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2024 Rider Tiers # 1: Who Are the Top Grand Tour Contenders Heading Into the New Season?

Grand Tour contenders 2024

2024 Rider Tiers Part 1: Who are the top Grand Tour contenders heading into the upcoming season? Spencer Martin breaks down where each major Grand Tour contender stands as we approach the 2024 season.

– This article is an excerpt from the Beyond the Peloton newsletter. Sign up here for full access. –

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Jumbo-Visma ‘probably’ wont will all three GT’s

With the start of the 2024 professional cycling season quickly approaching (even though it isn’t clear where we will be able to watch that season at the moment), I thought it would be instructive (as well as just fun) to revisit who the sport’s elite riders are at each major discipline (grand tours, one-classics & stage winning) heading into 2024 to give us a clearer view of what to expect when these major events roll around.

To kick things off, I am separating the top grand tour contenders into five tiers. To delineate them into tiers, I am taking into account 1) their results over the past four seasons, with results generated recently given more emphasis, 2) their age*, and, most importantly, 3) their likelihood to generate results (wins) in the 2024 season.

*rider age is taken from the start of 2024 cycling season

Why This Is Helpful

One major benefit of this exercise is the ability to objectively cut through the noise and see who the best riders in each discipline are. This is especially important in the modern landscape since there is an odd inversion where the less a rider produces, the more media coverage they receive. This inversion can create mismatched expectations amongst fans, and even teams/riders themselves, prior to grand tours when 1/4th of the field is being touted as potential winners and teams are devoting precious resources to GC campaigns of riders with no real chance of contending for podium spots.

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Who will be on the podium in Nice (no Paris in 2024)

The Criteria

While there is a nearly endless array of emerging grand tour talents, like Cian Uijtdebroeks, who may go on to fantastic careers as grand tour winners, to qualify for the top four tiers, a rider must have either won a grand tour in the past four seasons or landed in the top five at the Tour de France within the past two years.

  • As a general rule, these tiers are meant to be objective ratings that take a rider’s most recent GC results into account, but there are a few instances where riders with thin GC results, like Remco Evenepoel, are elevated and riders that would technically qualify for a tier, like Egan Bernal, are omitted due to recent results failing to show the required level to compete with the others.
  • Young talents with a high ceiling who may have the ability to make a massive step up from 2023 to 2024 but don’t have the results to land inside the top four will be relegated to the fifth tier.
    • Even though these riders rightfully create a lot of excitement and get significant attention, this theoretical upside is not accounted for in these tiers since most people vastly overestimate how close they are to actually converting their talent into a major grand tour win.
      • Of course, there is always a chance one of them replicates Remco Evenepoel’s 2022 season, where he came in with a history of strong but somewhat scattered, big-race results and won a one-day Monument, grand tour and world road race championship title, but, due to the unprecedented nature of the season, this is highly unlikely.

Below, each rider is listed in their BTP designated tier along with the age and team they will be racing at in 2024:

The Tiers

Tier 1

Reserved for riders who have proven an ability to win a grand tour against the sport’s best competition in recent years and have the ability to do so in 2024. This is obviously an incredibly select and elite group.

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Pogačar

Tadej Pogačar – (25) – UAE

  • 2023: 2nd overall@TDF
    • 7xTdF stage podium (2xTdF stage win)
  • 2022: 2nd overall@TdF
    • 5xTdF stage podium (3xTdF stage win)
  • 2021: 1st overall@TdF
    • 3xTdF stage podium (2xTdF stage win)
  • 2020: 1st overall@TdF
    • 4xTdF stage podium (2xTdF stage win)
      • GC Totals: 2xTdF overall win, 2xTdF runner-up
      • Stage Totals: 9xGT total stage wins, 19xGT total stage podiums

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Vingegaard

Jonas Vingegaard – (27) – Jumbo

  • 2023: 1st overall@TdF, 2nd overall@Vuelta
    • 4xTdF stage podium (1xTdF stage wins)
  • 2022: 1st overall@TdF
    • 4xTdF stage podium (2xTdF stage wins)
  • 2021: 2nd overall@TdF
    • 2xTdF stage podium
  • 2020: N/A
    • N/A
      • GC Totals: 2xTdF overall win, 1xTdF runner-up, 1xVuelta runner-up
      • Stage Totals: 3xGT total stage wins, 10xGT total stage podiums

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The top two

Tier 2

Riders who will be considered serious potential winners of the Tour de France in 2024 while also having a very good chance to finish on the overall podium. In addition, they will be considered favorites to win the rest of the sport’s grand tours if they are present.

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Roglič

Primož Roglič – (34) – Bora

  • 2023: 1st overall@Giro, 3rd overall@Vuelta
    • 2xGiro stage podium (1xGiro stage win), 4xVuelta stage podium (2xVuelta stage win)
  • 2022: N/A
    • 2xVuelta stage podium (1xVuelta stage win), 1xTdF stage podium
  • 2021: 1st overall@Vuelta
    • 6xVuelta stage podium (2xVuelta stage win), 2xTdF stage podium
  • 2020: 2nd overall@TdF, 1st overall@Vuelta
    • 6xVuelta stage podium (3xVuelta stage win), 4xTdF stage podium (1xTdF stage win)
      • GC Totals: 2xVuelta overall win, 1xGiro overall win, 1xTdF runner-up, 1xVuelta podium
      • Stage Totals: 10xGT total stage wins, 27xGT total stage podiums

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Evenepoel

Remco Evenepoel – (24) – QuickStep

  • 2023: N/A
    • 2xGiro stage podium (2xGiro stage wins), 6xVuelta stage podium (3xVuelta stage wins)
  • 2022: 1st overall@Vuelta
    • 3xVuelta stage podium (1xVuelta stage win)
  • 2021: N/A
    • N/A
  • 2020: N/A
    • N/A
      • GC Totals: 1xVuelta overall win
      • Stage Totals: 6xGT total stage win, 11xGT total stage podiums

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The next two

Tier 3

Riders who are able to win, but not be the outright favorite, at the sport’s two lesser grand tours (Giro & Vuelta), and are also legitimate contenders to compete for podium spots at the Tour de France in 2024.

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Adam Yates

Adam Yates – (31) – UAE

  • 2023: 3rd overall@TdF
    • 1xTdF stage podium (1xTdF stage win)
  • 2022: 9th overall@TdF
    • N/A
  • 2021: 4th overall@Vuelta
    • 1xVuelta stage podium
  • 2020: 9th overall@TdF
    • 1xTdF stage podium
      • GC Totals: 1xTdF overall podium
      • Stage Totals: 1xTdF stage win, 3xGT total stage podiums

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Thomas

Geraint Thomas – (38) – Ineos

  • 2023: 2nd overall@Giro
    • 3xGiro stage podium
  • 2022: 3rd overall@TdF
    • 1xTdF stage podium
  • 2021: N/A
    • N/A
  • 2020: N/A
    • N/A
      • GC Totals: 2xTdF podium, 1xGiro podium
      • Stage Totals: 4xGT total stage podium

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Kuss

Sepp Kuss – (29) – Jumbo

  • 2023: 1st overall@Vuelta
    • 3xVuelta stage podium (1xVuelta stage win)
  • 2022: N/A
    • N/A
  • 2021: N/A
    • 1xTdF stage win, 1xVuelta stage podium
  • 2020: N/A
    • N/A
      • GC Totals: 1xVuelta overall win
      • Stage Totals: 1xTdF stage win, 1xVuelta stage win, 5xGT total stage podiums

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Kuss, Yates and Thomas – Tier 3

Tier 4

These riders have an outside chance of winning and a better chance at podium finishes at the Giro and Vuelta in 2024. And if a few things break their way, they have an outside shot of finishing on the podium at the Tour de France.

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Geoghegan Hart

Tao Geoghegan Hart – (28) – Lidl-Trek

  • 2023: N/A
    • 1xGiro stage podium
  • 2022: N/A
    • N/A
  • 2021: N/A
    • N/A
  • 2020: 1st overall@Giro
    • 3xGiro stage podiums (2xGiro stage wins)
      • GC Totals: 1xGiro overall win
      • Stage Totals: 2xGiro stage wins, 4xGT total stage podiums

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Hindley

Jai Hindley – (27) – Bora

  • 2023: 7th overall@TdF
    • 1xTdF stage podium (1xTdF stage win)
  • 2022: 1st overall@Giro
    • 3xGiro stage podiums (1xGiro stage win)
  • 2021: N/A
    • N/A
  • 2020: 2nd overall@Giro
    • 3xGiro stage podiums (1xGiro stage win)
      • GC Totals: 1xGiro overall win, 1xGiro runner-up
      • Stage Totals: 3xGT total stage wins, 7xGT total stage podiums

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Simon Yates

Simon Yates (31) – Jayco

  • 2023: 4th overall@TdF
    • 2xTdF stage podiums
  • 2022: N/A
    • 2xGiro stage podiums (2xGiro stage win)
  • 2021: 3rd overall@Giro
    • 2xGiro stage podiums (1xGiro stage win)
  • 2020: N/A
    • N/A
      • GC Totals: 1xTdF overall top five, 1xGiro podium
      • Stage Totals: 3xGiro stage wins, 4xGT total stage podiums

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Is it time for the young guys?

Tier 5:

The sport’s elite young(ish) grand tour GC talent. Completely unproven as winners, but all have an impressive collection of top tens and podiums so far and will have great chances to finish on the podium, and perhaps even win, the 2024 Giro and/or Vuelta.

João Almeida – UAE- (25) – 4th@Giro 2020, 6th@Giro 2021, 5th@Vuelta 2022, 3rd@Giro 2023
Juan Ayuso – UAE- (21) – 3rd@Vuelta 2022, 4th@Vuelta 2023
Carlos Rodriguez – Ineos (23) – 7th@Vuelta 2022, 5th@TdF 2023
Thymen Arensman – Ineos (23) – 6th@Vuelta 2022, 6th@Giro 2023
Cian Uijtdebroeks – Bora – (21) – 8th@Vuelta 2023

Cian Uijtdebroeks
Uijtdebroeks

Top Riders Who Missed Out

Illustrating just how difficult it is to stay in the top tiers of grand tour GC contention, below are three extremely high-quality riders whose recent Palmeres didn’t allow them to qualify for the tiers above, plus Egan Bernal, who, despite technically qualifying due to his 2021 Giro d’Italia victory, just simply hasn’t shown the requisite ability to compete with the new group of GC stars after his off-season crash between the 2021 and the 2022 seasons.

  • In particular, Bernal’s struggles to stay with the lead breakaway group on relatively mild climbs on Stage 18 of the 2023 Vuelta were an indicator that he could likely struggle to get back to his former climbing level.

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Mas

Enric Mas – (28) – Movistar

  • 2023: 6th@Vuelta
  • 2022: 2nd@Vuelta
  • 2021: 2nd@Vuelta
  • 2020: 5th@Vuelta
    • Podium Totals: 2xVuelta podium

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Carapaz

Richard Carapaz – (30) – EF

  • 2023: N/A
  • 2022: 2nd@Giro
  • 2021: 3rd@TdF
  • 2020: 2nd@Vuelta
    • Podium Totals: 1xGiro runner-up, 1xVuelta runner-up, 1xTdF podium

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Landa

Mikel Landa – (34) – QuickStep

  • 2023: 5th@Vuelta
  • 2022: 3rd@Giro
  • 2021: N/A
  • 2020: 4th@TdF
    • Podium Totals: 1xGiro overall podium

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Bernal

Egan Bernal – (27) – Ineos

  • 2023: N/A
  • 2022: N/A
  • 2021: 1st overall@Giro
  • 2020: N/A
    • Totals: 1xGiro win

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UAE top team

Key Takeaways:

1) The top Grand Tour GC talent is concentrated within a few top teams

  • Tier breakdown by team:
    UAE: 1xTier 1, 1xTier 3, 2xTier 5
    Jumbo-Visma: 1xTier 1, 1xTier 3
    Bora: 1xTier 2, 1xTier 4, 1xTier 5
    Ineos: 1xTier 3, 2xTier 5
    Soudal-QuickStep: 1xTier 2
    Lidl-Trek: 1xTier 4
    Jayco-Alula: 1xTier 4
  • The major takeaway from this list is just how concentrated grand tour success is within a few teams and even just a handful of riders within those select teams.
    • In fact, despite there being 22 teams that consistently compete in the top-level races (18 WorldTour teams plus four second-division teams), only seven have grand tour GC contenders that even qualify for the top five tiers of this exercise.
      • Further underlining this inequality, no team has a rider in the up-and-coming 5th tier that doesn’t also have a rider in the four tiers above.
    • Three riders, Vingegaard, Pogačar, and Roglič, have won seven out of the twelve grand tours (58%) since the start of the 2020 season, which shows just how strong the delineation is between the top tier and the rest of the field.

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Next up Jumbo-Visma

2) Jumbo has taken a step back, while Bora is on the rise heading into the 2024 season

  • Jumbo and UAE are still the only two teams with Tier 1 riders, but their advantage over the rest of the field has significantly decreased since last year due to Bora taking a massive step up by acquiring Primož Roglič’s contract from Jumbo, and actually having more tiered riders than Jumbo (3 vs 2).
    • Interestingly, UAE has also overtaken Jumbo both in terms of doubling the amount of total tiered riders (4 vs 2) while also matching their number of Tier 1 riders.
    • Below the top two, Ineos has three tired riders, but they lack a single superstar capable of entering a grand tour as an outright favorite in 2024.
      • Interestingly, the veteran Geraint Thomas has actually increased his tier from last year by going from 4 to 3, but the loss of Tao Geoghegan Hart, who looked incredible before crashing out of the 2023 Giro, has been a massive loss for Ineos.

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Thomas still has it

3) These tiers also speak to the difficulty of not only winning a grand tour, but sustaining that success.

  • While riders like Jai Hindley and Remco Evenepoel have won grand tours in recent years, neither have, at least so far, been able to replicate that success.
    • Also, fairly recent grand tour winners like Richard Carapaz and Egan Bernal have fallen out of the tiers completely, one through not having the recent palmers to qualify and the other due to failing to show the quality necessary to challenge for grand tour victories against modern talents.

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Bernal: Tour winner to domestique?

4) Consistent rider growth and improvement is underrated.

  • Young riders like Juan Ayuso, Carlos Rodriguez, and Cian Uijtdebroeks are extremely highly touted at the moment, but it is important to point out that Enric Mas is producing nearly the same results but without the fanfare and excitement due to being just a few years older.
    • It might sound absurd considering these riders’ young ages, but, as soon as a rider starts producing GC results, it is important for them to continually improve to become a top star and avoid falling into the Mas/Landa zone of being able to finish in the top five consistently, but fail to seriously challenge for overall victory.

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Landa and Mas – A GT win too far

5) The top GC contenders who also dominate the stage podium totals will be incredibly difficult to beat

  • The lopsided stage podium totals and, as a result, the massive time bonus advantage that comes with it, show us that, at least in the near future, the established superstars class will be extremely difficult to unseat if they take the start line fit and healthy since riders like Thomas and Hindley will have to be a level above, either in poaching time through savvy tactics during transition stages or in the time trials, if they want to beat the more well-rounded riders in the top tier.
    • Vingegaard’s being head-and-shoulders above the rest on long climbs and time trials have rendered it a moot point so far, but his stage win/podium totals lagging behind Pogačar and Roglič signals a potential weakness that could be exploited at the 2024 Tour.
    • The only GC contender that appears capable of challenging Pogačar, Vingegaard, and Roglič for stage podiums and time bonuses is Evenepoel, who has quickly developed an ability to sprint and contest fast uphill finishes.

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Can anyone beat the top two?

– This article is an excerpt from the Beyond the Peloton newsletter. Sign up here for full access. –

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