Mads Pedersen is once again the primary focus for Lidl-Trek at the Tour de France, aiming for a stage win for the third consecutive year. The former World Champion is the standout name on the American squad’s roster, which has been affected by injuries and illnesses. The support squad is built around delivering him either in sprint finishes or the breakaway.

Last year’s King of the Mountains, Giulio Ciccone, is back on the start list after battling saddle sores earlier this season. The Italian will lead the team’s climbing efforts in the absence of their planned GC leader, Tao Geoghegan Hart, who is out due to a fractured rib and COVID-19.

Director sportif Steven de Jongh expressed his confidence in the team’s strength despite the changes. “Despite having to make some changes to our initial line-up due to illness and injury, I am incredibly confident in the strength of our Tour de France team,” said De Jongh.

Lidl-Trek’s 2024 Tour de France line-up announcement

Tour de France Line-up

Alongside leaders Pedersen and Ciccone, the team includes:
– Jasper Stuyven
– Carlos Verona
– Ryan Gibbons
– Tim Declercq
– Julien Bernard
– Toms Skujins

The race begins on 29th June in Florence.

Pedersen’s Versatility

Pedersen’s previous two wins at the Tour have demonstrated his versatility:
– A breakaway sprint into Saint-Etienne, beating Fred Wright
– An uphill sprint into Limoges, ahead of Jasper Philipsen

His ability to adapt makes him a strong contender for various stages. After winning a stage at his previous four Grand Tour appearances, Pedersen will be looking to maintain this record.

Support Squad Dynamics

Ryan Gibbons will be the last man in the lead-out for Pedersen, following their impressive stage 1 win at the Critérium du Dauphiné. However, the team will miss Alex Kirsch, a key part of the train and a close friend to Pedersen.

“Jasper [Stuyven] also comes in to replace an injured Alex [Kirsch], but we know after his Giro d’Italia performance and then the way he races in Belgium after, that he will be a valuable asset,” stated De Jongh.

Stuyven, a Milan-San Remo winner, is a strong replacement. He played a support role for Jonathan Milan during the Giro, and the Belgian hopes that Pedersen can replicate Milan’s success, who took three stage wins and the points jersey in Italy.

Ciccone’s Climbing Form

Ciccone arrives at the Tour after a strong return to form at the Dauphiné, where he took second on stage 6 and third on stage 7, finishing eighth overall despite a poor time trial. “Giulio [Ciccone] has been right on track after coming back from his health issues at the start of the year, and he was racing impressively at Critérium du Dauphiné, especially on those three final climbing stages,” noted De Jongh.

Main photo credit: Sprint Cycling Agency