There is an argument that cycling fans are the most sadistic of all sports. We love to see riders facing the toughest challenges. At Grand Tours, we like to think of the best cyclists facing the toughest climbs and steepest gradients.

We cheer when a winner crosses the line with barely an ounce of energy left after five hours of racing, and we revel in how a simple rain can turn a cobblestone or gravel stage into an unpredictable mud bath. The tougher the conditions, the more we marvel at the human endurance of our racing idols.

This desire for drama, pain and fun also makes us want to see the best racers go head-to-head. This brings us to next year’s Tour de France. Yes, we want to see the best riders in all the Grand Tours, but we also know that Le Tour is the pinnacle for riders, teams and sponsors, and next year’s event could be a potential classic. If 2022 was a brilliant spectacle, 2023 could be even better if all the big names stay fit and join the party.

The main contenders

So who could be in line in 2023? first, we have the reigning champion, Jonas Wingegaard and the man he knocked down, Thaddeus Pagachar. Who wouldn’t want to watch a Slovenian try to get revenge? The Dutchman was already recognized as the 7/4 favourite, with his rival not far behind. Stay tuned to Bodog for the latest pricing the best online sports betting in Canada can offer.

Then we have 2022 Vuelta a España winner Remko Evenepool, who has finally silenced his doubters by winning just the second Grand Tour he has competed in (he was forced to withdraw from the 2021 Giro due to injury) aged just 22 . Few riders have been so excited in recent years, but the Belgian lives up to it.

Next we have Primozh Roglich. The Team Jumbo–Visma rider failed to finish the Grand Tour in 2022, but has previously won three consecutive Vueltas and finished on the podium at the Giro (2019) and Tour de France (2020). The big question is whether Jumbo-Visma will put him and teammate Wingegaard together in Le Tour or set different Grand Tour targets for each.

The ones to watch

These are four drivers, all with a real chance of winning the race. And then we have a few other contenders that could make things interesting. Australian Jai Hindley won the Giro in 2022 and finished second in 2020, but he has yet to compete in the Tour de France. Could it be time for Bora–Hansgrohe to send it to France?

Then we have Egan Bernal. The Colombian has already won the Tour (2019) and the Giro (2021) and is making his way get back in shape after getting on the bus in training at the beginning of the year. He’s already exceeded all expectations in his recovery, but it might be too much to ask for him to be ready for another shot at an exhibition race.

Wout van Aert’s combative ride has made him one of the stars of the 2022 Tour de France. He won three stages, came second in four more and won the green jersey for the points classification. His sprinting profile means he probably won’t win the GC, but race fans can’t wait to see him rock Le Tour again.

Finally, we have the promising talent of Juan Ayuso. The 20-year-old Spaniard finished third in the 2022 Vuelta a España, his first in Grand Tour history. He also won the Giro U-23 in 2021, winning the pink, red, green and white jerseys. Many pundits believe he could be the surprise of the 2023 Tour de France if his team decides he is ready.

It might be asking too much for all eight riders to start in Le Tour, but even if four or five of them make it, we could be in for a race for the ages.

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