Egan Bernal and Carlos Rodríguez at the Tour de Romandie.

Glimmers of hope: Can Ineos get back on track at the Tour de France?

Egan Bernal says he is preparing for the Tour, where Ineos should have a pretty good lineup for the first time in a while.

Dane Cash
by Dane Cash 01.05.2024 Photography by
Cor Vos
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Once the dominant stage racing team in men’s cycling, the Ineos Grenadiers went the entire 2023 season without winning a WorldTour stage race – but there are glimmers of hope at long last for the team this after Carlos Rodríguez secured the overall win at the Tour de Romandie.

He did it with the help of some stellar teamwork, as Egan Bernal (who finished 10th overall) put the hammer down and dropped several riders on the queen stage in a style reminiscent of Sky teams long past. In the aftermath of that race, Bernal said on Instagram that he was now back home in Colombia “to prepare for a good Tour de France,” where is set to join Rodríguez, Tom Pidcock, and Geraint Thomas in June.

Given that lineup and the circumstances across the greater WorldTour racing scene right now, a podium at this summer’s Tour could actually be within reach this year.

We know what you’re thinking. For past iterations of this team, which won seven of eight Tours between 2012 and 2019, that would have been a low bar to clear. But the British WorldTour outfit has surely lowered expectations by this point, and that would make sense after spending so long in the doldrums. The current Ineos crop of Grand Tour hopefuls give the team something to build around, and maybe some optimism for the first time in a long while.

Given the uncertainty around the Tour participation of reigning champ Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) after his bad crash at the Itzulia Basque Country, the upcoming Tour suddenly seems wide open, and thus it would make sense for every other stage racer in the pro peloton to suddenly wonder how they might fare in France. What’s more, Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) is also recovering from injury, Primož Roglič (Bora-Hansgrohe) has not looked like himself so far in 2024, and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) will have a Giro d’Italia in his legs by the time the Tour rolls out from Florence on June 29.

Carlos Rodríguez at the Tour de Romandie.
Carlos Rodríguez showed his strength against the clock and on the climbs en route to his Romandie win.

With all that in mind, who’s to say youngsters Carlos Rodríguez and Tom Pidcock can’t be in the mix at the very top end of the standings? Rodríguez, a capable all-rounder, already finished fifth at the Tour in his debut appearance in 2023 and now he has another year under his belt. Pidcock has shown flashes of brilliance so far in his young career on the road and should only get better as he continues to hone his focus on stage racing. Meanwhile, Bernal looks as strong as he has since the horrible crash in January 2022 that derailed his career, and at 27 years old he should just now be in his prime even if his career arc has been filled with ups and downs so far.

If any one of those riders can climb onto the Tour podium – or even be in contention for the win amid a field suddenly plagued with question marks – it would mark a major bounceback and a reason for renewed hope at the once-dominant team that has been looking for an heir to the Grand Tour contender throne for a few years now.

Finally, there’s Thomas, who will also be coming to the Tour with a Giro in his legs, but whose track record in France is nothing to sneeze at. Seeing as the 37-year-old Welshman has been racing in what he himself has called “the twilight” of his career for a while now, Thomas would not create as much optimism for the team’s longterm future with a podium performance at the Tour, but it would at least be a big morale boost to hold the squad over into 2025 as the youngsters continue to develop.

In short, Ineos has plenty of reasons to be hopeful as Grand Tour season unfolds, and that has to feel good after such a lengthy stretch of disappointment. Then again, if none of the aforementioned riders in such a promising GC stable manages to perform at the Tour later this year, it will be all the more disappointing given those glimmers of hope.

First up before the Tour de France, of course, is the Giro, where Thomas is hoping to go one better than last year after he came so close to the overall win in 2023. To do that, he just needs to overhaul the rider who finally broke the Ineos stranglehold at the Tour back in 2020: Tadej Pogačar.

Only time will tell whether Ineos can challenge the Slovenian superstar at either of the next two Grand Tours.

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