Could Next Year’s Tour de France be the Greatest Showdown in Years?

There is an argument that cycling fans are the most sadistic in all sports. We love to see riders facing the cruellest of challenges. At the Grand Tours, we revel at the thought of the best cyclists facing the toughest climbs and the steepest gradients.

We cheer when the winner crosses the line with barely an ounce of energy left to give after five hours of racing and we take delight in knowing that a simple rain shower could transform a cobble or gravel stage into an unpredictable mud bath. The harder the conditions, the more we are amazed at the human endurance of our racing idols.

This desire for drama, pain and entertainment also compels us to want to see the best riders going head-to-head. This brings us on to next year’s Tour de France. Yes, we want to see top riders at all the Grand Tours, but we also know that Le Tour is the pinnacle for the riders, teams, and sponsors and next year’s event could be a potential classic. If 2022 was a brilliant spectacle, 2023 could be even better if all the big names stay fit and join the party.

The main contenders

So, who could be lining up in 2023? First up, we have reigning champion Jonas Vingegaard and the man he knocked off his perch, Tadej Pogačar. Who wouldn’t want to watch the Slovenian try to get revenge? The Dutchman has already been installed as the 7/4 favourite with his rival close behind. For the latest prices, keep an eye on Bodog for the best action online sports betting in Canada has to offer.

Then we have the 2022 Vuelta a España winner, Remco Evenepoel, who finally silenced his doubters by winning only the second Grand Tour he has entered (he was forced out of the 2021 Giro through injury) aged just 22. Few riders have been so hyped in recent years but the Belgian is living up to it.

Next up we have Primoz Roglic. The Team Jumbo–Visma rider failed to finish a Grand Tour in 2022 but previously won three Vueltas in a row and has finished on the podium of the Giro (2019) and the Tour de France (2020). The big question is whether Jumbo-Visma will put him and teammate Vingegaard in Le Tour together or set different Grand Tour targets for each.

Ones to watch

That’s four riders all with a realistic chance of winning the race. And then we have a handful of other contenders who could make things interesting. Australian Jai Hindley won the Giro in 2022 and finished second in 2020 but he has yet to take on the Tour de France. Could it be time for Bora–Hansgrohe to send him to France?

Then we have Egan Bernal. The Colombian has already won the Tour (2019) and the Giro (2021) and is making his way back to form after hitting a bus in training earlier in the year. He has already surpassed all expectations in his recovery, but it may be too much to ask for him to be ready in time for another shot at the showpiece race.

Wout van Aert’s combative riding made him one of the stars of the 2022 Tour de France. He won three stages, came second in four more, and won the green jersey for the points classification. His sprint profile means he probably won’t win the GC but racing fans can’t wait to see him shake up Le Tour once again.

Finally, we have the up-and-coming talent of Juan Ayuso. The 20-year-old Spaniard finished third in the 2022 Vuelta a España, his first-ever Grand Tour. He also won the U-23 Giro in 2021, winning the pink, red, green, and white jerseys. Many pundits believe he could be the surprise package of the 2023 Tour de France providing his team decides he is ready.

It might be too much to ask for all eight riders to start Le Tour but even if four or five of them make it, we could be treated to a race for the ages.