North Americans in the Tour de France: A new generation takes over
Seven US riders and three Canadians are expected to roll down the start ramp Friday to open the 2022 Tour in Copenhagen.
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Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) and Michael Woods (Israel Premier Tech) headline the North American contingent this year at the Tour de France.
The bunch hits double digits this year with 10 riders from the United States and Canada converging in Denmark this weekend as a new generation takes root at the 2022 Tour.
Though there could be some late-hour changes, seven U.S. riders and three Canadians are expected to roll down the start ramp Friday to open the 2022 Tour.
“Aside from Primož, Jonas, and Wout, who are always good, you always have to earn your spot for the Tour. It’s the same every year,” Kuss said last week. “I think everybody knows more or less where they stack up and what their characteristics are. There’s a lot of tricky stages and we need riders for a lot of scenarios.”
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The presence of seven Americans is the most since nine started in 2014.
There are four debutants, with Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Kevin Vermaerke (Team DSM), Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), and Joe Dombrowski (Astana-Qazaqstan) all punching their first Tour tickets.
Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) and Kuss are back for their third respective Tour starts, with Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) returning for his second big loop around France.
Only Dombrowski, at 31, is older than 30. Kuss, at 27, is the oldest of the rest who are all 25 years old or younger at the start of the Tour. None of these riders were born in the 1980s, marking a clear generational shift among the U.S. peloton.
Among Canadians, Woods, Hugo Houle (Israel Premier Tech), and Antoine Duchesne (Groupama-FDJ) lead the way.
“I’m really excited to get started with this year’s Tour de France,” Woods said last week. “I’ve come close to winning stages the last two times I’ve done the Tour, but I feel that I’ve always been hampered by injuries from crashes. This time around, the goal is just to stay safe and then have the legs ready to go in the final two weeks.”
A few names on the bubble missed out on possible spots, including Larry Warbasse (Ag2r-Citroën), Guillaume Boivin (Israel Premier Tech), and Sean Quinn (EF Education-EasyPost) among riders not making the cut.
While there are no outright GC leaders among the highly talented crew, more than a few have grand tour leadership potential, namely with Kuss and McNulty. Both are firmly committed to their respective leaders at Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates during this Tour.
While many will be riding in helper roles, nearly all them will likely see a chance to win a stage and ride into breakaways at some point.
Last year, Kuss became the first U.S. Tour stage winner since Tyler Farrar in 2011 when the Colorado climber beat back Alejandro Valverde to win out of a breakaway into Andorra.
Dombrowski is already a confirmed Giro d’Italia stage winner, and will definitely see his chances with Astana-Qazaqstan bringing a mixed squad built around Alexey Lutsenko.
Vermaerke, Simmons and Powless, who’s already proven his Tour credentials with a string of daring breakaways in his first two editions, will all have the green light to attack on favorable terrain.
Jorgenson will be helping GC captain Enric Mas, but could play his hand at some point as well.
Among the Canadians, Woods is poised for a stage victory after some close calls and bad luck, while Houle and Duchesne provide steady support on their teams.
US riders in the Tour de France by year:
2022 — 7
2021 — 4
2020 — 3
2019 – 4
2018 — 5
2017 — 3
2016 — 5
2015 — 3
2014 — 9
2013 — 6
2012 — 8
2011 — 10
2010 — 8
2009 — 7
2008 — 4
2007 — 6
2006 — 8
2005 — 9
2004 — 7
2003 — 6
2002 — 9
2001 — 8
2000 — 9
1999 — 8
1998 — 6
1997 — 6
1996 — 3
1995 — 2
1994 — 3
1993 — 3
1992 — 5
1991 — 5
1990 — 7
1989 — 5
1988 — 6
1987 — 7
1986 — 10
1985 — 2
1984 — 2
1983 — 1
1982 — 1
1981 — 1