There are seven Americans taking the start at the 109th edition of the Tour de France which sets off from Copenhagen, Denmark on Friday. All from different teams, they include: Matteo Jorgenson of Movistar, Brandon McNulty of UAE Emirates, Sepp Kuss of Jumbo Visma, Nielson Powless of EF Education EasyPost, Quin Simmons of Trek Segafredo, Kevin Vermaerke of Team DSM and Joe Dombrowski of Astana Qazaqstan.
Responsibilities and expectations will vary greatly within this group. Riders like McNulty and Kuss will no doubt be expected to be in the midst of the action in the most critical moments of the three-week race but it’s less clear what kind of roles the rest will play.
Something that’s glaringly apparent for this group, with the exception of Dombrowski, is youth. Five of the seven riders are 25 and younger. Even so, it’s a group of highly capable riders who will likely feature prominently on the front and in breaks throughout the race this year and for years to come.
Let’s meet the riders:
Hometown: Durango, Colorado
Team: Jumbo Visma
Top Result: 8th GC Vuelta España (‘21), 1st Stage 15 Tour de France (‘21)
Kuss is a member of arguably one of the strongest Grand Tour team’s in history. Jumbo Visma’s 2022 Tour roster is absolutely stacked. With Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard, they have two riders capable of winning the race.
Just to be named to this year’s Jumbo Visma’s eight-man Tour roster is an epic accomplishment in itself, and Kuss will help shepherd his two team captains in the mountain stages of the second and third week.
Kuss has previously tasted victory at the Tour himself with a solo mountain-top stage win last year — becoming the first American since 2011 to win a stage at the Tour.
This will be Kuss’s third appearance at the Tour, and he’ll certainly feature prominently on the front of the GC contenders in the critical high mountain stages.
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Team: UAE Emirates
Top Result: 11th Critérium du Dauphiné (‘22)
McNulty will have his work cut out for him at this year’s Tour. He’ll play an important support role for the two-time defending Tour de France champion, Tadej Pogačar who’s looking to add a third consecutive title to his name.
McNulty is quickly establishing himself as a future star of the sport. He’s a strong climber who can time trial and win races. He rode to an impressive 11th in the general classification at the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month and was 12th overall at Paris -Nice.
With two early season victories at Faune-Ardeche Classic in February and Trofeo Calvia in January, McNulty is having a fabulous season and looks to have a very bright future indeed.
Hometown: Marshall, Virginia
Team: Astana Qazaqstan
Top Result: 1st Stage Four Giro d’Italia (‘22)
Especially compared to the rest of the names in this group, Dombrowski has moved to veteran status in the WorldTour peloton. Having spent the past nine seasons racing for some of the sport’s top teams, Dombrowski is finally making his Tour de France debut with his new team, Astana Qazaqstan.
Dombrowski raced the Giro d’Italia in May and will be making a relatively quick turnaround to racing the Tour just four weeks later.
Dombrowski will likely be riding in support of Astana’s GC hope, Alexey Lutsenko but will also use his experience to try his hand at a stage win from a breakaway if the opportunity presents itself.
Hometown: Sacramento, California
Team: EF Education Easy Post
Top Result: 1st Classica San Sebastian (‘21)
Powless is a late addition to EF’s Tour roster. Powless rode to an impressive fourth place overall at the Tour de Suisse where he narrowly missed a stage win on stage five. He’s a proven allrounder who took an incredible victory at the punchy monument, Classica San Sebastian last year.
Look for Powless to feature in breakaways and as an important lieutenant for his team’s GC leader, Rigoberto Uran.
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Top Result: 13th Critérium du Dauphiné (‘22)
Jorgenson, whose 23rd birthday happens to coincide with the Grand Depart of the Tour, is in his third year with Movistar.
Jorgenson has become known for his special combination of climbing ability, raw power and superb bike handling skill.
Look for Jorgenson to pilot the way for Movistar’s team captain, Enric Mas, who has had a slow start to the season but finished second overall at last year's Vuelta España.
In preparing for the Tour, Jorgenson went to altitude camp at Isola 2000, a ski resort that’s a short drive from his coastal home base of Nice, France.
Hometown: Durango, Colorado
Team: Trek Segafredo
Top Result: 1st GC Tour de Wallonie (‘21), Mountains Classification Tour de Suisse (‘22)
Simmons is another star of the future who’s already racking up serious results. He’s already won the climbing jersey at Tour de Suisse and Tirreno-Adriatico this season, and could well be in the hunt to do the same at the Tour.
With a top ten finish at Strade Bianche earlier this season and a stage win that led to a GC crown at the Tour de Wallonie, Simmons is proving himself.
At just 21, we are probably only beginning to see what’s possible for Simmons. Look for him to feature prominently in hilly breakaways throughout the three weeks of racing.
Hometown: Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Team: Team DSM
Top Result: 4th Stage 2 Criterium du Dauphine (‘22)
At just 21, Vermaerke is by far the least experienced of this group. Despite being new to the WorldTour, Vermaerke had a strong start to the season with an 11th overall at the Tour of Oman in February.
After not finishing Paris-Nice, Vermaerke’s spring calendar was stacked with Belgian single-day races where he worked for his team leaders.
He’s proven that he can stage race with solid performances at the Tour of Norway and at Critérium du Dauphiné. Now in his second full season with Team DSM, Vermaerke has the opportunity to ride for the likes of Romain Bardet at the biggest race of the year.
It’s fair to say that Vermaerke is just getting started.
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Marshall is a freelance writer from Missoula, Montana. He road raced throughout the U.S. and Europe with the US U23 National Team. Marshall has worked as a bike tour guide, brand marketer, and promoter of two wheeled stoke. In 2019 he traveled the U.S. racing, riding, and reporting on the sport of gravel. Marshall's aim is to help grow the sport of cycling by telling stories that hold the door open for people to become riders.