2017 Tour de France Power Ranking

Like life, the Tour de France is more fun when you know something about other people. Here’s a brief primer on all 198 riders who will set off July 1st from Düsseldorf:

The Billboard Boys

The best these rider can hope for is to earn some TV time for their team sponsors by getting in the breakaway:

198. Reto Hollenstein (Swi)

197. Dion Smith (NZl)

196. Frederik Backaert (Bel)

195. Thomas Degand (Bel)

194. Marco Minnaard (Ned)

193. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita)

192. Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kaz)

189–91. Matteo Bono (Ita), Marco Marcato (Ita) and Manuele Mori (Ita): these three Italians on team UAE-Emirates are each not named Mario

188. Javier Moreno (Spa)

187. Luis Angel Mate (Spa)

186. Jos van Emden (Ned)

185. Jasha Sütterlin (Ger)

The Indistinguishable Frenchmen

Free baguettes for life if any of these cavaliers manage to survive in the breakaway and win a stage. Otherwise, there’s no reason to know who they are.

184. Christophe Laporte (Fra)

183. Cyril Lemoine (Fra)

182. Florian Senechal (Fra)

181. Elie Gesbert (Fra)

180. Romain Hardy (Fra)

179. Laurent Pichon (Fra)

178. Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra)

177. Rudy Molard (Fra)

176. Yoann Offredo (Fra)

175. Cyril Gautier (Fra)

174. Julien Simon (Fra)

173. Thomas Boudat (Fra)

172. Yohann Gene (Fra)

171. Adrien Petit (Fra)

170. Perrig Quemeneur (Fra)

169. Angelo Tulik (Fra)

168. Maxime Bouet (Fra): the only notable name of this bunch; famous for epitomizing the career of an anonymous French rider

The Water Buffalos

These riders will compete with each other to see how many ice-cold bottles they can stuff down their spandex to bring to their teammates.

167. Luke Rowe (GBr)

166. Ian Stannard (GBr)

165. Marcus Burghardt (Ger)

164. Albert Timmer (Ned)

163. Dylan van Baarle (Ned)

162. Julien Vermote (Bel)

161. Kristijan Durasek (Cro)

160. Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)

159. Mickaël Delage (Fra)

158. Michael Valgren Andersen (Den)

157. Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz)

156. Dimitri Claeys (Bel)

155. Paul Martens (Ger)

154. Imanol Erviti (Spa)

153. Nathan Brown (USA): Brown is one of only three A’mur’cans in the race this year, tied for the fewest since 1995, which was a simpler and less dopey time

Faces for the Future

These are the no-names most likely to be names-to-know 5 years down the line

152. Jay McCarthy (Aus): no relation to Joe, Jesse, Paul, or Cormac

151. Michal Gogl (Aut)

150. Nils Politt (Ger): after getting 3rd at the recent Germany time trial championships, some are pegging Politt as the next Tony Martin

149. Alberto Bettiol (Ita): could emerge as the Classics (one-day racing) star Italy has long been seeking

148. Guillaume Martin (Fra)

147. Olivier Le Gac (Fra): name is French for “The Gac”

146. Lilian Calmejane (Fra)

#neat stories

If these riders find themselves in the breakaway, you can bet the announcers will mention the following:

145. Mike Teunissen (Ned): under-23 world champ in cyclocross

144. Ondrej Cink (Cze): only started road cycling when he couldn’t get a contract mountain biking

143. Koen de Kort (Ned): from Gouda, Holland, home of the cheese

142. Markel Irizar (Spa — but Basque): at age 22 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer yet went on to have a successful cycling career that didn’t involve a massive doping scandal and being a jerk

141. Robert Kišerlovski (Cro): 2012 crashed out with a broken collerbone in the 2012 Tour because an idiot poured tacks on the road

140. Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg): kicked out of 2015 Tour de France for taking a ride in another team’s car

139. Andriy Grivko (Ukr): kicked out of the Tour of Dubai earlier this year for punching Marcel Kittel in the head

138. Yukia Arashiro (Jap): in 2009, he became the 1st Japanese national to complete the Tour de France

135–7. Borut Bozic (Slo), Grega Bole (Slo), Janez Brajkovic (Slo): the three Bahrain-Merida teammates all hail form Slovenia, which randomly boasts the highest per-capita number of pro bike racers in the world

134. Tsgabu Grmay (Eth): in 2012 he became the first Ethiopian professional cyclist

The Old Farts

133. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa): the 40-year-old was added to the Trek roster last-minute after teammate Andre Cardoso had an “Adverse Analytical Finding” (aka got caught taking EPO)

132. Adam Hansen (Aus): age 36 and the favorite rider of the best internet cycling commentator, Cosmo Catalano. Hansen has finished a record 16 consecutive Grand Tours.

131. Mat Hayman (Aus): the 39-year-old’s career moment came last season with a victory in Paris-Roubaix, the premiere one-day spring race.

130. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra): 37; has the 2nd-most days wearing the yellow jersey to his name among active Frenchmen behind Voeckler

129. Thomas Voeckler (Fra): 38; the most popular French is treating this race as his farewell Tour. Best known for two 10-day stretches in the yellow jersey (2004, 2011)

The Tommie Voeckler Memorial Pain Face-Makers

When the racing gets tough, these guys’ grimaces will let you know:

128. Daryl Impey (RSA): in 2013 became the first ever South Africa to lead the Tour 
 127. Pawel Poljanski (Pol): will crank the screws for Rafa Majka

126. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita): won the overall combativity award in 2014

125. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel): also has one of the best hair-cuts in the bunch

124. Simon Clarke (Aus): 3 career Grand Tour combativity awards

123. Matteo Trentin (Ita): has 2 Tour stage wins to his name

122. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz): most likely to take Alexander Vinokourov’s place as the most unlikeable good Kazak rider

121. Maciej Bodnar (Pol): basically single-handedly (or rather, double-leggedly) delivered teammate Peter Sagan to victory in the crosswinds on Stage 11 last year

The Vin-chen-zo Nee-BAH-Lee Memorial Announcer’s Hate These Riders

Tour de France homework: by July 23rd find out how these guys pronounce their names:

120. Jens Keukeleire (Bel)

119. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel)

118. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel)

117. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr)

116. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA)

115. Scott Thwaites (GBr)

Announcer’s Love These Riders

With the rider named Rohan (Dennis) not starting these year, the voice-men will instead have to make fun with these:

114. Roy Curvers (Ned): great at windy descents

113. Maurits Lammertink (Ned): Lammertink about a joke about him and I’ll get back to you …

112. Paddy Bevin (NZl): Paddy’s first Tour won’t be a cake-walk

111. Florian Vachon (Fra): last name’s French for “Cowherd;” no relation to the annoying ESPN guy

110. Ignatas Konovalovas (Lit): Lithuanian time trial and road race champion

109. Jaco Venter (RSA): his real name is Jacobus

108. Tom Leezer (Ned): his real name is Thomas

107. Timo Roosen (Ned): his real name is Timo

106. Robert Wagner (Ger): if he wins it’ll be “a Ride of the Valkyries”

105. Axel Domont (Fra): son of Handlebar Tape Domont

104. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned): recently attracted controversy because the flag on his Dutch national-champion jersey wasn’t big enough

103. Jack Bauer (NZl): the clock ticks by extra dramatically when he’s in the lead. Also, his real first name is Hans.

102. Tony Gallopin (Fra): Tony galloped into the yellow jersey for a stint in 2014

101. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita): the Tour’s most Italian name

100. Lars Bak (Den): apparently only the second most famous “Lars Bak” in the world (a Javascript expert is 1st on google results)

99. Zdenek Stybar (Cze): my favorite name in the peloton

98. Pierre Latour: look for Latour to shine in le Tour’s later mountain stages

The Beards

Facial hair is not #aero. These guys don’t care:

97. Danilo Wyss (Swi)

96. Damien Howson (Aus)

95. Laurens ten Dam (Ned):

94. Simon Geschke (Ger): holds the record for best beard to ever win a Tour stage

The Family Men

In endurance sports, good genes can’t hurt:

93. Arthur Vichot (Fra) — uncle Federic won stages at the Tour de France in 1984 and 1985.

92. Juraj Sagan (Svk) — brother and teammate Peter has won the last four green jerseys

91. Amaël Moinard (Fra) NOT to be confused with Bruno Moinard, proprietor of sumptuous French furniture

90. Rick Zabel (Ger) — his father Erik won 12 TdF stages

89. Nicolas Roche (Irl) — his father Stephen won the 1987 Tour de France

88. Taylor Phinney (USA) — his father Davis won two Tour stages and an Olympic Bronze medal. He’s the best U.S. bet to take a stage win this year.

The Lead-out Men

The job of these riders is to deliver their sprinters the front of the peloton 250 meters from the finish (but rarely does that go according to plan):

87. Michael Schär (Swi): working for van Avermaet

86. Nikias Arndt (Ger): working for Matthews

85. Marco Haller (Aut): working for Kristoff, who’s still grumpy his usual lead-out man wasn’t selected for the Katusha roster

84. Davide Cimolai (Ita): working for Demare

83. Jacopo Cuarnieri (Ita): also working for Demare

82. Marcel Sieberg (Ger): working for Greipel

81. Geoffrey Soupe (Fra): working for Bouhanni

80. Fabio Felline (Ita): working for Degenkolb, but can do a decent sprint of his own

79. Fabio Sabatini (Ita): working for Kittel

78. Rüdiger Selig (Ger): working for Sagan, but honestly Sagan’s good enough he doesn’t need much help

77. Mark Renshaw (Aus): working, as ever, for Cavendish. Was once kicked out of the Tour for repeatedly head-butting a competitor mid-sprint

The Ben Men

76. Ben Gastauer (Lux): fans of the Schleck twins will have to settle for cheering this year for Gastaeur, the only Luxembourger in the race. Look for him to attack on home roads when the race winds through the Duchy on Stage 3

75. Tiesj Benoot (Bel): pronounced “Teesh,” rhymes with “yeesh”

74. Sam Bennett (Bel): had the honor of coming in dead last last year

73. Daniele Bennati (Ita): the “e” on the end isn’t silent

72. Ben Swift (GBr): also has a good cycling name

71. George Bennet (NZl): the best Kiwi hope in the race

Time Trialists

The winner of Stage 1 (and possibly Stage 20) should come from this group:

70. Luke Durbridge (Aus) — former world hour-record holder

69. Stefan Kung (Swi) — the Swiss successor to time-trial great Fabian “Spartacus“ Cancellera

68. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) — multi-time Spanish TT campion

67. Primoz Roglic (Slo) –the fourth Slovenian in the race,

66. Tony Martin (Ger) — the odds-on favorite to take the race’s first yellow jersey in his home nation

The Climbers

65. Romain Sicard (Fra): probably the best hope for the French team Directe Energie

64. Jesús Herrada (Spa): current national champion of Spain, which has its smallest contingent in recent memory at the Tour this year (13 riders)

63. Daniel Navarro (Spa): probably the best hope for the French team Cofidis

62. Serge Pauwels (Bel): Dimension Data’s hope for the King of the Mountain competition; he was 6th in it last year

61. Mikel Nieve (Spa): his last name means “snow”

60. Brice Feillu (Fra): won a famous victory at Alpe d’Huez in 2009 and hasn’t really done anything since

59. Diego Ulissi (Ita): a rising star but a doping ban early in his career makes him hard to cheer for

58. Robert Gesink (Ned): probably leads the peloton in most medical procedures undergone

57. Pierre Rolland (Fra): one-time bearer of the cursed label “New Great French Hope,” Rolland’s taken some notable victories in his career but no longer will fight for overall glory

56. Warren Barguil (Fra): still reminds me of Wingull

55. Carlos Betancur (Col): the Colombian enigma still hasn’t translated his massive talent into Tour de France success

54. Jarlinson Pantano (Col): the Colombian revelation took a thrilling stage win last year

53. Thibaut Pinot (Fra): France’s fan favorite has said he’s not targeting the overall this edition as he still recovers from his 4th-place at the Giro d’Italia

The Most Hated Men in the Peloton

When these guys take the reins at the head of the pack for their teammates, that means the pace is about to get infernal.

52. Bernard Eisel (Aut): the conductor of the Dimension Data sprint train

51. Sergio Henao (Col): a Team Sky minion who should be in for a big payday when he leaves

50. Roman Kreuziger (Cze): somehow has four Tour top-10s despite never going in to the race as a team leader

49. Darwin Atapuma (Col): one of seven Colombian riders in this race

48. Dario Cataldo (Ita): Astana’s pace-setter in the mountains

47. Damiano Caruso (Ita): BMC’s pace-setter in the mountains. Not to be confused with Dario Cataldo

46. Andrey Amador (Crc): the Costa Rican Amador is the captain of Movistar’s Spanish Armada

45. Mikel Landa (Spa): he’s the most talented super-domestique in this race, but with rumors swirling of his departure to Movistar next season, how loyal will he be to Chris Froome?

Hothead Sprinters Who Won’t win

44. Dan McLay (GBr): To paraphrase a random NBA analyst, McLay is one year away from being one year away

43. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned): one year away

42. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor): six years since his last Tour victories

41. Michael Matthews (Aus): nicknamed “Bling;” it’s about six years past when that word was cool

40. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra): even starting the race is an improvement from last year when he missed the Tour for breaking his hand in a hotel fight

39. Arnaud Demare (Fra): the brand-new French National Champion’s biggest talent is outsprinting Bouhanni, but that might not be enough to top the rest of the fast-men field

38. John Degenkolb (Ger): Marcel Kittel’s former lead-out man still hasn’t come into his own as a solo act

The X Factors

37. Tim Wellens (Bel): Tim Wellens is, well, fine. He’s always doing something but he’s not really known for anything.

36. Jan Bakelants (Bel): the greatest feat of his career was stealing a stage and the yellow jersey from the sprinters with a bold attack in 2013

35. Tiago Machado (Por): The only information under the “Personal Life” section of his Wikipedia page is that Machado is a supporter of Portugese soccer team S.L. Benfica

34. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita): for some reason reminds one of Luigi

33. Michael Albasini (Swi): for some reason reminds one of Waluigi

32. Oliver Naesen (Bel): just took a surprise win at the Belgian Championships

31. Mathias Frank (Swi): the best Swiss rider at the recent Tour de Suisse, Frank has a Tour top-10 to his name

30. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra): won a stage similar to this year’s Stage 3 back in 2015.

29. Thomas De Gendt (Bel): won the Tour’s Queen Stage on Mont Ventoux last year

28. Stephen Cummings (GBr): the British champion has two gutsy breakaway Tour stage wins to his name

27. Philippe Gilbert (Bel): can always be counted on for an attack in the last 10 km, and when he does his name should be pronounced like that of“Mister Javert” in Les Miserables

26. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol): a jack of all trades, ”Kwiato” taught teammate Chris Froome how to do a super secret special descending technique he sprung on the Tour last year

Hothead Sprinters Who Could Win

25. Alexander Kristoff (Nor): the two-time Tour stage winner’s signature move is banging his handlebars when he doesn’t win.

24. André Greipel (Ger): the 11-time stage winner has won sprint in the past six editions of the race

23. Mark Cavendish (GBr): four wins behind Eddy Merckx for most all-time Tour stage wins, the “Manx Missle” comes in with uncertain form after battling a glandual fever all year

22. Marcel Kittel (Ger): 9 Tour stages wins on his career, and the best hair among the sprinters

The Battle for Mr. Second Place

21. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel): until he pipped Sagan on a Tour stage in 2015, Greg the Leg was the peloton’s “nearly-man.“ Now, he’s the reigning Olympic Gold medalist

20. Peter Sagan (Svk): with 18 second places in his Tour career, Sagan needs only five more to pass Erik Zabel for #1 all-time in that coveted category

The Enigmas Who Could Finish 4th-9th

19. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger): should give Meintjes and Yates a good run for their money in the white jersey (Best Young Rider) competition

18. Ion Izagirre (Spa): in his first shot as the leader of Bahrain-Merida, expect Ion simply to follow wheels on the hills and aim to make up time in the time trials

17. Louis Meintjes (RSA): the favorite to win the white jersey

16. Rafa Majka (Pol): the exciting Pole gets his first shot to be his team’s featured general classification option

15. Bauke Mollema (Ned): the most boring GC rider of the Tour’s best trait is staying out of crashes that hamper his competitors

14. Rigoberto Uran (Col): has two runner-up finishes at the Giro but has never made much noise at the Tour

13. Fabio Aru (Ita): an injury made him miss most of the season but a win last week at the Italian Championships shows his form might be coming around in time to shake up the race

The Evil Villains Who Probably Won’t Win

12. Geraint Thomas (GBr): Thomas is the back-up plan for Team Sky should Chris Froome suffer, but Thomas has yet to show he can be a main attraction

11. Alejandro Valverde (Spa): the former doper is having his best year ever at the age of 37; will he sacrifice his own chances to help his team leader Quintana?

10. Simon Yates (Aus): the rising star served a four-month ban for “non-intentional doping” last year

9. Esteban Chaves (Col): the rising Colombian star is stuck sharing Orica’s team leadership with Yates

8. Alberto Contador (Spa): For “El Pistolero’s” to have a real shot at a final Tour win, he’ll likely have to resort to eating the “tainted beef” that got the third of his victories voided

The Andy Schleck Memorial Noble Heroes Who Probably Won’t Win

7. Jakob Fulgsang (Den): his name means “birdsong” and after taking a surprise victory over Froome and Porte at the Daupine, the Tour’s main tune-up race, he’ll be hoping somehow that fact helps him fly the coup on his competitors once again

6. Dan Martin (Irl): Ireland’s best hope for its first overall win since 1987

5. Andrew Talansky (USA): the US’s best hope for its first win since 1986 (that wasn’t expunged from the records due to doping)

4. Romain Bardet (Fra): second last year, and France’s best hope for its first win since 1985

3. Nairo Quintana (Col): has never finished worse than 3rd at the Tour but may be tired from the Giro d’Italia a month ago. My favorite rider

The Evil Villains Who Probably Will Win

2. Richie Porte (Aus): Froome’s former right-hand man gets to lead his own team for the first time. He’s had a better season than Froome thus far but is prone to losing gobs of time for stupid reasons

1. Chris Froome (GBr): Three-time champ and Lord Voldemort look-alike has no victories this year but is still the odds-on favorite