A British rider is unlikely to win this year’s Tour de France, according to veteran broadcaster Simon Brotherton.
Having not won a single edition of the grand tour until 2012, British riders have won seven in the last 11 years.
Though there could be stage wins for Brits, an overall yellow jersey victory is improbable.
Brit chances on Tour de France
“Britain doesn’t have a rider in the race this year with the potential to win this year,” Brotherton told City A.M.
“But there are opportunities for British riders to enjoy success. The most famous of the current riders, Geraint Thomas, who has won the tour, he rode the Giro [d’Italia] and came second and he is riding the Vuelta [e’Espana] in September so that’s why he’s not at the tour.”
The British contingent at this year’s tour are Adam Yates of UAE Team Emirates, Fred Wright of Bahrain – Victorious, Ben Turner and Tom Pidcock of Ineos, Simon Yates of Team Jayco AlUla and James Shaw of EF Education-EasyPost. Mark Cavendish will also be in the mix for stage wins with Astana.
“Pidcock is an outstanding young talent,” Brotherton added. “And we don’t know what his ceiling is yet. Neither does he.
“He could be a Tour de France contender in the years to come. He won the blue ribbon event on the Alpe d’Huez last year, which is one of the [emphasised] stages to win – the Alpe d’Huez or Champs-Elysees are the iconic stages on tour.
“So for him to do that in his first tour was unbelievable. I think they’re slightly torn at Ineos this year because they know they don’t have someone capable of winning the tour but they’ve got some good young riders, Pidcock primary among them, and he is talking about going for stage wins. That’s a realistic possibility.
“But at the same time they might be interested to see how he can progress and potentially finish in the top five. Which would give them an idea going forwards.
“It will be interesting to see if they save him, see how he does and then put their eggs in that basket or whether they concentrate on stage wins.”
Cavendish has won the same number of Tour de France stages as Eddy Merckx (34) and has one final tour to surpass the Belgian before he retires later this year.
It would be romantic to see it happen on the Champs-Elysees, Brotherton, an ambassador for sponsor Skoda, said, but added that it’s good to see Cavendish given another chance at breaking the record. The marketing opportunities for his team Astana will, too, be huge if he breaks the record.
The tour begins in Spain on Saturday.
Škoda has been a key partner of the Tour de France since 2004. Over 20 years, Škoda has demonstrated unwavering support for riders and fans but also contribute to the development of the cycling community.