By Jonny Long
2020 was a bit of an anomaly, in so much that an Ineos rider didn't win the Tour de France.
With Egan Bernal abandoning through injury, Ineos were left rudderless in the GC race, as fans were treated to Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič battling it out en route to Paris.
This year will see the return of Geraint Thomas, the Welshman left out of the 2020 Tour squad due to poor form but seemingly reinvigorated this year, winning the recent Tour de Romandie and making the podium of the Volta a Catalunya back in March.
At the moment, all signs point towards Thomas aiming to win a second yellow jersey after his surprise victory back in 2018. But when it comes to Ineos and their strength in depth, there are many candidates expected to form their Tour line-up who are capable of delivering the goods.
Tao Geoghegan Hart will be making his French Grand Tour debut having won the Giro d'Italia last year after Thomas crashed out, and is one of a number of GC talents Ineos could turn to should Thomas falter.
Richie Porte is another expected to line up in support of Thomas, but his third-place finish at last year's race shows the Tasmanian's days as a contender for the overall aren't over just yet.
Richard Carapaz, meanwhile, followed up his 2019 Giro victory with second behind Roglič at the 2020 Vuelta. The Ecuadorian provided one of the moments of last year's Tour after he and team-mate Michał Kwiatkowski stole away to win a consolation stage, meaning the British team didn't come away from France empty-handed. Both riders should make the final eight-man squad.
Five more names make the long list, Laurens De Plus will prove a capable mountain domestique, as will the ever-dependable Jonathan Castroviejo, the Spaniard having already raced the Giro this year.
Rohan Dennis hasn't raced the Tour since his headline-grabbing departure in 2019. Last year, he showed his class when he guided Geoghegan Hart into the maglia rosa, and would be another frighteningly strong addition. Ineos' road captain Luke Rowe hasn't missed a Tour since his debut in 2015 and is of course also on the long list for the squad. Competition is tough though and for Ineos selectors that's only a good problem to have.
The final potential curve ball could be the 2021 Giro d'Italia champion: Egan Bernal. When asked after claiming the maglia rosa in Milan whether he would be lining up in Brest just a few weeks later, both he and team boss Brailsford left the door open for the Colombian's surprise inclusion, although that would be quite the twist.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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