In 2021, the cycling race fought on various profiles goes back to basics: to be a rich experience in the career of champions.
A memorable 2020 edition
The 2020 edition was exceptional due to the circumstances linked to the pandemic which upset the international calendar of cycling races. The major World Tour teams saw the Tour de l’Ain as an opportunity to prepare for the Tour de France. Household names Primoz Roglic, Egan Bernal and Nairo Quintana were on the podium at the summit of the Grand Colombier. The Slovenian won two stages and the general classification in a stunning way.
The Département de l’Ain, a playground for future all around riders
The Tour de l’Ain, organized by Alpes Vélo with the help of its partners, is back on the international calendar, after the Tour de France and this year, the Tokyo Olympics. The event reconnects with its historical ties, which have made it a necessary passage for aspiring young riders.
The Département de l’Ain offers an ideal playground for climbers but also downhillers, baroudeurs, sprinters and punchers with a variety of terrain over three days. In other words, in Ain, the well-rounded rider has somewhere to show his skills. Previous winners of the Tour de l’Ain prove this. The best current French riders, from Julian Alaphilippe to Thibault Pinot, Romain Bardet and David Gaudu, have not failed to make a mark on the Tour de l’Ain.
Who will follow in Roglic’s footsteps?
The 126 riders of the 2021 Tour de l’Ain come to gain experience, to shine, to aim for a stage win or rank in the general classification.
The Citroën AG2R team, originating from the region, has the means to stand out every day. Clément Venturini can show off his speed at the finish in Bourg-en-Bresse, Clément Champoussin and Dorian Godon will both have a card to play on Friday and Aurélien Paret-Peintre can aim for a good spot in the general classification. There is no lack of ambition on the French side, especially with Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies). He likes the Tour de l’Ain and has an opportunity to again be successful. Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels P/B KTM) and Elie Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic) are serious candidates for the combativity award. Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels P / B KTM) and Rudy Mollard, part of the ambitious Groupama-FDJ team, should not be overlooked.
Foreign competition is tough again this year. Supported by Julien Bernard (to be confirmed), previous polka-dot jersey winner, puncher Quinn Simmons (Trek Segafredo) will try to build on the momentum of his success in the Tour de Wallonie. The versatile Ilan van Wilder (DSM), climbers Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) certainly will have their say. Deceuninck-Quick Step representative Fausto Masnada (3rd place in the Tour de Romandie, 2nd in the Italian National Championship) has the opportunity to show what he’s made of in a stage race. The public will be able to enjoy this casting of “New Stars” and the show offered on the roadside in compliance with the health regulations in force.
The “locals” in the running
There are still many “locals” on the starting line. Trained in Bourg Ain Cycling, Victor Lafay is emerging as the leader of the Cofidis team. All the more motivation to add another stage victory following that at the 2021 Giro! Even if he does not regularly train on his home ground in Bugey, Maxime Bouet (Arkéa-Samsic) hopes to confirm his return to form. Geoffrey Soupe (TotalEnergies), who passed through the Bourg-en-Bresse cycling school, sees himself taking a shot at the top spot. And Bresse-bred Clément Didier and Arnaud Pfrimmer have been selected for the French national team.
The Tour de l’Ain 2021 in a few figures
– 33rd edition
– 21 teams
– 126 cyclists enrolled (6 per team)
– 4 distinctive jerseys: yellow jersey Solimut Mutuelle de France (leader of the general individual classification in time), polka-dot jersey Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Region (leader of the mountain classification by points registered on the summits of the climbs and passes listed and classified by category), green jersey Crédit Mutuel (leader of the points classification awarded at each stage finish) and white jersey (best rider under 23)
– 1 combativity award Semcoda (reserved for the most generous rider in effort and showing the best sportsmanship)
– 3 stages:
Thursday July 29th: Villars-les-Dombes / Parc des Oiseaux – Bourg-en-Bresse (139.1 km with a “flat” profile)
Friday July 30th: Lagnieu – Saint-Vulbas (130.1 km with a hilly profile with four climbs)
Saturday July 31st: Izernore – Lélex Monts-Jura (117.9 km with the Col de Menthières and the climb to Lélex Monts-Jura)
– 387.1 kilometers of competition
– Crossing 1 department: Ain With more than 160 races per year, it is the leading department in France organizing cycling events. The roads of the Jura department are also taken
– 88 towns visited
– 66 partners
– The Tour de l’Ain is also a road race for 150 cadets divided into 29 international teams. From July 29th to 31st, they compete in three stages whose finishes are identical to those of the pros.
– On Sunday August 1st, cyclists take the place of the pros with start and finish in the Lélex Monts-Jura resort.
Follow the race on…
France 3 Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes from July 29th to 31st from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., from 12:30 p.m. on aura.france3.fr
Live streaming on Eurosport Player and Global CyclingNetwork from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
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