Who will be at Tadej Pogacar's side for the Tour de France? Half of the UAE Team Emirates line-up scheduled for the race is injured

The Tour de France is just around the corner and many teams are making their final decisions on who they will take to the most important race of the year. We take a look into UAE Team Emirates lineup, and the riders who will support Tadej Pogacar in search of returning the yellow jersey after two years of defeat.

We analyse this with CiclismoAtual's Carlos Silva. In recent months we've seen two massive crashes in the peloton that have decimated many teams, sending many cyclists to hospital or forcing them to stop to recover from the ailments the crashes caused. It happened at Itzulia Basque Country and it happened again in the Critérium du Dauphiné. The most recent crash, last week in the Dauphiné, caused around half the peloton to go down as they descended on roads that were wet and slippery. UAE Team Emirates saw 6 of its 7 riders fall, with only Marc Soler escaping unscathed. And Juan Ayuso being the man left in the worst condition, with Adrian Rotunno, team doctor confirming that "He fell on his left hip, elbow, knee and ankle", later confirming. "There's no concussion or spinal injury. He'll be sore and in pain for the next three or four days."

Ayuso is one of the men who is on the list of names in the Tour de France line-up to support Tadej Pogacar in recovering the yellow jersey that has eluded him in the last two editions of the French race, but he wasn't the only victim of the crash, who is also part of the United Arab Emirates team that went down and that leaves some concerns for the technical staff: Tim Wellens and Nils Politt, two names that were part of the team's initial line-up for the Tour, were also involved and abandoned the race. Of the men who will be alongside Tadej Pogacar in the Florence Grand Depart, only Marc Soler escaped. But the French race didn't end without the UAE seeing another of its men put his foot down and abandon the race. In the final stage, Pavel Sivakov dropped out halfway through the stage and for us to try to guess or understand what led the 26-year-old climber not to finish the stage will be mere speculation.

The team hasn't issued a statement or given any information about what led Sivakov to abandon, but all the speculation is that it's related to the injuries he suffered as a result of the fall in the 5th stage. Sivakov may have held on, even though the team no longer had any claim to the overall, but possibly in order not to aggravate any problems he may have, he (or the .ed team) decided to protect themselves for their future objectives. The Dauphiné was "lost" and there was no point in keeping a rider who wasn't at 100%, on a hard stage, suffering unnecessarily.

Who will be at Tadej Pogacar's side for the Tour de France? Half of the UAE Team Emirates line-up scheduled for the race is injured
Tadej Pogacar won the 2024 Giro d'Italia. @Sirotti

The Tour de France is approaching at a breakneck pace (June 29) and of the line-up expected to be present alongside Tadej Pogacar we still have two men in action at the moment. They are João Almeida and Adam Yates. Both Almeida and Yates have an 8-day race ahead of them in the Tour de Suisse, in preparation for the Grand Depart unlike the rest of their teammates, who have recently come back from an altitude stage, and if nothing unusual happens they could be present in Florence. In this day and age, not even a crystal ball can predict that the men in Switzerland will come out unscathed.

Isaac Del Toro

Let's take a look at Mexican Isaac del Toro, who in his individual effort yesterday, in an area of the route that was no longer as technical as in the previous kilometers, where the risk was high, approached a bend the wrong way and crashed at 60 km/h already inside the last kilometer of the stage. Fortunately, he will be able to continue in the race, but he must not have had a good night's sleep.

Realistically, only Ayuso is a concern at the moment. It won't stop the Spaniard from being at the start of the Grand Boucle, but he will certainly have an obstace in his preparation for the race at this point. But with so many men in the line-up for the Tour de France on standby at the moment, the team's replacements should be on high alert. If Sivakov and Ayuso don't recover, UAE Team Emirates will have to call up two climbers and then we'll have Rafal Majka and Brandon McNulty as the main candidates. Majka because he did the Giro d'italia and is an experienced right-hand man for the Slovenian, or McNulty who was not given any Grand Tour for his schedule this year.

In the cases of Tim Wellens and Nils Pollit, we can put two names on the table. For Wellens, Marc Hirschi and for Pollit, Mikel Bjerg. They also have a very valid name who could be in the Tour de France and who is little talked about: Diego Ulissi who even beat Sivakov and Adam Yates in the queen stage of the Giro d'Abruzzo earlier this spring.

At the moment all scenarios are on the table and all scenarios are possible...

When we see a wave of injuries to Team Visma | Lease a Bike's Jonas Vingegaard, winner of the last two editions of the Tour de France, which has led the team to do a lot of gymnastics in order to present a strong and competitive line-up for the race. Even without the certainty that their leader will be recovered and present at the start (mind games, because of course he will be) and if he is, what physical form he will present. When we see that in the recent Critérium du Dauphiné, Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglic are already at different levels of preparation, but that at the same time, Roglic won't be as fit as he seemed until the last stage?

We can draw a small conclusion from this. The crash in the Itzulia Basque Country will undoubtedly mark the year 2024. And the one who will benefit from it will most likely be the man who this year risked equaling the feat last achieved by Marco Pantani, winning the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in the same year: Tadej Pogacar.

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