Ulissi will not defend his title, Herrada back at the Škoda Tour LuXembourg

Spotlight on the headliners of the 2021 edition, will see the presence of the Spaniard Jesus Herrada, winner of the event in 2019.
Winner in 2020, Diego Ulissi will not defend his title. Despite the Italian’s absence, the UAE roster presents itself with some quality riders, starting with the experienced David de la Cruz. At 32, the Spaniard remains in a very good 7th place at the Vuelta. He will be accompanied by the Italians: Davide Formolo and Valerio Conti.

If the outgoing winner is among the absent, Jesus Herrada, his predecessor in the Luxembourg event, will indeed be at the start.In 2019, the Cofidis rider dominated the competition by winning in Diekirch and Luxembourg. In addition to the overall classification, the Cofidis rider also won the points classification. This season, adding to his 2nd place on the 14th stage of the Tour of Spain as well as a 2nd place at the final classification of the Tour de l’Occitanie, he also won the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana in Mallorca.
Victorious of the three grand tours, Vincenzo Nibali will be one of the attractions of the Grand Ducal event. The Messina native will lead the Team Trek-Segafredo which will also field the Dutchman Bauke Mollema (stage winner this year in the Tour de France) and former Danish world champion Mads Pedersen. 
Another expected shock trio are Pinot - Gaudu - Reichenbach from Groupama-FDJ. Hero of the 2019 Grande Boucle, Thibaut Pinot has unfortunately had some problems lately, but the Frenchman is banking on the Škoda Tour de Luxembourg to make a come-back. His compatriot David Gaudu had an interesting year in 2021 with two successes as well as an 11th place in the final classification of the Tour de France. His qualities as a puncher should allow him to play a leading role at the major national road race.  Surrounding its two leaders, the team of Marc Madiot relies on the experience of the Swiss Sébastien Reichenbach.
TotalEnergies comes to Luxembourg with great ambitions. We will notably find Anthony Turgis, 2nd for Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, 10th at Milan-Sanremo and 8th at Gent-Wevelgem and the Ronde van Vlaanderen. The Frenchman, was ranked 4th in the 2019 edition of the Tour de Luxembourg. He can count on an experienced team including the Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen (former stage winner of the Tour de France, the Dauphiné and Gent-Wevelgem) and the Dutchman Niki Terpstra who was among the successful at Paris-Roubaix and the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
Adding to the French contingent comes the Ag2r-Citroën Team who announces two serious competitors: Ben O’Connor and Benoît Cosnefroy. Stage winner last July in Tignes and 4th in the final classification of the Tour, the Australian born Ben made a strong  impression on his first participation in the Grande Boucle. Cosnefroy, former U23 world champion in 2017, shone this summer by winning the Bretagne Classic and the Tour du Jura. In addition to the participation of O’Connor and Cosnefroy the team of Vincent Lavenu, has also announced the return to competition of Bob Jungels just 93 days after his last race. Recovering from an iliac artery endofibrosis operation, the former Luxembourg champion will be back in the peloton with the ambition to regain confidence and the pleasure of riding.
Beside Nibali, another former grand tour winner will be at the start in Luxembourg: Nairo Quintana. Winner of the Giro (2014) and the Vuelta (2016), the Colombian will discover the Škoda Tour under the jersey of Arkéa-Samsic. This year, the winner of the 2013 Tour polka dot jersey, won a stage and the final classification of the Tour of Asturias. Remaining within the climber category, Joao Almeida has some pretty good references. The Portuguese from the Deceuninck-Quick Step has notably finished 6th and 4th in the last two editions of the Tour of Italy and remains on a solid performance in the Tour of Poland (final classification and 2 stage victories).
As for the sprinters, Caleb Ewan, unlucky at the 2021 Tour, hopes to feed the Lotto-Soudal victory counter. The Australian has already won six times this year. To successfully complete his mission, he will have to compete against Frenchman Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels), who is still looking for a first success this season.
Esteban Chaves, the Colombian of the Team BikeExchange (13th of the Tour de France 2021), and Markus Hoelgaard, the solid Norwegian of the Uno-X team (second at the Škoda Tour in 2020 and stage winner at the Artic Race of Norway this year) complete the field of favourites for this 81st Tour de Luxembourg.
Jesus Herrada (E/Cofidis) wins stage 3 of the Skoda Tour Luxembourg 2019 – Photo: Serge Waldbillig / Skoda Tour Luxembourg
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