Ag2r Citroën Team 7/10
After a modest start to the Tour de France spent focussing on hopeless breakaways, Ag2r’s race sparked into life when Ben O’Connor catapulted up the rankings by winning stage nine with a huge attack on the Montée de Tignes. The Australian went on to defy expectations by remaining right up there on GC, and sealed a fourth-place finish, the team’s best overall finish since Romain Bardet’s podium four years ago.
Just like at the Giro d'Italia, Alpecin-Fenix started the race with a bang as Mathieu van der Poel won stage two at Mûr de Bretagne, and went on to enjoy an even better opening week as Van der Poel defended yellow all week and Tim Merlier won a sprint.
The way Jasper Philipsen lead Merlier out for that sprint to pull-off a one-two in Pontivy epitomised just how great everything’s going for the wildcard team right now, and even after Van der Poel left to prepare for the Olympics and Merlier abandoned, Philipsen continued to regularly make the top three in bunch sprints.
Given the lowered expectations brought on from their stars’ lack of form heading into the race, and their bad luck with crashes during it, this Tour went better than anticipated for Arkéa-Samsic.
Nacer Bouhanni looked as good as he has for years in the sprints, finishing in top three on three occasions, while what Nairo Quintana lacked in form he made up for with spirit, as he battled for and spent a few days in the polka-dot jersey.
Astana-Premier Tech 5/10
Their line-up appeared catered towards chasing stage wins, but aside from some decent efforts and a second-place at Le Grand Bornand from Ion Izagirre, Astana weren’t spotted all that much in the breakaways. Instead there was more focus on helping Alexey Lutsenko ride for a surprisingly high GC, but a seventh-place finish and no stage wins was a scant return.
B&B Hotels pb/KTM 6/10
Though Pierre Rolland lacked form and Bryan Coquard missed the time cut in the Alps, a new French talent emerged in Franck Bonnamour, whose constant attacking in all terrain was enough for him to be awarded the super-combativity prize, and earn the team a cherished spot on the podium in Paris.
For once, the team classification was won by a team worthy of that title. Bahrain-Victorious were enormously successful in the breakaways, with the hugely impressive Matej Mohorič taking two long-range solo wins and Dylan Teuns triumphing at Le Grand Bornand.
Add to that Pello Bilbao’s eight-place finish on GC and Wout Poels’ run in the polka-dot jersey and this was the team’s best Tour to date.
Team BikeExchange 4/10
A crash on the road to Carcassonne brought a premature end to what had already been an underwhelming Tour for two of BikeExchange’s star climbers, Simon Yates and Lucas Hamilton.
After that the ever-consistent Michael Matthews and his quest for the green jersey became their number one goal, but they failed in prizing the jersey off Mark Cavendish and had to settle for second
Wilco Kelderman rode stealthy yet consistently to finish fifth overall, and the team did especially well not to just concentrate on his GC bid, but rode aggressively in breakaways too, from which first Nils Politt in Nîmes and then Patrick Konrad at Saint-Gaudens took stage wins. Considering star man Peter Sagan couldn’t get up to speed following an early crash, that’s a great return.
Another Tour ticks by without Cofidis taking a stage win, which means it’s now been 13 years since their last, but this was a spirited performance nonetheless. Guillaume Martin finished eighth on GC, Cristophe Laporte was second on stage 19, and Anthony Perez was among the race’s most combative riders.
It’s easy to forget that Deceuninck-Quick-Step began the Tour with their plans in disarray, following Sam Bennett’s inability to make the startline.
No-one could have anticipated then that Mark Cavendish would embark on one of sport’s all-time great comebacks, adding four more sprint stage wins to the team’s tally following Julian Alaphilippe’s opening day victory, and winning the team its second green jersey in as many years.
Team DSM 2/10
What a contrast this was to last year’s race, when the team landed a surprising and glorious three stage wins.
Star-men Søren Kragh Andersen and Tiesj Benoot both dropped out during the second week, while Cees Bol did not have the legs to finish off any of the good lead-outs provided by his team-mates, meaning Casper Pedersen’s third-place from the break at Libourne was their best result.
EF Education-Nippo 4/10
A Tour which had so much promise petered out in the Pyrenees when Rigoberto Urán tumbled from second to t10th overall. The team had supplemented his GC bid with attacking racing from the likes of Sergio Higuita and Magnus Cort, but the best results they managed was a third-place finish each.
This was another Tour characterised by misfortune from a team that sometimes gives the impression that they spend their time in between races walking under ladders and smashing mirrors.
David Gaudu would likely have finished higher than 11th on GC had he not fallen sick midway through the race and was unlucky not to win a stage in the Pyrenees, while Arnaud Démare couldn’t get involved in the sprints after crashing on stage three and Stefan Küng came agonisingly close in the stage five time trial.
Ineos Grenadiers 6/10
If you’d have said at the start of the Tour that Ineos would place a rider on the podium, it would have sounded like a reasonable result, given the challenge they faced in overcoming Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič. But the disastrous circumstances in which Geraint Thomas, Richie Porte and Tao Geoghegan Hart all crashed out of contention so early on, and the manner in which they failed to either unsettle Pogačar in yellow or even come particularly close to a stage win, meant this felt like an underwhelming Tour even with Richard Carapaz sealing third-place on GC.
Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux 2/10
Still struggling to live up to their newfound WorldTour status, Intermarché failed to make any imprint at this year’s race, and even struggled to infiltrate many of the breakaways until the final week. Things became especially ugly when team boss Hilaire Van Der Schueren publicly criticised the riders in the press.
Israel Start-Up Nation 4/10
When Dan Martin, Michael Woods and Chris Froome all fell out of GC contention following crashes on the opening day, the team’s priority unambiguously became to chase stage wins, which makes their failure to do so especially disappointing. Woods impressed with his aggressive racing, however, and had a day in the polka-dot jersey.
Up until the Mont Ventoux stage Jumbo-Visma’s Tour was headed for disaster, with Primož Roglič and both of his GC back-up men Steven Kruijswijk and Sepp Kuss all already out of overall contention.
But everything changed on the Ventoux, where Wout van Aert ended what had been a string of frustrating near-misses to take the first of a sublime hat-trick of stage wins across all specialties, and where Jonas Vingegaard took a huge step towards sealing second overall on GC. Sepp Kuss also won a stage in Andorra to make it four wins for the Dutch squad.
The team was totally built around delivering Caleb Ewan for sprint wins, so it was a disaster when the Australian crashed out of the race on stage three.
The remaining riders gave it their all, with Brent Van Moer particularly impressive with his breakaway attempts and coming heartbreakingly close to holding on to victory in Fougeres, but the loss of their leader proved insurmountable.
Movistar Team 5/10
Crashes from Miguel Ángel López, Alejandro Valverde and Marc Soler during the opening stages left Enric Mas as Movistar’s sole GC rider, and the Spaniard rode with characteristic steadiness to finish sixth on GC.
However, with so much firepower they would have wanted a stage win, and although Imanol Erviti and Valverde finished second at Nîmes and Andorra respectively, the team were unusually subdued in the mountains.
Probably the most anonymous team at this year’s Tour was Qhubeka NextHash, so much so that new title sponsor NextHash barely got a mention. Sergio Henao was probably their most visible rider, but the others passed by largely unnoticed.
It was a typical French wildcard team outing for TotalEnergies, who were sufficiently active throughout and got into most of the breakaways. Pierre Latour was especially aggressive, and managed to be the first rider over the Tourmalet on stage 18, which begged the question of what he might have achieved had he distributed his efforts more efficiently rather than embarking on countless hopeless attacks.
Rather than rallying behind a GC bid for either Vincenzo Nibali and Bauke Mollema, Trek-Segafredo targeted the breakaways, and on more than one occasion mastermind scenarios where they had a numerical advantage. They were rewarded for their efforts on stage fourteen, when Mollema soloed to victory in Quillan.
UAE Team Emirates 10/10
Tadej Pogačar sealed UAE Team Emirates its second yellow jersey in as many years, and this was an altogether much more accomplished performance from the team, who controlled the race from the moment Pogačar took yellow in the Alps, provided adequate protection in the mountains, and made it to Paris with a full complement of riders.
Pogačar himself enjoyed a Tour for the ages, winning a time trial and back-to-back summit finishes in the Pyrenees after producing one of the most devastating attacks the Tour has ever seen on the Col de Romme, and ultimately winning yellow by the biggest margin since 2014.
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