With not long to go until the start of the 2024 Tour de France, cycling enthusiasts and analysts alike are eagerly evaluating the form and readiness of this year’s General Classification (GC) contenders. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the key riders expected to battle for the yellow jersey, focusing on their recent performances and potential to excel in the upcoming race.

The 2024 Tour de France promises to be one of the most exciting editions in recent history. Major races leading up to the Tour, including the Giro d’Italia and the Critérium du Dauphiné, have given us insights into the fitness and form of the top contenders. As we approach the grand départ, let’s delve into the current status and expectations for each of these elite cyclists.

2024 Tour de France General Classification Contenders

Tadej Pogačar: The Favourite to Beat

With less than three weeks until the start of the 2024 Tour de France, the final countdown has begun. This year’s edition, the first in 121 years to finish outside Paris, promises to be an exciting one. Tadej Pogačar, fresh from a dominant performance at the Giro d’Italia, is a leading contender for the yellow jersey. His consistency in Grand Tours, including wins in 2020 and 2021 and podium finishes in every Tour he has entered, places him at the forefront of the favourites.

Pogačar’s 2024 has been nothing short of spectacular:

  • Strade Bianche: 1st
  • Milano-Sanremo: 3rd
  • Volta a Catalunya: Overall winner, with multiple stage wins and points classifications
  • Liège-Bastogne-Liège: 1st
  • Giro d’Italia: Overall winner with multiple stage wins and mountain classifications

His success in Italy, marked by the largest winning margin in nearly 50 years and six stage victories, has solidified his standing. His performance this season has demonstrated his ability to dominate various terrains, making him a versatile threat at the Tour. The key for Pogačar will be managing his recovery period effectively before the Tour de France.

Primoz Roglic

Primož Roglič: A Stealthy Contender

Primož Roglič could be Pogačar’s most challenging opponent, especially given Vingegaard’s uncertain status. Roglič has had a mixed season so far, with a quiet Paris-Nice and a stage win at Itzulia Basque Country before a crash set him back. Despite these setbacks, Roglič’s history of strong performances in stage races keeps him in the running. His strong third-place finish at the Critérium du Dauphiné confirms his readiness for the Tour.

Roglič’s team, Bora-Hansgrohe, has opted for a less intense build-up to the Tour, focusing on peaking in July. His experience and proven track record suggest he remains a key player, though his recent performances have been less than stellar.

Remco Evenepoel

Remco Evenepoel: The New Challenger

Remco Evenepoel, making his Tour de France debut, started his 2024 season impressively with wins in Portugal and strong finishes in Paris-Nice. However, a crash at Itzulia Basque Country and a broken collarbone have thrown his preparation into uncertainty. Like Roglič, Evenepoel used the Critérium du Dauphiné to gauge his readiness for the Tour, finishing a respectable fourth overall.

Despite his lack of Tour experience, Evenepoel’s Grand Tour victory and strong time trial abilities make him a serious contender. His main challenge will be adapting to the unique pressures of the Tour de France, which differs significantly from other Grand Tours.

Carlos Rodríguez: The Rising Star

Carlos Rodríguez has emerged as Ineos Grenadiers’ GC leader for the Tour de France. After a slow start to the year, Rodríguez showed significant improvement with a second place at Itzulia Basque Country and a win at the Tour de Romandie. His strong performance in the 2023 Tour, where he finished fifth overall, marks him as a promising contender.

Rodríguez’s goal will be to build on his previous successes and possibly aim for a podium finish. The white jersey, awarded to the best young rider, is also a realistic target for the 23-year-old. His fifth-place finish at the Critérium du Dauphiné highlights his solid form heading into the Tour.

Adam Yates

Adam Yates: The Reliable Backup

Adam Yates, Pogačar’s teammate at UAE Team Emirates, demonstrated his capabilities with a third-place finish and a stage win in the 2023 Tour. Despite a concussion setback earlier this year, Yates has been steadily building his form. His experience and past performances make him a dependable auxiliary leader should anything happen to Pogačar.

Yates’ absence from the Critérium du Dauphiné raises questions about his current form, but his experience and previous podium finishes suggest he remains a strong contender for a top-five finish.

Juan Ayuso: The Young Talent

Juan Ayuso is another promising rider from UAE Team Emirates. At just 21, Ayuso has already achieved significant results, including a third place in the 2022 Vuelta a España and a strong start to the 2024 season. His second-place finish at Tirreno-Adriatico and his stage win at Itzulia Basque Country highlight his potential.

Ayuso will support Pogačar in the Tour, but his talent suggests he could achieve a top-five finish if the opportunity arises. His performance in the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he finished in the top 10, provides further insights into his readiness for the Tour.

Enric Mas
Enric Mas

Enric Mas: The Steady Performer

Enric Mas, leading Movistar, is a consistent performer with two top-10 finishes in his five Tour appearances. Mas will aim for a top-five finish, relying on his experience and steady performance. It may be tough to see a win or a podium, however, especially after a quiet Dauphiné GC-wise. He might pivot to stage wins or a KoM battle. His 2024 results indicate solid enough form, including:

  • Tirreno-Adriatico: 12th Overall
  • Volta a Catalunya: 5th Overall
  • Tour de Romandie: 6th Overall

Richard Carapaz: The New Addition for EF

Racing in the pink of EF Education-EasyPost, Richard Carapaz brings a wealth of experience to the team. The Ecuadorian, a former Giro d’Italia winner, has shown promise this season with a stage win at the Tour Colombia and seventh overall at the Tour de Romandie. His recent move to EF marks a new chapter, and his goal will be to replicate his 2021 Tour de France third-place finish.

Jonas-Vingegaard-2023-Tour-de-France-Stage-17
Jonas Vingegaard

The Chasing Pack

The status of Jonas Vingegaard remains a significant question mark. After a severe crash at Itzulia Basque Country, his recovery continues. If he returns to full fitness, he will be a top contender but we’ll need to revisit this when it is confirmed. Egan Bernal has shown signs of returning to form, with strong performances this spring, but he won’t be Ineos Grenadiers’ main leader. Jai Hindley’s recent results have been less impressive, but he could still support Roglič effectively. Simon Yates and David Gaudu are other notable riders to watch, though their recent performances have been inconsistent.

As the Tour de France approaches, the Critérium du Dauphiné has provided crucial insights into the form and readiness of these riders, setting the stage for an exciting race in July.

Main photo credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images