Grand Tour contenders – who’s racing what in 2014

It’s a common misconception among casual followers of cycling that all the best riders compete in the Tour de France. This is, patently, bollocks. If the route doesn’t suit them, many riders will instead centre their efforts on the Giro or the Vuelta – often both (albeit with greater emphasis on the Italian race, which is a little bit higher profile).

Plans change depending on form and injuries, but here’s how most of the main Grand Tour contenders appear to be organising their seasons.

Giro d’Italia

  • Joaquim Rodriguez
  • Nairo Quintana
  • Cadel Evans
  • Chris Horner

Tour de France

  • Chris Froome
  • Bradley Wiggins (in support of Froome)
  • Vincenzo Nibali
  • Alberto Contador
  • Alejandro Valverde
  • Rigoberto Uran
  • Chris Horner

Vuelta a Espana

  • Joaquim Rodriguez
  • Nairo Quintana
  • Alberto Contador
  • Alejandro Valverde
  • Bradley Wiggins

Also

You’ll notice that Chris Horner doesn’t get a mention. That’s because he doesn’t even have a team at present, let alone a race schedule. (Update: Horner has now signed with Lampre-Merida and will ride the Giro and the Vuelta.)

Horner felt sufficiently emboldened by his Vuelta victory to request a two-year contract on a greatly-improved salary. Being as he’s 42, no-one’s been keen to sign him on these terms and he’s basically going round and round the pro teams, reducing his demands after each lap. Eventually someone will relent and he’ll presumably ride to defend his Vuelta title.

There are of course other riders who perhaps warrant a mention, but I’ve tried to keep this list to the headline names plus Rigoberto Uran.