Ready for the Grand Départ

Get to know our Tour de France roster

The 2021 Tour de France is almost here. The Grand Départ is scheduled for this Saturday and EF Education-NIPPO is ready to take on the iconic 21 stage race. 

 

This year’s route will feature two back-to-back climbs up the mighty Mont Ventoux, three summit finishes, and two individual time trials for the first time since 2013. The course certainly looks different to what we’ve seen in the most recent years — but let’s not forget one part of the route we can always count on: the spectacular finale on the Champs Élysées. Allez. 

 

The 108th edition begins with a demanding stage that will suit riders like Sergio Higuita and Rigoberto Urán since its final kilometres are uphill. And our Colombian duo certainly knows how to attack a climb or two. 

 

Speaking of climbs: the famed and feared Mont Ventoux. There are just three summit finishes throughout this year’s route, but the race organizers decided that the ascent up the Mont Ventoux was so epic that it should be tackled not once…but twice. 

 

While there are certainly fewer mountains than we’re used to seeing, we’ll have two days in the Alps and five in the Pyrenees. You should also expect more turbulence than usual in the form of heavy crosswinds, especially around Narbonne, Nimes, and Carcassonne regions. 

 

Last but not least: time trialing. There will be 58 kilometers of it this year – more than we’re used to taking on at the recent Tours. Plus eight stages for the sprinters, which promise to suit fast finishers and opportunists. 

 

This course certainly strays from what we’re used to seeing in the more recent editions, but it’s a highly entertaining and traditional route that will showcase the beautiful landscapes of France. It will be expectedly enthralling to ride (and of course watch). 

 

Since the team is due to arrive on the western Brittany coast this Wednesday, we’ll get right to it. Here is your squad for this year’s Tour de France: 

Stefan Bissegger

I always watched the Tour from home and the few opportunities where the race passed through Switzerland, we cheered from the side of the road. Once we rode up a hill top finish with the family when I was 10, I had a baguette for lunch in the backpack and one of the spectators tried to steal it whilst I was riding as a joke. It’s a big honor for me and means a lot to go to the Tour in my first full year pro. I want to do really well in the TT and then see what’s possible in the three weeks. We have a really strong team there so I will try to support them as well as possible.


Magnus Cort

It is always a big deal to be going to the Tour de France. Even though it is not my first time, it still feels like a kid’s dream coming true.


Ruben Guerreiro

The Tour was the race that always motivated me to be a cyclist. Since I was seven-years-old, I always watched. Now to be there for the first time will be a dream come true.


Sergio Higuita

Competing at the Tour de France is a very important opportunity because I want to give my best self to the team and show all of my potential. I especially want to support Rigoberto Urán, who has a great opportunity. I would like to be someone who can contribute and achieve great things for the team.


Neilson Powless

I’m super excited to return this year. I’m coming to the Tour this year with more experience and confidence than I had last year. Every year you get stronger and learn a little more, and I’m hoping to put those lessons I’ve learned over the past year into practice.

 

It’s hard to pinpoint one part of the Tour I’m most excited for. I would say I’m most excited about the team I am racing with. Rigo was flying in Switzerland, and I was there to witness it first hand. I hope to be a part of the most successful Tour this team has had yet.

 

I started to feel like myself again at the Tour de Suisse. I had a few days off, but as the race progressed I started to feel strong again. The final day was probably my best and that makes me really excited for the three weeks of racing we are about to begin. I also felt like I was able to give a little more to support Rigo, sometimes the motivation of a teammate doing well can also help you reach that next level.


Jonas Rutsch

For me, since I was a little boy and started watching the Tour de France it was always a dream to stand there on the start line. My father had to buy me a yellow jersey back then. I was always playing like I was one of the big riders. It’s my second professional year, probably the first real one and now, here we go. I’m really excited and for me it’s pure happiness that I made the Tour team this year.

 

I wasn’t planning on something like this happening. I had the classics in my mind and I wanted to do my best there. But after that I took it step by step. I made it into a few stage races, I went to an altitude camp together with Stefan and I think I developed a bit of my ability to to climb. But when I got the call from Charly [Wegelius, head sports director] it was a real surprise to me. I’m just looking forward to this famous special race and I want to give my best for the team. Whatever our sports director will tell me to do, I will give 150 percent.


Rigoberto Urán

This is my eighth participation in the Tour de France. It motivates me a lot to go back to racing and as every year I want to do my best, we have a very good team and we are going to try to do our best.

 

In Switzerland it was better than I expected obviously. When you win it gives you extra motivation, it means that the work you are doing is going well and before the Tour de France I felt good. I will go day by day. The Tour de France is a very long race and anything can happen. I hope I am in good health and that everything goes well.


Michael Valgren

To be a part of it this year and to race with this amazing team is going to be so much fun. There’s so many things we can do as a team. The roster we are bringing is in great shape. We have some big goals with Rigo and guys who can perform well in the stages. Our Sports Directors are so well prepared and our soigneurs and our mechanics work so hard for us. We will want to fight hard for them and for the fans. I’m really looking forward to the special moments we will have together.