Grading Every Team's Performance at the Tour de France 2021

Some teams will be coming away from the Tour elated, others not so much. We assess every team's performance at the 2021 Tour de France.

UAE Team Emirates - A+ 

Tadej PogacarCover image: A.S.O./Charly Lopez

Tadej Pogačar won the Tour de France with consummate ease. He attacked on stage 8's Col de Romme which mitigated the pressure early on, with others fighting to be the best of the rest. The 22-year-old adds a second yellow jersey in his astonishing palmarès. 

The rest of the UAE-Team Emirates squad grew into their task as the race progressed. At moments, they were absent from the front for peculiarly long periods considering they held the yellow jersey. However, when required, they controlled the breakaway on stage 17 and 18, delivering Pogačar into the prime position to win two mountain stages in the Pyrenees. 

Marc Hirschi had a substandard Tour when compared to last year which can be put down to a separated shoulder he suffered on stage 1. He struggled through the first week before recovering to become one of Pogačar's primary domestiques by the time the Pyrenees came around.

A perfect race for UAE Team Emirates.

Ineos Grenadiers - B-

Considering Ineos Grenadiers' strength in depth, their Tour de France cannot be considered a success. They entered with a self-proclaimed “team like no other,” whilst telling their rivals to “expect the unexpected.”

Well, Ineos failed to make their plethora of talent pay and by the first rest day, Geraint Thomas, Richie Porte and Tao Geoghegan Hart had all fallen out of contention. This meant that their numerical advantage was wiped. Carapaz fought hard to finish on the podium, but without a stage victory, this is a sub-par performance for a team that have become accustomed to winning the yellow jersey.

Bahrain-Victorious - A

Matej MohoricImage credit: A.S.O./Charly Lopez

Bahrain-Victorious lost Jack Haig early on — a gutting blow as the Australian looked to be in strong form. However, they didn’t back down from the challenge and won three stages. Matej Mohorič was responsible for two of those, whilst Dylan Teuns was the strongest in the first Alpine stage.

Pello Bilbao also salvaged a GC result with ninth place overall, even though he will be disappointed to miss out on selection for the Tokyo Olympics. The only low point for Bahrain-Victorious was Wout Poels polka-dot jersey chase, where he held off all his competition only to be defeated by Tadej Pogačar at the very last.

Team DSM - C-

Team DSM, under Team Sunweb sponsorship, were one of the standout teams at the Tour de France last year. Marc Hirschi burst onto the scene winning stage 12, whilst Søren Kragh Andersen added two more stage victories with solo attacks.

Team DSM have fallen well short of that bar this year. Kragh Andersen and Tiesj Benoot both dropped out early and their best result was Casper Pedersen’s third on stage 19.

Jumbo-Visma - A

The Dutch outfit entered the Tour de France aiming to win the yellow jersey. Their primary leader Primož Roglič crashed out in the first week, but that paved the way for the talented Jonas Vingegaard to finish second on the final podium. Undoubtedly, Vingegaard is the breakout star of the 2021 Tour de France.

Aside from the GC, Jumbo-Visma have turned to stage hunting successfully. Wout van Aert defeated the pure climbers on Mont Ventoux to win his fourth Tour de France stage, before Sepp Kuss won in Andorra. Van Aert then added a time-trial win before sprinting to the line first on Champs-Élysées, meaning he'd won a mountain stage, time-trial and sprint stage.

A brilliant Tour de France for Jumbo-Visma. The yellow jersey was the only missing piece to the puzzle.

Related – WorldTour Team Bikes

Movistar - C

We have become accustomed to seeing Movistar challenge for the general classification at the Tour de France. Enric Mas finished in the top 10 but was unable to match his fifth-place finish from last season. 

Although they have performed respectably in the GC, they never really challenged for stage victory. Alejandro Valverde came closest on stage 15, where only Sepp Kuss could ride away from him on the Col de Beixalis. Miguel Ángel López was a no-show. They would have hoped for more.

Deceuninck-Quick Step - A

Mark CavendishImage credit: A.S.O./Aurélien Vialatte

Who knows how we'd be assessing Deceuninck-Quick Step had Sam Bennett been fit enough to start the Tour de France, which would have left Mark Cavendish at home. Considering the leadout qualities of Davide Ballerini and Michael Mørkøv, they’d have likely won a plethora of stages anyhow.

Nonetheless, nothing can be taken away from the Manx Missile, who has completed one of the great cycling comebacks in recent memory to win four Tour de France stages. Cav couldn't surpass Eddy Merckx' long-term stage record with victory on Champs-Élysées, but considering where Cavendish was a year ago, his performance was magical.

Related – Cavendish's Transcendent Wins

Astana - Premier Tech - B-

Astana - Premier Tech arrived in France with a variety of high-class stage hunters, namely Omar Fraile, Alex Aranburu and Ion Izagirre. Without a top-class sprinter in their ranks, they’d have to target the breakaway. The closest they came was on stage 8, where Ion Izagirre excelled in unpleasant conditions only to be beaten by Dylan Teuns. The disappointment for them is that Jakob Fuglsang never found himself in the position to threaten for a stage victory.

Alexey Lutsenko is one of our breakout riders at the Tour de France — for the first time he aimed for the GC at a Grand Tour and he delivered with a top 10 finish.

Arkéa Samsic - B

Arkéa Samsic’s star rider Nairo Quintana chose to fight for stage victories and the polka-dot jersey, and although he posed a strong challenge in the king of the mountains competition, he couldn’t achieve either. Quintana has won a stage in three of the Tour de France he has entered and won the polka-dot jersey on race debut in 2013.

Nacer Bouhanni was Arkéa Samsic’s best chance at stage victory prior to his DNF on stage 15. Bouhanni has won stages at the Giro d’Italia and La Vuelta España before, and although he was unable to complete the Grand Tour stage trilogy, he recorded his best stage finish at the Tour year when he was the runner-up in Fougères.

TotalEnergies - C+

TotalEnergiesImage credit: A.S.O./Charly Lopez

TotalEnergies changed their name just a few days prior to the Tour de France departing from Brest, and sadly for them, that remains their headline news.

Pierre Latour showed promising early signs of returning to his best, but quickly faded out of GC contention in the Alps. They got plenty of TV time in the final week, but that was mainly down to a series of puzzlingly timed attacks from Latour, who cannot be accused of not trying.

Anthony Turgis was their other major chance of winning a stage, though he wasn’t able to convert in the supercharged stage 19 breakaway.

Trek-Segafredo - B

Bauke MollemaImage credit: A.S.O./Charly Lopez

Without a GC challenger, Trek-Segafredo’s Tour relied upon their ability to win stages. It looked like it wasn’t meant to be when Kenny Elissonde and Bauke Mollema finished second and third to Wout van Aert on the double Ventoux stage 11. However, the Dutchman rescued Trek’s race with a sublime solo victory in Quillan on stage 14.

They had many other opportunities, notably on stage 19 when Edward Theuns, Jasper Stuyven and Mads Pedersen joined the 20-man breakaway. They were unable to make their numerical advantages pay, however, with Theuns their best finisher in sixth.

Nonetheless, the value of a Tour de France stage victory cannot be underestimated, particularly when only eight teams managed to achieve the feat.

Groupama-FDJ - C

Groupama-FDJ began the Tour de France without Thibaut Pinot in their lineup. However, David Gaudu was unable to pose a general classification challenge after dropping away on Mont Ventoux. To their credit, they were aggressive in the Pyrenees to try and salvage a stage victory with Gaudu, but his attack on the Col du Tourmalet meant he had spent all his matches before the following Luz Ardiden.

Arnaud Démare was one of the leading sprinters entering the Tour, particularly after he won four stages at the Giro d’Italia last season. However, the best he could muster was fourth in Châteauroux before he finished over the time limit in Tignes.

Not the Tour that Groupama-FDJ would have envisioned.

Israel Start-Up Nation - B-

Andre GreipelImage credit: A.S.O./Charly Lopez

Israel Start-Up Nation were unlucky from the off when Mike Woods was caught up in one of the mass crashes on stage 1, all but ending his general classification chances. Woods turned to stage hunting and the polka-dot jersey, and although he couldn't achieve either, the Canadian was ever present at the front and had a chance in the KOM competition until the final mountain stage.

André Greipel’s best finish was fifth on Champs-Élysées. ‘The Gorilla’ recently announced that he’d be retiring at the end of the season, making this his final Tour de France.

Bora-Hansgrohe - A

Bora entered with one of the hot favourites for the green jersey — Peter Sagan has won the points classification seven times at the Tour throughout his career, but was forced to abandon due to a knee injury.

Instead, Bora found their best chance in the breakaway, where the powerful Nils Politt was by far the strongest rider on stage 12. The victory was Politt’s first at WorldTour level. Patrick Konrad soon added a second stage victory with a brave long-range attack on the Col de Portet-d'Aspet.

To couple their fantastic stage hunting performance, Bora finished fifth in the GC with Wilco Kelderman, meaning he’s now finished in the top five of all three Grand Tours.

Overall, a great performance for the German outfit considering they lost their talisman before reaching Paris. 

Alpecin-Fenix - A-

Mathieu van der PoelImage credit: A.S.O./Charly Lopez

It can be hard to remember that Alepcin-Fenix are a ProTeam — a tier below WorldTour. They dominated the opening stages, where Mathieu van der Poel won on the Mûr-de-Bretagne to claim his first Grand Tour victory and the maillot jaune. The Dutchman protected the jersey admirably, producing a phenomenal performance on the stage 5 time-trial before leaving the race to focus on the Tokyo Olympics.

They added a second victory on stage 3 with a leadout exhibition, resulting in stage victory for Tim Merlier. The only sour note was Jasper Philipsen's inability to win a stage, despite his fantastic form and a series of close calls. The Belgian was on the podium six times but could never celebrate victory.

Cofidis - B

The infamous drought goes on. Cofidis haven’t won a Tour de France stage since Sylvain Chavanel won stage 19 in 2008, and that remains the case following the 2021 Tour de France. Christophe Laporte came closest to ending that drought when he was second on stage 19, only beaten by the outstanding Matej Mohorič.

However, Cofidis were active throughout with Anthony Perez who was one of the most offensive riders in the race. Guillaume Martin attacked often too, and his foray into the breakaway on stage 14 helped him to his first Grand Tour top ten finish.

EF Education - Nippo - B-

EF Education Nippo Time TrialImage credit: A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

Had the race ended at the second rest day, EF Education - Nippo would have been looking back at their Tour with jubilation. However, Rigoberto Urán’s GC challenge fell away at the last when he was dropped on the Col du Tourmalet, losing his chance of a podium finish. Urán held onto tenth overall, but it wasn’t what he’d hoped for.

They were regularly at the sharp end of proceedings, but their best stage finish was third. A disappointment for a team that won a stage at all three Grand Tours last season.

Lotto Soudal - C+

Caleb Ewan’s crash on stage 3 and subsequent withdrawal put Lotto-Soudal’s Tour de France into disarray. Their best chance of stage victories was gone.

They tried numerous times, notably when Brent Van Moer almost held off the fast-chasing peloton on stage 4 only to be caught with just a few hundred metres remaining. Thomas De Gendt and Phil Gilbert couldn’t find their form of old, with De Gendt stating, “If they race too fast, then I have to accept that.”

The emergence of the talented Harry Sweeny, who was third on stage 12 into Nîmes, was the bright spot for Lotto Soudal. They would have surely achieved more had Ewan not been forced to leave early.

AG2R Citroën - B+

Ben O'ConnorImage credit: A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

AG2R Citroën entered the Tour de France without Romain Bardet for the first time since 2012 after his transfer to Team DSM. The French team focussed on classics riders with Greg Van Avermaet joining Oliver Naesen, but AG2R’s race was all about Ben O’Connor's general classification performance.

The Australian stormed to stage victory in Tignes, which launched him into second overall. O’Connor held on for fourth place in the GC — a fine result in his first Tour de France.

Team Qhubeka NextHash - C-

Team Qhubeka NextHash enjoyed a fine Giro d’Italia a couple of months ago with three riders winning a stage. However, they didn't come close to reproducing that form at the Tour de France. Their best result on any stage was tenth.

Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert - C+

The Belgian outfit were a joy to watch at the Giro, racing aggressively in the breakaways on a consistent basis where they were rewarded with that Taco van der Hoorn victory.

They haven’t been as visible at the Tour de France, although the likes of Georg Zimmermann and Jan Bakelants tried in the final week. Danny van Poppel was occasionally competitive in the mass-sprint finishes too.

B&B Hotels - B-

Franck BonnamourFranck Bonnamour climbs the Col de Beixalis (Image credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Lead sprinter Bryan Coquard was out of the time limit prior to the first rest day without achieving a result, and whilst Pierre Rolland was aggressive, he never came close to a stage win either.

Instead, B&B Hotels were largely reliant on Grand Tour debutant Franck Bonnamour. The 26-year-old won the combative prize for his efforts. Although he was unable to claim his first pro victory, he was the shining light for B&B Hotels.

Team BikeExchange - B-

Simon Yates had planned to target stage victories at the Tour de France, but his chances were scuppered when he crashed out on stage 13. Lucas Hamilton also abandoned, leaving the Australian team heavily weakened.

BikeExchange weren’t able to win a stage, but heavily targeted the green jersey with Michael Matthews. Matthews was only beaten by Cavendish despite a valiant effort.

Team BikeExchange may have hoped for more, though they were dealt an unlucky hand with numerous key riders crashing out.

Cover image: A.S.O./Charly Lopez

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