Here is the stacked Ineos Grenadiers team for Étoile de Bessèges stage race

Two former Tour de France winners and the time trial world champion among the list at the French race

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ineos Grenadiers have had few races to choose from so far this season, but they will be making their debut at Étoile de Bessèges in France and they have announced an extremely strong team for it.

Led by two former Tour de France winners in Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal you can tell that the British super-team are meaning business for their first hit out on the road.

Not only that, but current world time trial champion Filippo Ganna is down to race and could definitely be in with a shot at the overall title himself with a largely flat parcours before a difficult individual time trial that includes a short climb, ideal for Ganna.

Another possible leader depending on how they race is former road race champion, Michał Kwiatkowski, who will hope to be up there on all the stages. He probably suits the race as a whole better than the other leaders with good climbing legs, a sharp kick and very good time trialling ability.

Ineos also have some potential on the sprint days, which should be most of the stages, with young British sprinter Ethan Hayter and an ideal lead-out man in Welshman Owain Doull in there too.

Plus the usual workhorse that is Italian veteran Salvatore Puccio, who is likely to sit on the front of the peloton all day with the other race favourite's teams or spend his time looking after their main men and keeping them well placed.

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The announcement of Bernal being down to make his debut at Étoile de Bessèges was a pretty late one as he was originally going to start his season in Spain at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, which has been postponed.

So, the 2019 Tour victor has decided that he will start up his season in the Gard départment instead before heading to Provence for the Tour de la Provence.

It won't be plain sailing for Ineos though as they face a plethora of talent who have flocked to the race for the same reasons as Bernal.

Greg Van Avermaet (Ag2r-Citroën), Trek-Segafredo duo of Vincenzo Nibali and Bauke Mollema, Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Nippo) and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) to name just a few all down to be on the start line on Wednesday February 3, 2021.

Ineos Grenadiers squad for Étoile de Bessèges 2021

Egan Bernal (Col)

Geraint Thomas (GBr)

Ethan Hayter (GBr)

Owain Doull (GBr)

Filippo Ganna (Ita)

Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol)

Salvatore Puccio (Ita)

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.