Now that the Tour frenzy has died down, the rumors come alive. Let us look at a few that are swirling around:
- Froome return? Not another Yellow . . . just come back.
- Will Alaphilippe stay a “classics guy” or jump to GC?
- Does Geraint Thomas have another one in him? Different team?
- How many Yellows does Bernal have in him? Grand tours in general? Will he eventually win all three?
- Is Thibaut Pinot France’s only hope for Yellow?
Will Tom Dumoulin try on a different team?
- Mathieu van der Poel? Uh yeah, just that question.
Egan Bernal is the new king. At just 22 years old, the maturity level, mentally and physically, is astounding. As many have said, this was the best Tour de France in years. Having travelled to see it in person this year, I was able to witness riders in different arenas. Bernal is very calm and courteous. I told my wife, after seeing him interviewed by various people, that he is unusually mature for his age. From the hills of Zipaquira in Columbia, Egan had a childhood that forced him to deal with minimalism. The area is very low income as a base, and Egan’s father works as a security guard while his mother works as a cleaning lady. The maturity must come from dealing with the absolute rawness of life. It is odd to think that this talented kid had never trained with a heart monitor or power meter until he made the jump to Europe, but this small little detail is what makes a rider know himself more than data about himself.
Will there be too many chiefs on Ineos? It was bad enough with Froome and Thomas, but now the “future” of Ineos has proven himself. Egan Bernal has at least five Yellows in him. I cannot see the gathering of such talent on one team ending up with an “all for one and one for all” mentality. Thomas was very gentlemanly about Egan’s success this year, but he knows his clock is ticking and loudly. Then there is Froome’s supposed comeback. Next year could definitely be his last hoorah, IF he comes back. I cannot see Brailsford telling his new gunslinger to take a backseat to see if Froomey could get his fifth or telling Froome that he did a great job coming back but now he needs to ride for the kid while sending Thomas back to the cars for bottles. Then again, I guess it is better to have that problem than Trek Segafredo having no one, but instead having to hire old man with a tired resume’.
Thibaut Pinot is a threat. Stage 15 proved his power, dropping Bernal in the last 2km. Understandably, that is only a single stage. Pinot left the Tour before he could prove if he could sustain his power and gather back over a minute loss to Bernal. Oh, let us not forget that Tommy D will be on a new team and very hungry. Then there is the question of a kid named Mathieu. There are so many questions tied up in his name. His power and stamina are off the charts. He could be a dominate “classics guy” or make the jump to grand tours or both. Van der Poel sent the cycling world into a frenzy with his Amstel Gold win and now has a legitimate shot at a road world championship. Kind of the opposite personality of Egan Bernal, riding with so much panache, Mathieu van der Poel is a force that IS coming. Yes, Bernal is the future of cycling, but his future battles could be epic.