TUESDAY, JUNE 27, 2023
Team Jayco AlUla has named its 2023 Tour de France squad, revealing a well-balanced lineup that's focused on sprint and mountain stages at the world’s premier stage race.
The 110th edition of the Tour de France kicks off July 1 in the Basque Country of Spain with two hilly stages in the Bilbao and San Sebastian regions before it crosses into southwestern France and an early march into the Pyrenees. It’s an unusual start with riders facing decisive general classification battles early, including the first summit finish in week one.
This year’s Team Jayco-AlUla squad is built for both the sprint stages and the mountains. Dutch powerhouse Dylan Groenewegen, winner of five Tour de France stages in previous years, will be aiming for stage wins. And British climbing specialist Simon Yates will be the team’s leader in the mountains.
“We have goals for both the sprints and in the mountains and we hope, like last year, we can come away with results that reflect the dedication and hard work that has gone into preparing for the event,” said Team Jayco-AlUla general manager Brent Copeland. “It is one of the most intense and challenging races on the calendar from all aspects, and that is what makes it so special and those victories even sweeter.”
In addition to Groenewegen and Yates, both racing the Tour for the sixth time, the team has veterans Luke Durbridge of Australia, who is making his ninth Tour de France appearance, and Danish rider Chris Juul-Jensen, who is starting his sixth Tour.
Slovenian Luka Mezgec, a trusted lead-out man for Groenewegen, makes his fourth Tour de France start, and American Lawson Craddock, a multi-time U.S. time trial champion, makes his third start. Two riders—Australian Chris Harper and Dutchman Elmar Reinders—will make their Tour de France debut this year.
Gunning for sprint wins
Groenewegen, who has six race wins already this year on his Propel Advanced SL team bike, starts with the the confidence of having a team that’s capable of controlling the peloton on sprint stages.
“I have been working really well and developing more with Luka Mezgec and the rest of the lead-out train and we’re confident heading into the race,” said Groenewegen. “The legs are good, the team is strong, and of course it will just depend on the final meters of the stages. But we are arriving with the best possible preparation and a team to win. I think it will be a good Tour, the team spirit is really high and after seeing the success we had at the Giro, everybody is super motivated.”
Yates, who skipped the Giro d’Italia for the first time in six years to focus on the Tour, is looking forward to the hilly start in the Basque Country. The opportunities for the climbers come early, starting with day one, and the Brit is keen to be in the mix from the start.
“On paper it looks really good and a course that suits me quite well,” Yates said. “I always love racing in the Basque Country, so to be starting there is very special. The narrow roads, the steep climbs, the amazing Basque fans, I think it is going to be really memorable. I had a different build-up to the Tour this year with less racing and more training. I have good sensations, so we will see.”
Yates’s main support men in the mountains will be Harper and Craddock. Durbridge and Juul-Jensen will be there to provide horsepower and control through the flats, and help with positioning on the approaches to the key climbs.
Bikes and gear
All the Team Jayco-AlUla riders have a full quiver of Giant bikes and CADEX WheelSystems to choose from based on the stage routes and terrain. In addition to the Propel Advanced SL for flatter stages and sprints, they have the all-rounder TCR Advanced SL Disc for mountain and hilly stages. And for the pivotal Stage 16 time trial, they have their Trinity Advanced Pro TT machines.
Beyond the bikes, riders also have several Giant helmets and shoes to choose from. The Pursuit helmet is the top choice for most sprinters, while the Rev Pro is typically favored by climbers and GC riders. Some of the riders, including Yates, will also be riding with the new Giant Surge Pro shoes.
Here’s a look at the full Team Jayco-AlUla Tour de France roster, plus some rider stats:
Team Jayco-AlUla Tour de France roster
Lawson Craddock (USA) – 3rd appearance
Luke Durbridge (AUS) – 9th appearance
Dylan Groenewegen (NED) – 6th appearance
Chris Harper (AUS) – Debut appearance
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN) – 6th appearance
Luka Mezgec (SLO) – 4th appearance
Elmar Reinders (NED) – Debut appearance
Simon Yates (GBR) – 6th appearance
Tour de France Team Stats
Youngest rider: Chris Harper (28)
Oldest rider: Luka Mezgec (34)
Tour de France debutants: Harper and Reinders
Most Tour de France appearances: Luke Durbridge (9x)
Total Tour de France appearances: (44x)