozen sprint stages on the menu at this year's Tour, it would frankly be a huge shock if Jakobsen – who has racked up a peloton-leading 10 wins in 2022, including at Paris-Nice and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne – doesn't add to his palmarès this July.

Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers)

British Tom Pidcock of Ineos Grenadiers is pictured at the start of the mens race of the Ronde van Vlaanderen Tour des Flandres Tour of Flanders one day cycling event 2725km from Antwerp to Oudenaarde on April 3 2022 Belgium OUT Photo by DIRK WAEM Belga AFP Belgium OUT Photo by DIRK WAEMBelgaAFP via Getty Images

Pidcock is set to make his Tour bow with Ineos (Image credit: DIRK WAEMBelgaAFP via Getty Images)

Pidock is our second Ineos rider on the list, though once again his spot is yet to be confirmed. He left the recent Tour de Suisse with a COVID-19 positive, but has since recovered and tested negative, declaring it "game on" in a social media post last Wednesday.

The 22-year-old has been a firm fixture on the Ineos longlist for the Tour since reshuffling his Grand Tour plans to skip the Giro d'Italia following an at-times testing Classics campaign.

Now, the multi-disciplinarian is set to make his Tour bow, and, while he won't be a team leader, he's certainly one to watch this July. Last year he made his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España and was in the mix for a breakaway victory on the stage 14 summit finish at Pico Villuercas.

This time around he'll be set to work for Thomas, Yates, and Martínez in the high mountains, but he should have his own opportunities, too. Fourth and fifth places in the hilly sprint stages in Switzerland show he's in form and he could be in the mix on similar stages at the Tour, too.

Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar)

US Matteo Jorgenson of Movistar Team celebrates on the podium in the white jersey for best young rider after stage six of 80th edition of the ParisNice cycling race from Courthezon to Aubagne 2136 km in France Friday 11 March 2022BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN Photo by DAVID STOCKMAN BELGA MAG Belga via AFP Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

Jorgenson in white at Paris-Nice (Image credit: AVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images)

This July, Movistar will be focussing their race on GC candidate Enric Mas and American talent Jorgenson could be a key cog in the Spaniard's bid for a first Tour podium.

At 190cm in height, the 22-year-old Californian may loom over Mas and the other top climbers in the race, but he has shown himself in the mountains several times in the past couple of seasons since turning pro with the Spanish team in 2020.

Last season he took a top 10 at Paris-Nice before completing the Giro d'Italia, while this season he was in the podium fight at the Tour de la Provence and recently finished seventh at the mountainous Classic Alpes-Maritimes before taking 13th overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Jorgenson isn't likely to be taking on a starring role at this year's Tour, but he should be an important rider for his team leader Mas when the race heads uphill.

Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM)

AESCH SWITZERLAND JUNE 13 Andreas Leknessund of Norway and Team DSM celebrates winning during the 85th Tour de Suisse 2022 Stage 2 a 198km stage from Kusnacht to Aesch ourdesuisse2022 WorldTour on June 13 2022 in Aesch Switzerland Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Leknessund soloed to victory on stage 2 at the recent Tour de Suisse (Image credit: Tim de WaeleGetty Images)

Norwegian climber Leknessund is the first of just two riders on our list who have already been announced as riding the Tour. He'll make up a youthful squad featuring five debutants at Team DSM.

Romain Bardet might be the leader of the squad this July, but 23-year-old Leknessund looks set to be second in command in the mountains at the race. He's one of the biggest talents on the Dutch team and the former Course de la Paix winner underlined his good form at the recent Tour de Suisse.

In Switzerland, Leknessund scored his first career WorldTour victory, soloing to the win on a hilly stage 2 in Aesch before going on to finish 13th overall. He may be one for the future rather than making a big impact straight away at this year's Tour, but he's still one to watch.

Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ)

Michael Storer

Storer forms part of a strong Groupama-FDJ squad for the Tour (Image credit: Nicolas Götz / Equipe Cycliste Groupama-FDJ)

This time last year, Storer was still awaiting the breakout results that would put him on the map in July and August. The Australian stormed to Tour de l'Ain victory in late July before going on to take two breakaway victories at the Vuelta a España and claiming the mountains jersey in Madrid.

He made the switch from DSM to Groupama-FDJ this year and the 25-year-old has so far impressed in spurts. He finished second at the Tour of the Alps and then third at the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge earlier this month.

He's in good form then, though likely won't be as free to fight for his own results at the Tour as he was at last year's Vuelta. Groupama-FDJ line up with David Gaudu and Thibaut Pinot leading the way in the battle for the GC and stage victories (or even the polka dot jersey in the case of comeback man Pinot).

Valentin Madouas and Stefan Küng will also be seeking opportunities, and so those for Storer could be somewhat limited. With no stage wins at the Tour since 2019, though, the team would surely welcome success from whichever one of their riders can deliver.

Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo)

GRENCHEN SWITZERLAND JUNE 14 Quinn Simmons of United States and Team Trek Segafredo Red Mountain Jersey competes in the breakaway during the 85th Tour de Suisse 2022 Stage 3 a 1769km stage from Aesch to Grenchen ourdesuisse2022 WorldTour on June 14 2022 in Grenchen Switzerland Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Simmons showed  his climbing chops at the Tour de Suisse (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

After making his Grand Tour debut at last year's Vuelta a España, Simmons forms part of Trek-Segafredo's stage-hunting squad at this year's Tour.

The 21-year-old has been hyped as the next big thing from the USA after hitting the pro ranks two years ago following his junior Worlds win in Yorkshire, though he's also courted controversy with "divisive" social media posts. Slated as a man for the Classics, Simmons has shown he's far more than a man for the cobbles and hills so far in 2022.

After capturing a top 10 at Strade Bianche in March, he went on to claim the mountain classification title at Tirreno-Adriatico after dropping world champion Julian Alaphilippe from the break on the queen stage.

At the recent Tour de Suisse he narrowly missed out on a first WorldTour victory up to the stage 6 summit finish, but once again walked away with the mountain classification prize. With he and his teammates getting free reign to go for stages this July - expect to see a lot more of Simmons racing up the road over the coming weeks.

Honorable mentions

SAN MARTINO DI CASTROZZA ITALY APRIL 18 Geoffrey Bouchard of France and AG2R Citroen Team celebrates winning the green leader jersey on the podium ceremony after the 45th Tour of the Alps 2022 Stage 1 a 1609km stage from Cles to PrimieroS Martino di Castrozza 708m TouroftheAlps on April 18 2022 in San Martino di Castrozza Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Tour of the Alps stage winner Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën) will be making his Tour debut this year (Image credit: Getty Images)

The cobbled stage 5 could be on the radar for Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), who took second on his debut at last year's Paris-Roubaix. Fellow Classics man Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) has enjoyed the season of his career so far.

Giro d'Italia stage winner Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) will be looking to test himself against the best fastmen in the world this July. Mikkel Honoré (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) could form part of the most fearsome lead-out train in the peloton, while his teammate Andrea Bagioli will be looking for success in the hills and mountains.

Joe Dombrowski (Astana Qazaqstan) is anonther to keep an eye on in mountain breakaway after his Giro d'Italia stage win last year.

Victor Lafay (Cofidis) and Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën) both enjoyed success at last year's Giro and will be hoping to prove themselves further at their home Grand Tour. Their countryman, time triallist Benjamin Thomas (Cofidis), will be an outsider for yellow in Copenhagen.

Other confirmed debutants

  • Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma)
  • Andreas Kron (Lotto Soudal)
  • Kevin Geniets (Groupama-FDJ)
  • Kevin Vermaerke, Chris Hamilton, Martijn Tusveld (Team DSM)
  • Stan Dewulf (AG2R Citroën)
  • Nick Schultz (BikeExchange-Jayco)
  • Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo)
  • Luca Mozzato, Jérémy Lecroq, Sebastian Schönberger (B&B Hotels-KTM)
  • Amaury Capiot, Mathis Louvel, Łukasz Owsian (Arkéa-Samsic)
  • Simone Velasco, Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan)
  • Kamil Gradek (Bahrain Victorious)
  • Edward Planckaert, Alexander Krieger (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
  • Kobe Goossens, Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert)
  • Albert Torres (Movistar)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

after your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Daniel Ostanek
Daniel Ostanek

Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most 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, Mark Cavendish, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.

 

As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.