UAE Team Emirates manager 'Matxin' Joxean Fernández believes that Team Ineos is headed into the 2020 Tour de France as a team that can be beaten. According to a report in Tuttobiciweb (opens in new tab), Maxtin felt that the team was less strong this year than in previous seasons where they have won seven of the eight editions of the French Grand Tour.
"This year is probably the year when they are less strong," Matxin told Tuttobiciweb. "As a Spanish proverb says: in the river in flood the fisherman wins. Let's see. I'm not a magician, but it's obvious that with all the statements they're making everyone is trying to carve out their own space. Froome has won four times and asks for respect. Bernal is the last winner and demands respect. Thomas has won and finished second."
Team Ineos are expected to start this Tour de France with three potential winners with defending champion Egan Bernal, four-time winner Chris Froome, and 2018 champion Geraint Thomas.
Froome and Thomas are reportedly training together at altitude in the French Alps, despite reports that Froome could make a mid-season transfer to another outfit. Bernal is scheduled to travel from Colombia to Europe aboard a charter flight to Madrid on July 19 .
UAE Team Emirates had already confirmed some of their roster for the Tour de France including Fabio Aru, Tadej Pogacar, Davide Formolo, David De la Cruz and Alexander Kristoff. Matxin told Tuttobiciweb that the remaining team would also include Jan Polanc, Sven Erik Bystrøm, and Marco Marcato.
UAE Team Emirates said at that time of the initial rosters announcement for the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España that the team had "mixed goals with a good balance of climbers, sprinters and versatile stage-hunters."
Pogacar, 21, finished third overall at the 2019 Vuelta a España and was announced as one of the contenders for the Tour de France, but the Slovenian rider said it was too soon to think about a GC result for himself at the September event.
"I expect to prepare well, and I'll do everything that I can, but I can't start talking about results," Pogacar told Cyclingnews.
Matxin compared Pogacar to another young and talented pro, Remco Evenepoel, saying that they are the future of professional cycling.
"He and Evenepoel are the future," Matxin said. "Tadej is a rider who grows stronger every day, and is unique in the world. He has a monstrous recovery and an incredible head. He has legs that look like a pupil's and therefore there's plenty of room for improvement. He respects everyone, including the staff. And he has values as a person."
UAE Team Emirates for the 2020 Tour de France: Fabio Aru, Tadej Pogacar, Davide Formolo, David De la Cruz, Alexander Kristoff, Jan Polanc, Sven Erik Bystrøm, and Marco Marcato
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