The 2019 edition of the Tour de France could be quite
interesting – a host of big names are missing this year which means the stage
is set for emerging riders to stake their claim for the yellow jersey.
Fast-emerging Colombian all-rounder Egan Bernal is one of
the riders many expect to shine.
In the absence of his injured Team Ineos leader Chris Froome,
even the race organisers backing the 22-year-old for a tilt at the title.
Bernal joined Sky, now Ineos, in 2018 and on the back of an
immediate win at the Tour of California was drafted into last year’s Tour de
France, where he vowed to learn everything he could from four-time winner
Impressed with his astonishing progress, Ineos made Bernal
team leader for May’s Giro d’Italia but a fall ruled him out, and when Froome
himself suffered a dreadful fall in June, Bernal’s stock took a sharp rise.
“They’ve been talking about him since he won the Tour de L’Avenir two years ago,” Tour de France chief Christian Prudhomme told AFP this week.
“Then at Paris-Nice in March, Bernal took the yellow jersey and was presented with it by (all time great) Eddy Merckx!
“It was a hugely significant moment and made one think about what might come in the future, and now the future is coming, it’s this July.”
Prudhomme pointed out that it was 50 years since Merckx won
his first Tour, and that he felt maybe Bernal could take up the baton the great
Belgian once carried so bravely.
“I also noted how marvellously polite he is,” Prudhomme said of the 22-year-old.
“Of course he’s brilliantly talented too, there’s no doubt about it.
“There is the question of how will he do over three long weeks with the colossal pressure that you can’t imagine until you actually have the yellow jersey on your back. I’m not sure how he might feel.
“But I can tell you that last year, in the final week he was still there, at just 21 years old, helping Chris Froome at altitudes over 2000m.”
But there are 21 brutal stages of racing to get through
first. Here’s everything you need to know about how the route is set up this
2019 Tour de France: Overall route map
6 July – 194.5 km Bruxelles > Brussels.
7 July – 27.6 km Bruxelles Palais Royal > Brussels Atomium.
8 July – 215 km Binche > Épernay.
9 July 213.5 km Reims > Nancy.
10 July – 175.5 km Saint-Dié-Des-Vosges > Colmar.
11 July – 160.5 km Mulhouse > La Planche Des Belles Filles.
12 July -230 km Belfort > Chalon-Sur-Saône.
13 July – 200 km Mâcon > Saint-Étienne.
14 July -170.5 km Saint-Étienne > Brioude.
15 July – 217.5 km Saint-Flour > Albi.
Rest Day: 16 July
17 July – 167 km Albi > Toulouse.
18 July – 209.5 km Toulouse > Bagnères-De-Bigorre.
19 July – 27.2 km Pau > Pau.
20 July – 117.5 km Tarbes > Tourmalet Barèges.
21 July – 185 km Limoux > Foix Prat D’albis
Rest day: 22 July
23 July – 177 km Nîmes
24 July – 200 km Pont
Du Gard > Gap
25 July – 208 km
Embrun > Valloire
26 July – 126.5 km
Saint-Jean-De-Maurienne > Tignes
27 July – 130 km Albertville > Val Thorens.
28 July – 128 km Rambouillet > Paris Champs-Élysées.