Grand Tour rider spotting: Who is racing where in 2019

The 2019 season has begun in earnest this January and the men's WorldTour calendar will kick off on Tuesday with the Tour Down Under. After Australia and trips to South America and the Middle East, it won't be long before we hit the Classics in spring and then the Grand Tours.

The cycling calendar is getting more and more packed as the years go on and it can be hard to keep track of who is going where. To make things easier for you, Cyclingnews has rounded up the top general classification riders so you can keep tabs on your favourites and see where we'll find early-season contests ahead of the major races.

Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo)

The Australian will start his season slightly earlier than his GC rivals after racing for the first time in Trek-Segafredo colours at the Down Under Classic criterium. His real first test will be at the Tour Down Under, followed by the Cadel Evans Road Race and the Herald Sun Tour. After that, Porte will head to the Middle East for the UAE Tour, while his European debut is yet to be confirmed. His major target this season will be the Tour de France.

Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Having headed to Australia for his season opener, Froome is using the Tour Colombia for his first foray into racing in 2019. After Colombia, he will join Porte at the UAE Tour in what looks to be a strong GC field. Froome's post UAE Tour calendar is a little less clear, though he has indicated that he would like to ride the Tour de Yorkshire. However, he has confirmed that he will miss the Giro d'Italia and focus solely on the Tour de France with the Critérium du Dauphiné as his warm-up.

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)

Like Froome, Thomas will also gear his season around the Tour de France in July, with Egan Bernal set to ride the Giro d'Italia for the team. Unlike Froome, the 2018 Tour de France winner will start his season in Europe. The Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will mark his first outing, with the Volta ao Algarve, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco to follow. Thomas will then go to the Ardennes Classics before a short break ahead of the main part of his season. The Tour de Suisse will provide his final warm-up before the Tour de France.

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)

The 2019 season will be a busy one for Nibali after he opted for the Giro-Tour double. The Italian will join Thomas in opening his season in Valencia at the start of February. After that, Nibali joins the strong pack at the UAE Tour before returning to Italy for Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico. Milan-San Remo, the Tour of the Alps and Liege-Bastogne-Liege come next, before he heads to the Giro and then the Tour. It's unclear if he'll ride at all before his two Grand Tour bids.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Quintana is one of the few GC riders due to begin his 2019 campaign at the Vuelta a San Juan. The Colombian will ride the for the first time before returning to home soil for the Tour Colombia. Quintana will then make his Euopean debut at Paris-Nice in March, followed by the Vuelta al Pais Vasco in April. La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège come next before a short break. Quintana will next race in June when he goes up against Thomas at the Tour de Suisse, followed by the Tour de France.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

As has been tradition, Valverde will start his season at the Challenge Mallorca at the end of January/beginning of February. The new world champion will then join Thomas and Nibali in Valencia before flying out to the Middle East for the UAE Tour. He has been rumoured for a start at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, but that is not yet certain, with Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo, the Volta a Catalunya, Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders on his programme. He will go from Flanders to the Ardennes before riding the Giro d'Italia in May.

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)

The Vuelta a España winner's 2019 programme is relatively unknown at the moment, but what is for certain is that he will be riding the Giro d'Italia in May. He is also expected to ride the Vuelta a Andalucia at the end of February, while appearances at the Mallorca Challenge and Paris-Nice could be on the cards.

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb)

Dumoulin is yet another major GC rider heading to the UAE Tour. The Middle Eastern race will be the first for Dumoulin in 2019. His early-season race programme is fairly slim after that as he looks to attempt the Giro-Tour double for the second year running. Between the UAE Tour in February and the Giro d'Itlalia in May, Dumoulin will only ride Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)

Unlike many of his rivals, Bardet will be starting his season on home soil at the Tour Haut Var at the end of February. In fact, there will be no flyaway races for the first few months of his season with the Classic de l'Ardeche and Paris-Nice also on his calendar before the Volta a Catalunya at the end of March. Liège-Bastogne-Liège is pencilled in for the following month, with June and July taken up by the Criterium du Dauphine and the Tour de France.

Mikel Landa (Movistar)

After a difficult finish to the end of the 2018 season thanks to a high-speed crash at the Clasica San Sebastian, not much has been set in stone for Landa. He will head to the Challenge Mallorca with teammate Valverde to ease into the year, but where he goes after that is to be decided. The Basque rider has hinted that he could do either or both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France but only time will tell.

Miguel Angel López (Astana)

The Astana rider is due to join his compatriots at the Tour Colombia in February before heading to Europe for Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya the following month. After securing the podium at last year's race, López has pinned his colours to the Giro d'Italia once again and then the Vuelta a España.

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