The Tour de l’Avenir, of which this summer’s edition will be the 57th (from August 7th to 16th), has remained true to its vocation since the event was created in 1961. The race, organised by Alpes Vélo, remains a life-size test for international riders under twenty-three years of age. As such, it has proved to be a world cycling academy, and a springboard for tomorrow’s champions, especially Tour de France stars.
The last ten years have been particularly rich in revelations, and not only because Colombian Egan Bernal, winner of the 2017 Tour de l’Avenir, won the most recent Tour de France just two years later.
Let’s take look back at a decade that has seen so many Tour de l’Avenir riders to turn into today’s champions.
2010 – A Talented Roster
2010 was one of the richest editions in terms of high-level revelations. Thirty years after Alfonso Florez’s historic victory, twenty-five years after Martin Ramirez’, here comes Nairo Quintana sounding the Colombian revival by winning the two alpine stages at Risoul and the final classification. Very quickly, he climbed the podium of the Tour de France (2nd in 2013 and 2015, 3rd in 2016), and won the Tour of Italy in 2014 and the Spanish Vuelta in 2016.
Other important future protagonists of the Grand Tours emerge: the Spaniard Landa, 5th and the Frenchman Bardet, 6th.
In 2010, the American prodigy Taylor Phinney set the best time in the Vierzon prologue and in the sprinters’ category, German John Degenkolb, future winner of Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix (2015), took the green jersey ahead of Australian Michael Matthews, a world-class figure. The Polish Michal Kwiatkowski, who became world champion four years later, also had a remarkable performance.
2011 – Bardet in Green
Esteban Chaves brought immediate confirmation of Colombia’s cycling revival. The winner of the 2011 Avenir also became the first rider from his country to win a monument, the 2016 Tour of Lombardy.
This edition also confirmed the progression of Romain Bardet, who had already stood out the previous year. Romain, who made it to the podium of the Tour de France without too much delay (2nd in 2016, 3rd in 2017, best climber 2019), impressed by winning the Salève stage but also the green jersey in the points classification, not because of his sprinting qualities, but because of his tried and tested regularity.
Other stage winners include Simon Yates and Warren Barguil. The Australian Rohan Dennis, the 2019 time trial world champion, and the Dutchman Tom Dumoulin also leave their mark.
2012 – Barguil’s Talent
Warren Barguil’s talent had not gone unnoticed the previous year. This year he won the GC after dominating the big alpine stage up to Valloire. The Breton rider also achieved the grand slam taking the green and polka dot jerseys as well.
Warren Barguil embodied a new wave in French cycling, as did Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet. The following year, for his first Grand Tour with the pros, Barguil won two stages of the Vuelta and again in the 2017 Tour de France, where he finished as the best climber. He is the current French road champion.
2013 – A Man Called Alaphilippe
No one was making a big deal of him yet and even the French teams had let him join the reserve squad of a foreign team, but the last stage in the 2013 Tour de l’Avenir, on the plateau des Glières, went to a certain Julian Alaphilippe.
The final victory went to Spain’s Ruben Fernandez, who beat England’s Adam Yates, whose twin, Simon – the future winner of the Vuelta (2018) and two Pyrenean stages in the last Tour de France – took two consecutive stages.
As did Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan, who went on to win three stages in his first Tour de France in 2019, including on the Champs-Elysées.
2014 – Another Colombian
A third final victory for a Colombian in the last five editions. This time, it is the talent of Miguel-Angel Lopez that come to the front. Confirmation will not be long in coming, as he goes on to win the 2016 Tour de Suisse and climbed the podium of the Tour of Italy and the 2018 Tour of Spain (3rd). He has become one of the world’s greatest Grand Tours riders.
Also among the revelations: Fernando Gaviria and Pierre Latour.
2015 – A Future World Champion
The race went to Spaniard Marc Soler, thanks to his regularity. He demonstrated his potential as a stage racer and went on to win Paris – Nice in 2018.
The 2015 edition was marked by the domination of the young Danish hopefuls throughout the flat stages. One of them, Mads Pedersen – winner of the Arbois stage – is no less than the current road world champion.
2016 – Gaudu, a Climber is Born
The young Breton David Gaudu scored a resounding double winning the new U23 version of the Course de la Paix in the spring followed by the Tour de l’Avenir.
A climber was born. David Gaudu is for now Thibaut Pinot’s privileged helper in the mountains, but he has already largely confirmed the promise he has shown. The future is his for the taking.
2017 – The star Bernal
If we look at the 2017 stage winners one by one, as they cross from Brittany to Savoie, almost all of them have already become international stars in one role or another: Kasper Asgreen – perhaps Julian Alaphilippe’s most prominent team-mate for the 2019 Tour de France – Fabio Jakobsen, Alvaro Hodeg, Pavel Sivakov and more.
But above all, this talent-rich 2017 Tour de l’Avenir brought a new star to world cycling: Egan Bernal. The Colombian rode a class above the rest in the mountain stages and took the overall, then only two years later became the first South American to win the Tour de France. Not to mention his successes at Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse.
Only dark shadow in the picture: Egan Bernal won ahead of promising young Belgian Bjorg Lambrecht, who lost his life in the 2019 Tour of Poland.
2018 – Amazing Pogaçar
It’s a Slovenian premiere on the Tour l’Avenir with the triumph of Tadej Pogaçar. He may not have won a stage, but he resisted to every attack, especially from Colombian climbers.
His subsequent professional debut in 2019 was thunderous: victory in the Tour of Algarve, the Tour of California, three stages on the Vuelta, where he finished third for his first Grand Tour. Amazing. He will soon be seen on the Tour de France.
2019 – Undecided
No less than five different riders took the yellow jersey from New Aquitaine (Marmande) to Savoie (final finish in Le Corbier). This was a particularly lively edition, via the Massif Central, and undecided right to the final day. In the end, the Norwegian Tobias Foss, with his previous experiences on the Tour de l’Avenir, proved to be the most consistent. He has since made his professional debut joining the powerful Dutch team Jumbo-Visma for 2020. 2019 was the first time that a Norwegian rider appeared on the Tour de l’Avenir’s winners list, completing his country’s success in the UCI Nations Cup Under 23 ranking.