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Cyclist's 2021 WorldTour predictions: Who the experts are backing

In-depth
22 Jan 2021
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Plenty of people predicted that a Slovenian would win last year’s Tour de France and a Brit would win the Giro. But – be honest now – how many of us thought those winners would be Primož Roglič and Geraint Thomas, and not, as it turned out, first-timers Tadej Pogačar and Tao Geoghegan Hart?

Attempting to predict the 2020 season proved to be a mug’s game as a new generation of young stars tore up the rulebook and put the old guard to the sword. Will that shift continue into 2021 or will we see a return of the usual suspects in the major races?

Who better to peer into their crystal balls than a crack core of seasoned sportscasters and industry insiders? The 10-person Cyclist panel includes a triple Tour winner, a king of the Classics, a WorldTour directeur sportif, plus commentators from Eurosport, ITV, GCN and more.

‘We are in such a great position commentating on the world’s best races that part of the fun is to put your neck on the line and help create a bit of debate,’ says commentator and speaker Anthony McCrossan.

You don’t get much more brass-necked than predicting a David Gaudu win in La Vuelta and Oliver Naesen to take victory in Flanders. Anthony, bless him, may live to regret such capriciousness.

Some other daring punts include Wout van Aert to win the Tour (Carlton Kirby), Filippo Ganna winning Paris-Roubaix (Daniel Lloyd), Chris Froome taking a third Vuelta (José Been) and Leonard Kämna becoming World Champion (go easy on the eggnog, Carlton).

In his defence, Kirby is quick to remind Cyclist of his occasional ability to back the right horse: ‘Just remember, my pre-race prediction of Tadej Pogačar to win the 2020 Tour went completely unheralded,’ he boasts. ‘So don’t start on the goodness-what-a-surprise stuff when it happens!’

Our experts

Click a name to skip to their predicitions

Carlton Kirby, Commentator for Eurosport  
Sean Kelly, Commentator and Classics legend  
Greg LeMond, Three-time Tour de France winner  
José Been, Dutch cycling journalist and commentator  
Anthony McCrossan, Cycling commentator  
Seb Piquet, The voice of the Tour de France on Radio Tour  
Matt White, DS for Team BikeExchange WorldTour team  
Declan Quigley, Cycling commentator and journalist  
Ned Boulting, Presenter and commentator for ITV Sport  
Dan Lloyd, GCN & Eurosport presenter

In the battle of the rookies versus the veterans, Kirby backs old hand Vincenzo Nibali to roll back the years in the Giro, while Greg LeMond goes the other way and tips barely-out-of-nappies Remco Evenepoel to win the Tour.

Elsewhere there’s more of a consensus, with 80% backing Annemiek van Vleuten to win the Giro Rosa, 50% calling a home win for Van Aert in the Worlds in Flanders, and 70% opting for either Van Aert and rival Mathieu van der Poel to tame the Hell of the North. Almost half the panel foresees a second Giro win for Richard Carapaz, a maiden Monument for Marc Hirschi at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and Primož Roglič burying his demons in the Tour.

Interestingly, just two people think Pogačar will retain the yellow jersey, and poor old Tao Geoghegan Hart receives not a single mention by anyone on the panel.

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Sentimentality perhaps shrouds Sean Kelly’s vision when he singles out fellow Irishman Sam Bennett as the favourite for the rainbow jersey. Partisanship, meanwhile, comes from Team BikeExchange (formerly Mitchelton-Scott) DS Matt White, who, perhaps for the sake of team morale, backs Michael Matthews to win Milan-San Remo and Simon Yates to finally win the Giro.

Of course, with Covid still raging, all bets could be off, and at this stage we don’t know if the calendar will even run as planned. And as if making predictions wasn’t tough enough, this year has the added curve ball of the Tokyo Olympics to factor in. Can Alejandro Valverde’s career end with gold? Someone thinks so.


Carlton Kirby

Commentator for Eurosport

Milan-San Remo

Winner: Julian Alaphillippe  
Why: He’s done it before and he’ll do it again after a close miss in 2020. Hiding in full view: his strategy is predictable but hard to stop

Ronde van Vlaanderen

Winner: Peter Sagan  
Why: Won in 2016 and should’ve defended in 2017. Been very quiet but this is an ideal place for him to hit back

Men’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: He can do anything and everything... terrible conditions will be his friend

Women’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Megan Jastrab  
Why: Potentially the new Queen of everything. Young and fearless with great stamina. The surprise result of the season

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Winner: Marc Hirschi  
Why: Could’ve and should’ve in 2020... will do this time

Giro d’Italia

Winner: Vicenzo Nibali  
Why: Oldies will be goodies in a return to a ‘normal’ season. He will be undistracted in his goal

Giro Rosa

Winner: Anna van der Breggen  
Why: She’s amazing and finished 2020 too strongly to ignore

Tour de France

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: On an attacker’s course he’ll be (or should be) the ‘alternative’ leader… but maybe only in my dreams

La Course

Winner: Elynor Bäckstedt  
Why: Her dad says so, and he’s too big to argue with

Vuelta a Espana

Winner: Primož Roglič  
Why: He likes it there – tapas and kickass!

World Championships Men’s Road Race

Winner: Leonard Kämna  
Why: I want my predictions of his greatness to be realised

World Championships Women’s Road Race

Winner: Amalie Dideriksen  
Why: She’s been too quiet lately. She’s planning something

Il Lombardia

Winner: Thibaut Pinot  
Why: Give the dog a bone... Last hurrah after misfiring with everything else... again

Any other predictions for 2021?

For all races there will be two factors: young guns with no fear versus the old guard who know more and have had long careers because they use what they know. So don’t start with the ‘goodness what a surprise’ stuff when it happens.

Oh and remember, my pre-race prediction of Tadej Pogačar to win the 2020 Tour went completely unheralded. Ha! I also predicted that Rigoberto Uran would feature strongly throughout. I was right. Double Ha!


Sean Kelly

Commentator and former Classics legend

Milan-San Remo

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: He can climb the Poggio as fast as the fastest climbers but they won’t have a sprint like his at the finish

Ronde van Vlaanderen

Winner: Julian Alaphilippe  
Why: He showed in 2020 that he was the favourite until his crash. This time he’ll attack from further out – somewhere like the Paterberg

Men’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Mattieu van der Poel  
Why: His bike handling will stand him good stead in dry conditions but the wet would be even better for him

Women’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Marianne Vos  
Why: Her cyclocross skills and experience will prove very important in a race like Roubaix

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Winner: Tadej Pogačar  
Why: He has the qualities for a parcours like Liège and he is not afraid to attack from quite a bit out for a solo win

Giro d’Italia

Winner: Richard Carapaz  
Why: If he rides he will definitely be one of the strongest there and a past winner who proved that he is a consistent three-week rider again this year in the Vuelta

Giro Rosa

Winner: Annemiek van Vleuten  
Why: She won it previously and will be hard to beat

Tour de France

Winner: Primož Roglič  
Why: The team will look at his race programme very closely for 2021 and get the lead up exactly right for him to hit top form in the third week when he seems to run into difficulties previously

La Course

Winner: Lizzie Deignan  
Why: She won it this year and the 2021 route could suit her even better

Vuelta a Espana

Winner: Enric Mas  
Why: Runner-up in 2018, if the Movistar man can get his build up right he is capable of going one better

World Championships Men’s Road Race

Winner: Sam Bennett  
Why: He will hold his form after the Tour de France

World Championships Women’s Road Race

Winner: Elisa Balsamo  
Why: She is a very good sprinter and is the up-and-coming star of the future

Il Lombardia

Winner: Jakob Fuglsang  
Why: He is a past winner but it may depend on whether the race is run at its normal date

Any other predictions for 2021?

Van der Poel to win Strade Bianche


Greg LeMond

Three-time Tour de France winner

Milan-San Remo

Winner: Julian Alaphilippe  
Why: He’s the best puncher, descender and all-round cyclist in the peloton, which should take care of the sprinters. If not alone, his sprinting prowess and speed give him the best shot at winning

Ronde van Vlaanderen

Winner: Mathieu van der Poel  
Why: The defending champion’s resume speaks for itself. Mathieu’s physical preparation, cyclocross, his puncher qualities, as well as his sprinting ability and previous success, with a superior team to support him in 2021, makes him my favourite

Men's Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: Fully recovered from his 2019 Tour de France injury, Wout came into his own this year and will carry that form and confidence into 2021. His racing style, bike-handling skills from years of cyclocross, time-trialling ability, strong sprint and tactics make Roubaix the ideal Classic for Wout

Women's Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Chantal van den Broek-Blaak  
Why: She has a lot of experience in the Classics, a strong team, and her recent victory in the Ronde makes her a favourite for Roubaix

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Winner: Marc Hirschi  
Why: Last year, in only his second participation, he finished second behind Primož Roglič. But he could have done better, as his Flèche Wallonne win and Tour success shows.

Giro d’Italia

Winner: Richard Carapaz  
Why: Super talent, great all-around rider and previous winner in 2019. Carapaz may have to be a super-domestique for Egan Bernal in the Tour, but he won’t be satisfied playing second fiddle in every race

He will have to choose one of the two other Grand Tours if he wants to maintain his upward trajectory. Why not the Giro? If he fails, he still has a chance to salvage the season with a go at the Vuelta

Giro Rosa

Winner: Anna van der Breggen  
Why: The defending champion has dominated women’s cycling and is strong on all types of terrain

Tour de France

Winner: Remo Evenepoel  
Why: Perhaps the best talent from Belgium since Eddy Merckx. His exceptional TT ability and a weight of just 60kg should make him one of the top climbers in the world. To win a traditional Tour with two individual TTs you have to be a complete rider and be in front with the best in the wind, on the descents, etc. Remco has all of those qualities.

If he rides it, there’ll be no pressure and he’ll have nothing to lose – much like Pogačar last year. With the Tour start in Brittany there is a high probability of side winds, echelons and crashes. Remco could not be on a better team, QuickStep, to protect him and take him safely and rested before the mountain stages

La Course

Winner: Anna van der Breggen  
Why: The 130km race features six repeats up the Mûr-de-Bretagne, which will give Anna an advantage over her competitors

Vuelta a Espana

Winner: Primož Roglič  
Why: Primož will put all of his focus and efforts on winning the Tour, where he will be one of my favourites. But if he fails, he can salvage his season again with a third victory in Spain

World Championships Men’s Road Race

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: On a home course, with steep, Tour of Flanders climbs, Wout will be motivated to improve on his silver medal from 2020

World Championships Women’s Road Race

Winner: Anna van der Breggen  
Why: She has won everything, and another title, which would be her third, will put her stamp as the best women’s rider in 2021

Il Lombardia

Winner: Julian Alaphilippe  
Why: For the same reason that he is the favourite for Milan-San Remo


José Been

Dutch cycling journalist and commentator

Milan-San Remo

Winner: Caleb Ewan  
Why: Ewan is one of the fastest sprinters out there, also one of the lightest, which is a huge advantage in the San Remo final if we go back to the traditional course in 2021

Ronde van Vlaanderen

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: We all hope for a rematch of the amazing 2020 race between Van der Poel and Van Aert. This time Van Aert starts his sprint in time and beats his lifelong rival

Men’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Greg Van Avermaet  
Why: Being an older and more experienced rider always helps when you are ambitious on the cobbles of Roubaix

Women’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Lucinda Brand  
Why: She has improved so much now she focusses on cyclocross. These skills, but also her natural endurance as a road racer, make the perfect combination for the first women’s Roubaix winner

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Winner: Alexander Vlasov  
Why: It depends on whether Vlasov focusses on the Giro or Tour de France as to whether he will actually ride Liège. He does have the perfect profile for this race

Giro d’Italia

Winner: Geraint Thomas  
Why: Who will ride and who won’t? Last year’s Giro proved to be one of the most amazing races of the season. Thomas crashed out early on a stray bottle but he wants to show the world one more time that he is not a one-time Grand Tour winner

Giro Rosa

Winner: Annemiek van Vleuten  
Why: She has a score to settle after crashing out in 2020. When she finds a course including the high mountains like Mortirolo or Stelvio there is not a woman who can beat her

Tour de France

Winner: Primož Roglič  
Why: It was admirable to see how soon Roglič regained his composure after that dramatic time-trial on the penultimate day, going on to win LBL and the Vuelta. This year Jumbo-Visma won’t make the same mistakes and will go for every second they can find and not get complacent before the Champs-Èlysèes is in sight

La Course

Winner: Marianne Vos  
Why: Marianne Vos is not the cannibal she used to be, but when she wins she wins in style. A punchy course in the west of France should suit her very well but it all depends on what the organisers come up with in the end

Vuelta a Espana

Winner: Chris Froome  
Why: The Vuelta is always the hardest to predict because who rides depends on how the Tour and Giro go. It’s the race of the last chance, the revenge, or the race of the young breakthrough rider

I am not sure if Froome will ever get to his old self again but if he does, a third Vuelta might be a great win for him

World Championships Men’s Road Race

Winner: Matteo Trentin  
Why: We have a Belgian race, cobbles and hills. Trentin is the ultimate championship racer. It’s a heart choice as well. He is a rider I love for his panache on the bike but also for his outspokenness about any issues in cycling. Never bitter and always encouraging towards others

World Championships Women’s Road Race

Winner: Lizzie Deignan  
Why: Lizzie Deignan decided to race two more years after her stellar 2020 season. The British always operate as a team and will be 100% behind Deignan on this Belgian course

Il Lombardia

Winner: Remco Evenepoel  
Why: Lombardia has had its fair share of surprise winners in the past. It’s the last big one of the season. Many are incredibly tired after a long year but Evenepoel is still as fresh as can be. He will return to Lombardia after his crash to win it in 2021

Any other predictions for 2021?

It’s absolutely ridiculous that the women get offered a completely different and far flatter course in Tokyo than the men. The men’s race is hilly and long. My heart says that Alejandro Valverde will take the gold.

It’s his last chance and the only thing on his mind since his world title. On the day itself it will be a fast rider who can do well on hills. Wout van Aert is the first one that comes to mind. For the women it’s a rather flat ride ending on a racecourse. Marianne Vos is my pick for that race.

Our experts

Click a name to skip to their predicitions

Carlton Kirby, Commentator for Eurosport  
Sean Kelly, Commentator and Classics legend  
Greg LeMond, Three-time Tour de France winner  
José Been, Dutch cycling journalist and commentator  
Anthony McCrossan, Cycling commentator  
Seb Piquet, The voice of the Tour de France on Radio Tour  
Matt White, DS for Team BikeExchange WorldTour team  
Declan Quigley, Cycling commentator and journalist  
Ned Boulting, Presenter and commentator for ITV Sport  
Dan Lloyd, GCN & Eurosport presenter


Anthony McCrossan

Cycling commentator and speaker at the Giro and Tour

Milan-San Remo

Winner: Marc Hirschi  
Why: He’ll start 2021 the way he left 2020. La Classicissima is a waiting game then it’s all about the attack over the Poggio and the descent to the Via Roma. Few can descend as fast as Hirschi. He will be there and will just edge the sprint to take his first Monument

Ronde van Vlaanderen

Winner: Oliver Naesen  
Why: Seventh in both 2020 and 2019 and now with a beefed-up AG2R-Citroën team, Naesen will benefit from everyone expecting his teammates like Van Avermaet to win.

He’ll be the rider that everyone knew could win a huge race but forgot to worry about in the finale and will give Belgium a huge day of celebration

Men’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Mathieu van der Poel  
Why: Everyone wants that, don’t they? The sight of Mathieu racing into the Roubaix velodrome looking silky smooth and still full of riding after a display of class and hunger is a win no cycling fan could fail to celebrate

Women’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Chantal van den Broek-Blaak  
Why: With her proven Classics pedigree, if Chantal says to SD Worx that her dream is to win Roubaix, they will put it all on the line for her. She has the power, the mental toughness and the skills to win Roubaix

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Winner: Romain Bardet  
Why: Now this might seem like an odd choice, but Bardet loves one-day races even though most people think of him as a Grand Tour rider. Without focussing on it, he finished third in 2018 and his move to Team DSM will re-invigorate him with a new focus

Giro d’Italia

Winner: Simon Yates  
Why: The Briton will finally clinch the Giro. After contracting Covid in 2020 and igniting the race in the maglia rosa in 2018, everything will go right for him and he will take the victory to add to his Vuelta triumph

Giro Rosa

Winner: Annemiek van Vleuten  
Why: She crashed out of the 2020 edition while on course for a hat-trick. As long as her team supports a race that is no longer in the women’s WorldTour then she will dominate again and take that third victory

Tour de France

Winner: Richard Carapaz  
Why: Ineos have spent the winter rebuilding, refocussing and getting everything ready to win the Tour again.

They have added more star names, brought in more performance-related directors and they will come to the Tour ready to take it again. This time Ecuador will get its first win after joint leadership with Egan Bernal leaves Carapaz as leader in the final week

La Course

Winner: Audrey Cordon Ragot  
Why: 130km and six ascents of the Mûr-de-Bretagne is tough and you have to know the roads and the course well. Audrey lives 30km from the Mûr and knows the area like the back of her hand. If Trek-Segafredo back her, she will deliver. Imagine the emotion of the 2020 French champion winning on her home roads! That would be some finish to commentate on

Vuelta a Espana

Winner: David Gaudu  
Why: He finished in the top 10 in 2020 without even focussing on the overall. Coming into the race he was still recovering from injury and was supporting Pinot, yet walked away with two wins. Could that open the floodgates?

World Championships Men’s Road Race

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: A Belgian in Belgium. He finished second in 2020 and will return to the Worlds with even more ambition and fire to try and take the rainbow bands in front of his home crowd. Can you imagine the reaction if he did it?

World Championships Women’s Road Race

Winner: Elisa Longo Borghini  
Why: Twice on the podium at the Worlds, a podium in the Olympics; Elisa is a rider for a big occasion. She has already won in Flanders so it’s a happy hunting ground for her. We saw a resurgent Longo Borghini in 2020 after lockdown and she’ll use that form to great effect to finally take the rainbow bands she dreams of

Il Lombardia

Winner: George Bennett  
Why: The Kiwi deserves a huge win in a Monument. He has already had top 10 finishes in a race that suits him perfectly and with second place in 2020 he will now have the confidence to go one better

Any other predictions for 2021?

Lizzie Deignan and Tadej Pogačar will win gold medals in the Tokyo Olympics


Seb Piquet

The voice of the Tour de France on Radio Tour

Milan-San Remo

Winner: Peter Sagan  
Why: He’s got to show he still has it

Ronde van Vlaanderen

Winner: Julian Alaphilippe  
Why: Simply because it would make a good story

Men’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: Because he would have won it in 2020

Women’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Chantal van den Broek-Blaak  
Why: Because she would have won it in 2020 and it could be her last great triumph

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Winner: Mark Hirschi  
Why: The first of a long series

Giro d’Italia

Winner: Tom Dumoulin  
Why: Because he needs to hit back and he won’t be a number two at the Tour again

Giro Rosa

Winner: Annemiek van Vleuten  
Why: She’s the best on stage races

Tour de France

Winner: Egan Bernal  
Why: Because he will return with a vengeance

La Course

Winner: Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig  
Why: Because we all need a good celebration and post-race interview

Vuelta a Espana

Winner: Tadej Pogačar  
Why: Because he’ll have quit the Tour and will want to hit back

World Championships Men’s Road Race

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: Because it’s on home soil

World Championships Women’s Road Race

Winner: Lizzie Deignan  
Why: Revenge after failing to be Olympic champion

Il Lombardia

Winner: Remco Evenepoel  
Why: Like Alaphilippe at Flanders, it completes the redemption and makes a good story

Any other predictions for 2021?

Christian Prudhomme will be on the Tour de France from start to finish and Anna van der Breggen will be Olympic champion again


Matt White

DS for Team BikeExchange WorldTour team

Milan-San Remo

Winner: Michael Matthews  
Why: Because he’s come close before and he’s got all the tools and characteristics, plus a team 100% behind him

Ronde van Vlaanderen

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: He came agonisingly close this year and he’ll be hungry to get what for Belgians is the most special win of the year

Men’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Mathieu van der Poel  
Why: Even though he hasn’t ridden the race yet, there isn’t a rider on the planet with his skillset and ability

Women’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Ellen van Dijk  
Why: She’ll float across the cobbles alright

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Winner: Marc Hirschi  
Why: He’s probably pretty upset with the 2020 result and I think he’ll be even better next year. It’s a race that really suits him and there’ll be a big focus on it this spring

Giro d’Italia

Winner: Simon Yates  
Why: Even without seeing the course, I think he’s going to be pretty spurred on by last year. With fewer time-trial kilometres than last year, regardless of what the last week looks like, it’s going to be a hard course and I think, if selected, he’s ready to make amends for the last couple of years

Giro Rosa

Winner: Annemiek van Vleuten  
Why: It’s hard to look beyond her because of her history. The harder it is, the easier it will become for her to win it

Tour de France

Winner: Primož Roglič  
Why: The two longer TTs doesn’t necessarily suit the likes of Bernal and Pogačar, and off the back of this year’s Tour and Vuelta he goes in as favourite

La Course

Winner: Marianne Vos  
Why: She’s a great all-rounder

Vuelta a Espana

Winner: Richard Carapaz  
Why: It’s a real stab in the dark because you don’t know who’s going to be there, but I’ll go with Carapaz. He’s probably going to do the Tour again in the aid of Thomas and Bernal, and he’ll probably have the freedom to go for the Vuelta like in 2020

World Championships Men’s Road Race

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: Belgie at home – he’ll have a massive support, the best and biggest team backing him, he’s as fast as anyone, and it’s going to be very hard to beat on any course they design in that region

World Championships Women’s Road Race

Winner: Marianne Vos  
Why: She’s the fastest of the Dutch and that course will suit her

Il Lombardia

Winner: Thibaut Pinot  
Why: It’s an Olympic year, which makes it hard, but let’s have a crack with Pinot because I don’t think he’ll do the Tour this year


Declan Quigley

Cycling commentator and journalist

Milan-San Remo

Winner: Mathieu van der Poel (assuming his team is invited)  
Why: He’s had a look at it now and anything Wout can do…

Ronde van Vlaanderen

Winner: Kasper Asgreen  
Why: He knows the race, he has the team, he has the physical ability and he’s coming into his best years

Men’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: He will hope he got all the bad luck out of the way with crashes and mechanicals in 2019. With a clear run he will surely be in the mix for glory

Women’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Lucinda Brand  
Why: A combination of cyclocross skills and sheer power will be key in a first ever women’s version of L’Enfer du Nord

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Winner: Julian Alaphilippe  
Why: Winning in the arc-en-ciel jersey will be perfect redemption for the 2020 near miss and is sure to be a big motivation

Giro d’Italia

Winner: Geraint Thomas  
Why: A training crash and ensuing shoulder injury have affected his preparation but he wasn’t over-raced in 2020 and the teak-tough Welshman will be eager to add to his palmares and exorcise the ghost of the 2020 ‘bidon-gate’

Giro Rosa

Winner: Annamiek van Vleuten  
Why: Her crash within sight of a hattrick of wins in 2020 will have hurt long after the broken wrist healed. If it’s in her programme so close to Tokyo she’ll be tough to beat

Tour de France

Winner: Tadej Pogačar  
Why: This time last year we were saying that Egan Bernal was going to win it for years and now it’s Tadej’s turn to be at the outset of an extended period of dominance. He can do everything and he’s only going to get stronger

La Course

Winner: Kasia Niewiadoma  
Why: Six times up the Mûr-de-Bretagne is a demanding test by any measure and last year’s fourth place finisher won’t be afraid of the course

Vuelta a Espana

Winner: Remco Evenepoel  
Why: He may be young but his one-week stage racing prowess is already established and the long layoff and steady build up after his Il Lombardia crash may actually have aided his long-term development

World Championships Men’s Road Race

Winner: Remco Evenepoel  
Why: A Remco win in Flanders. What could be more amazing than that?

World Championships Women’s Road Race

Winner: Lizzie Deignan  
Why: Tokyo is the focus but Flanders may be even better suited to the 2015 champion

Il Lombardia

Winner: Egan Bernal  
Why: If he can shake off the debilitating effects of his back injury then the second half of 2021 could offer opportunities to rekindle the winning flame, particularly at a race where he finished third in 2019

Any other predictions for 2021?

Annamiek van Vleuten is going to be tough to stop at the Olympic road race. Given her dramatic departure from the Rio Olympics and the hilly route, it’s sure to be a big target.

Primož Roglič has the climbing ability to get the win in the men’s Olympic road race if his Tour de France ambitions have evaporated early and he switches his attention to Japan


Ned Boulting

Presenter and commentator for ITV Sport

Milan-San Remo

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: Because he’s a climber who can sprint, a sprinter who can climb, a climber who can time-trial, and a time-triallist who can sprint. And climb

Ronde van Vlaanderen

Winner: Julian Alaphilippe  
Why: Unfinished business. I think he’d have won the last one. He had the ‘vans’ on the brink

Men’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Peter Sagan  
Why: Despite having (almost accurately) predicted he wouldn’t win a race in 2020, I think he’s got one last big win left in him. And it’s this

Women’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Anna van der Breggen  
Why: Anna van der Breggen

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Winner: Tadej Pogačar  
Why: He might as well

Giro d’Italia

Winner: Richard Carapaz  
Why: I still think Ineos will back a different horse for the Tour. So Carapaz goes to the Giro. And wins it

Giro Rosa

Winner: Annemiek van Vleuten  
Why: Annemiek van Vleuten

Tour de France

Winner: Primož Roglič  
Why: It’s a more controllable route for him and Jumbo-Visma than it was in 2020. And let’s not forget how close he was last year. Plus, flat TT kilometres

La Course

Winner: Lizzie Deignan  
Why: She’ll be hard to shake off on the Mûr, and would outsprint most at the line

Vuelta a Espana

Winner: Tadej Pogačar  
Why: If he fails to win the Tour (which I ridiculously just predicted), he’ll win this one instead. Unless Remco turns up

World Championships Men’s Road Race

Winner: Marc Hirschi  
Why: Because I haven’t written his name anywhere else yet, and he’s bound to win something very big in 2021

World Championships Women’s Road Race

Winner: Marianne Vos  
Why: Because everyone would love it

Il Lombardia

Winner: Alexander Vlasov  
Why: Could have won it last year when he was riding for Fuglsang. He’ll have learned from that


Dan Lloyd

GCN & Eurosport presenter

Milan-San Remo

Winner: Caleb Ewan  
Why: He’s been there or thereabouts a couple of times before. Recently the race has been won from an attack more often than not, so I’m thinking it’s about time for a sprint

Ronde van Vlaanderen

Winner: Mathieu van der Poel  
Why: Why not? I love watching him race, and he’s now got the experience, and of course a Monument under his belt

Men’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Filippo Ganna  
Why: This is slightly off the wall, I know, but I’ve long thought that Paris-Roubaix is a race for him. Who knows, he might not even take the risk of racing it next year on the lead up to Tokyo, but one day I believe he’ll do it. He’s won the Espoirs Paris-Roubaix and has all the characteristics you need for that race

Women’s Paris-Roubaix

Winner: Anna van der Breggen  
Why: Mainly because she’s Anna van der Breggen. There isn’t much she hasn’t won, and this will be her only opportunity to win this one. Who better to take the inaugural women’s Paris-Roubaix than the World Champion?

Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: Who knows if he’ll even be there, but if he decides to continue past the cobbles and is in top form, we’ve seen that he can stick with the best on the climbs, even mountains, and packs a punch in the sprint at the end

Giro d’Italia

Winner: Richard Carapaz  
Why: Was supposed to ride the Giro in 2020, ended up riding the Tour and Vuelta with varying degrees of success. With the proper preparation, I think he’ll be the man to beat

Giro Rosa

Winner: Annemiek van Vleuten  
Why: Not really going out on a limb with this one, but it’s hard to see past her when it comes to the high mountains of Italy

Tour de France

Winner: Tadej Pogačar  
Why: How do you beat him? Incredible at climbing, incredible at time-trialling, a great bike handler. You’d imagine he can only get better, and if he does I don’t see anybody getting near him, particularly given what his coach has said about his powers of recovery. He’s a phenomenon

La Course

Winner: Lorena Wiebes  
Why: The sprinter to beat these days in the women’s peloton

Vuelta a Espana

Winner: Enric Mas  
Why: Honestly, it’s so hard to predict the winner of the Vuelta this far out – no big names say that the Vuelta is their big goal of the season. Mas has been consistent in 2020 and I don’t see him vying for the Tour win. But if everything goes 100% to plan for him at his home Grand Tour, he could do it

World Championships Men’s Road Race

Winner: Wout van Aert  
Why: It’s got to be, hasn’t it? In Flanders, Belgium, obviously the pressure on him will be enormous. If he wins it, I want to be there for the party

World Championships Women’s Road Race

Winner: Marianne Vos  
Why: It’s been a while since Vos won the rainbow jersey. Trying to get a protected role in the women’s Dutch team is no mean feat, even for someone of her standard, but the course should suit her down to the ground, and I think it will be her big goal for the year

Il Lombardia

Winner: Remco Evenepoel  
Why: Similarly hard to predict as the Vuelta, especially as the Worlds is not suited to climbers next year, so many of them will be eating some fast food and sinking a couple of beers by this point in the year.

However, Remco will definitely have continued through to the Worlds, perhaps for both the TT and road race, and he’ll be full of motivation to land what might be his first Monument win. Also, I’m sure he’d like to end next season by exorcising the demons from this one

Our experts

Click a name to skip to their predicitions

Carlton Kirby, Commentator for Eurosport  
Sean Kelly, Commentator and Classics legend  
Greg LeMond, Three-time Tour de France winner  
José Been, Dutch cycling journalist and commentator  
Anthony McCrossan, Cycling commentator  
Seb Piquet, The voice of the Tour de France on Radio Tour  
Matt White, DS for Team BikeExchange WorldTour team  
Declan Quigley, Cycling commentator and journalist  
Ned Boulting, Presenter and commentator for ITV Sport  
Dan Lloyd, GCN & Eurosport presenter