Santiago Buitrago appointed as Bahrain Victorious leader for Tour de France

Bahrain Victorious have named Santiago Buitrago as their general classification leader for the 2024 Tour de France. The 24-year-old Colombian, making his Tour debut, will be supported by a seasoned team, including Pello Bilbao, Wout Poels, and Matej Mohorič, all of whom won stages at last year’s Tour. Jack Haig returns for his fifth appearance, while Fred Wright, Nikias Arndt, and sprinter Phil Bauhaus also feature in the line-up.

Buitrago, who won mountain stages at the Giro d’Italia in 2022 and 2023, achieved his highest overall Grand Tour finish with 10th place at last year’s Vuelta a España. He also claimed victory atop Mont Brouilly at Paris-Nice in March and placed 11th overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné, showing strong form on the final mountain stages.

Buitrago shared his excitement: “I’m really excited about my first Tour de France, the team and I have been working hard over in Andorra at training camp, and I think at this Tour you need to be ready from the first stage. I am fighting to do my best in the GC, and there is really strong competition, but I know that if I follow my race, I can be up there with the best talents and also fight for the white jersey.”

Bilbao, who finished sixth overall in last year’s Tour and secured a stage win in Issoire, is also targeting a high overall finish. He recently warmed up by winning a stage at the Tour of Slovenia, where he placed second overall. “My ambitions obviously will be to try win another stage,” Bilbao said. “Last year it was one of the most intense emotions I’ve ever lived through in my cycling career, and I’d love to repeat it. There is nothing comparable to winning a stage at the Tour de France. Meanwhile, I will also be focusing on the GC and want to do my best possible race.”

Mohorič, the reigning gravel world champion, has previously won three stages at the Tour, including a memorable victory in Poligny on the 2023 race. He is particularly keen on stage 9 to Troyes and stage 18, which he sees as good opportunities for a breakaway. “Personally, the two stages I look forward to the most are the gravel stage and stage 18, which could be a good opportunity for the breakaway,” Mohorič said. “There will be other opportunities across the race as things never go as planned, and we need to embrace those opportunities.”

Bauhaus will lead the line in the bunch sprints, with Arndt serving as his lead-out man. The German sprinter made his Tour debut last year, placing second in Bayonne during the opening week and third in Nogaro and Moulins. He prepared for the Tour with a stage win at the Tour of Slovenia.

2024 Bahrain Victorious Tour de France line-up

  • Santiago Buitrago
  • Pello Bilbao
  • Wout Poels
  • Matej Mohorič
  • Jack Haig
  • Fred Wright
  • Nikias Arndt
  • Phil Bauhaus