Tour programming: who is present, who is absent, who is wearing what?

Wout Van Aert of Jumbo Visma has withdrawn from the Belgian National Championships where he was set to defend his road race title due to a minor knee injury which has created some concern over his participation in the Tour de France, starting in Denmark in just over a week. Van Aert apparently hit his knee against his bars during a workout, which resulted in mild knee pain. So far, they’re billing his decision to skip Nats as a way to secure his Tour participation, and barring significant symptoms, you can probably expect to see him in Copenhagen next week. There was some excitement surrounding the news that Wout would be free to chase after the green jersey, which he would be a decent bet to win. But if he’s at his best or can stay in the race after putting his knee to work, that’s the real concern. I hope it’s nothing.

Either way, teams lining up for the Tour de France tend to announce lineups now or very soon. If you want to follow the changes, Twitter is (as usual) the most immediate for particular decisions, but you can also follow the various changes on CyclingFever’s Tour start list, which they update daily, even more. Another reliable source is ProCyclingStat’s Tour Startlist, which also seems very up to date (as they are on many things).

Jumbo’s eight-runner roster was announced earlier this week, and the big news was the fall of Rohan Dennis. Today AG2R pulled out their team and left out Greg Van Avermaet, preferring to focus on climbers who can help Ben O’Connor after watching the former Olympic gold medalist struggle on the Dauphiné climbs. Just a hunch Van Avermaet was eyeing the cobbled stage in the Roubaix region, but no one believes it will go down as the classic spring event, given the rather polished nature of the cobbled sections involved. Stan De Wulf secured the team’s last spot, making his Grande Boucle debut.

Another runner on edge at the moment is Max Schachmann, who tested positive for COVID this week and will miss the Germany Nats, with hopes he will be fine in time to start in Copenhagen. His BORA Hansgrohe team has just seen Alexander Vlasov drop out of the Tour de Suisse despite leading the general classification, as part of a COVID wave that has decimated the ranks of the race. They’ve added Lennard Kämna to their tentative 10-runner roster, so both runners are TBD. Bahrain-Victorious lost Gino Mäder to COVID and announced he will not be making his Tour debut.

In the meantime, make way for another Tour tradition: new kits! Jumbo-Visma had announced theirs earlier in the year, and that’s something.

TO LIKE. Now it looks like BORA has released a special edition kit:

Reserved judgment but nothing to complain about. I believe INEOS has a special Tour kit with more white on it, but I haven’t seen a picture yet. Feel free to add more in the comments. Thanks!

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