Could it be that there’s not enough Grand Tours to go around? That is the view of Bradley Wiggins as yet more world-class young riders emerge at the Tour de France.
Tadej Pogacar and Sepp Kuss’s impressive performances during Stage 17 of the Tour was a further indication that the new wave of cycling talent is one to be reckoned with.
However, with just three Grand Tours in a year and plenty of talented ‘older’ cyclists still operating at the very highest level, Wiggins has warned that some of these riders will fail to win a Grand Tour at all during their career, with even Pogacar not odds-on to win one of the biggest stage races.
There aren't enough Grand Tours to go around for cycling's talented new generation - Wiggins
“We seem to have so many young riders, there’s (Egan) Bernal, Pogacar, Sepp Kuss… can they make it and win a Grand Tour now?” asked Wiggins.
“There’s Mathieu van der Poel; we’ve got such a gaggle of talent that all could potentially win, someone’s got to miss out.
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“There’s only so many Grand Tours to go around and the Tour de France is one that a lot of riders tend to target. But there’s Adam Yates, Simon Yates…
Someone’s going to miss out over the ensuing years aren’t they, but it’s fantastic that we’ve got that much talent to talk about.
Roglic was playing cat and mouse with Pogacar - Wiggins
“Last year we saw Bernal winning the Tour at 21, Pogacar has done this now, we saw young riders during the week winning stages – Kamna and Hirschi,” Wiggins continued.
“We’ve been saturated this Tour with young riders flourishing and it’s great for the future of this sport, it really is. Because as the likes of Richie Porte and these guys drift off into retirement in the next few years the sport will be in a great place and it’s really reassuring to see that.”
Wiggins’ fellow pundit on the Breakaway was Eurosport commentator Sean Kelly, who agreed that there is a wealth of talent coming through.
However, Kelly believes that Pogacar has raised himself above many of his fellow youngsters with the consistency of his performances as he challenges for the general classification at the Tour de France.
“I think talking about the young guys coming up, winning stages is one thing in a three-week Tour, but to be up there where Pogacar is in general classification is something special,” the four-time green jersey winner said.
“For the future it’s pretty guaranteed he’ll win a Tour. The concern I had in this Tour de France was that Pogacar might struggle a little bit with the level at the Tour because he’s younger and hasn’t ridden the big Tours, but not at all, he’s shown that he’s very much in the shake-up to win the stage outright.”
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