Seven Americans take the start of the 109th edition of the Tour de France which starts Friday from Copenhagen, Denmark. All from different teams, they include: Matteo Jorgenson from Movistar, Brandon McNulty from UAE, Sepp Kuss from Jumbo Visma, Nielson Powless from EF Education EasyPost, Quin Simmons from Trek Segafredo, Kevin Vermaerke from Team DSM and Joe Dombrowski from Astana Qazaqstan.
Responsibilities and expectations vary widely within this group. Riders like McNulty and Kuss are no doubt expected to be in the thick of the action at the most critical moments of the three-week race, but it’s less clear what kind of roles the others will play.
Something that stands out for this group, with the exception of Dombrowski, is youth. Five of the seven runners are 25 and under. Even so, it’s a very capable group of riders who will likely feature prominently on the front and in the breaks throughout the race this year and for years to come.
Let’s meet the runners:
Age: 27 years old
Hometown: Durango, Colorado
Team: Jumbo Visma
Best result: 8th GC Vuelta España (’21), 1st stage 15 Tour de France (’21)
Kuss is arguably a member of one of the strongest Grand Tour teams in history. Jumbo Visma’s Tour 2022 roster is absolutely stacked. Together with Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingaard they have two runners capable of winning the race.
Just being named to Jumbo Visma’s eight-man roster this year is an epic accomplishment in itself, and Kuss will help guide his two team captains through the mountain stages of weeks two and three.
Kuss has already tasted victory on the Tour himself with a solo mountaintop stage victory last year – becoming the first American since 2011 to win a stage on the Tour.
This will be Kuss’s third Tour appearance, and he will certainly figure prominently among the GC contenders in the critical high mountain stages.
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Team: United Arab Emirates
Best result: 11th Criterium du Dauphiné (’22)
McNulty will have his work cut out for him in this year’s Tour. He will play an important supporting role for two-time defending Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar, who is looking to add a third consecutive title to his name.
McNulty is quickly establishing himself as a future sports star. He is a strong climber who can time trial and win races. He finished an impressive 11th overall at the Criterium du Dauphiné earlier this month and finished 12th overall at Paris-Nice.
With two victories at the start of the season at the Faune-Ardèche Classic in February and at the Trofeo Calvia in January, McNulty is having a fabulous season and looks very promising indeed.
Hometown: Marshall, Virginia
Team: Astana Qazaqstan
Best result: 1st stage 4 Giro d’Italia (’22)
Especially compared to the other names in this group, Dombrowski has moved up to veteran status in the WorldTour peloton. After spending the past nine seasons racing for some of the sport’s top teams, Dombrowski is finally making his Tour de France debut with his new team, Astana Qazaqstan.
Dombrowski raced the Giro d’Italia in May and will make a relatively quick turnaround to race the Tour four weeks later.
Dombrowski will likely ride to support Astana GC prospect Alexey Lutsenko, but will also use his experience to try his hand at a stage win from a breakaway if the opportunity arises.
Age: 25 years old
Hometown: Sacramento, California
Team: EF Education Easy Post
Best result: 1st Classica San Sebastian (’21)
Powless is a late addition to EF’s touring roster. Powless notched an impressive fourth place overall in the Tour de Suisse where he narrowly missed out on a stage win on stage five. He’s a proven all-rounder who picked up an incredible win at the hard-hitting landmark, Classica San Sebastian last year.
Look for Powless to feature in breakaways and as an important lieutenant for his team’s GC leader, Rigoberto Uran.
Age: 22 years old
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Best result: 13th Criterium du Dauphiné (’22)
Jorgenson, whose 23rd birthday coincides with the Grand Départ of the Tour, is in his third year with Movistar.
Jorgenson became known for his special combination of climbing ability, raw power and superb bike handling skills.
Look for Jorgenson to pave the way for Movistar team captain Enric Mas, who had a slow start to the season but finished second overall at Vuelta España last year.
Preparing for the Tour, Jorgenson went to high camp at Isola 2000, a ski resort a short drive from his coastal homeport of Nice, France.
Age: 21 years old
Hometown: Durango, Colorado
Team: Trek Segafredo
Top Result: 1st GC Tour de Wallonie (’21), Mountain Classification Tour de Suisse (’22)
Simmons is another star of the future who is already racking up some serious results. He has already won the climbing jersey at the Tour de Suisse and Tirreno-Adriatico this season, and may well be in the hunt to do the same at the Tour.
With a top ten at Strade Bianche earlier this season and a stage win that led to a GC crown at the Tour de Wallonie, Simmons is proving himself.
At just 21, we’re probably only beginning to see what’s possible for Simmons. Look for it to feature prominently in the hilly breakaways throughout the three weeks of racing.
Age: 21 years old
Hometown: Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Team: DSM Team
Best result: 4th stage 2 Critérium du Dauphine (’22)
At only 21, Vermaerke is by far the least experienced of this group. Although new to the WorldTour, Vermaerke had a strong start to the season with an 11th place overall in the Tour of Oman in February.
After failing to complete Paris-Nice, Vermaerke’s spring calendar was filled with Belgian one-day races where he worked for his team managers.
He proved he could race in stages with solid performances at the Tour of Norway and the Critérium du Dauphiné. Now in his second full season with the DSM team, Vermaerke has the opportunity to ride for Romain Bardet in the biggest race of the year.
It’s fair to say that Vermaerke is just getting started.