If there’s one thing sports fans can agree on, it’s the Tour de France. The jewel in the crown of professional cycling has had fans on the edge of their seat for well over a century. Let’s face it, the two-wheeled sport isn’t for everyone and can be an acquired taste, but when it’s time for Le Tour, the cycling world stands still.
The 3,500-kilometer race is a grueling 21-stage test of endurance, mental toughness, and teamwork. And, of course, every rider wants to be the one to wear the yellow jersey. But not everyone has the talent, mental fortitude, and luck to secure victory. Here are the riders that have done exactly that over the last decade.
2014: Vincenzo Nibali
Vincenzo Nibali became the tenth-ever Italian victor and just the second since 1965 when he rode to victory in 2014. His victory for the Kazakh team Astana was as impressive as it was important, with the sport being dragged through the mud by self-confessed drug cheat Lance Armstrong. The now-39-year-old was at the peak of his powers back then, and he managed to showcase his grit, determination, and talent, to ride down the Champs-Élysées to victory.
2015 – 2017: Chris Froome
Then came the reign of Chris Froome. The British cyclist had already won the coveted race back in 2013, becoming the second Brit ever to secure the yellow jersey, one year on from Sir Bradley Wiggins becoming the first British winner in the 109-year history of the event. What is it that they say about London buses?
After Froome crashed out on the cobbles of the Roubaix stage in 2014, and the Kenyan-born start would use that to fuel his fire of dominance. He would go on to win three Tours in a row between 2015 and 2017, cementing his place as one of the greatest cyclists that’s ever lived. Froome’s focus in recent years has been on the Vuelta a España and the Giro d’Italia, but there’s always a chance he could shake things up, with a popular cycling sportsbook pricing him as a +60000 outsider for next year’s race.
2018: Geraint Thomas
2018 was the year when Geraint Thomas proved that he’s not just a loyal team player but a true champion who can claim the ultimate prize. Despite being Froome’s teammate throughout his years of dominance, he didn’t back down from the challenge when attention turned to him as team leader. His steady riding and unwavering support from his team led him to victory, becoming the fifth Brit in six years to claim the yellow jacket. Business had certainly picked up for those London buses alright.
The Welshman was a popular pick to defend his title in 2019 but was ultimately forced to withdraw due to injury. That opened the door for…
2019: Egan Bernal
…Colombian Egan Bernal, who won the 2019 yellow jersey at the age of just twenty-two years old. His hill climbing is otherworldly and that was on full display four-and-a-half years ago as he stormed to glory, in his first Tour De France no less. His victory made him the youngest winner of the coveted race in over a decade.
2020 & 2021: Tadej Pogacar
Pogacar’s win in 2020 was nothing short of extraordinary, as he clawed back an almost insurmountable gap from his biggest rival, Primoz Roglic. But that wasn’t enough as he would successfully defend his crown the following year, becoming the 22nd man in history to win Le Tour multiple times. And that second win may well have been even more impressive than the first.
That year, he managed to overtake the previous leader, Primož Roglič, in a stunning upset on the final time trial.
2022 & 2023: Jonas Vingegaard
That’s right, Vingegaard is the reigning holder of the maillot jaune. And just like his Slovenian rival, he has managed to successfully retain his title. And it was his most recent victory in 2023 that was perhaps one of the finest performances on the winding French roads in history.
In 2022, the talented young Dane eeked out a victory with plenty of assistance from his teammates. Reigning champion Pogacar was a close second, finishing just two minutes and 43 seconds behind. However, that gap was stretched all the way out to seven-and-a-half minutes in 2023, the Vingegaard benefitting from selfless teammates once more.
He is the short-priced -135 favorite for glory once more next year, with his greatest rival shortly behind him in the betting odds at +200.
Here is a summary of the yellow jacket winners from the previous ten Tours de France. As usual, none of these riders will definitely win in 2024, but they could all become very popular. The Tour de France showcases athletes who are pushing the boundaries of athletics in every manner, bringing out the best in them. Earning the yellow jersey requires skill, passion, and dedication, and it is a great accomplishment. Every winner in the last ten years, from Nibali to Pogacar, has irrevocably changed the sport.