The U.S. will match a 20 year low this year, sending only three American riders to cycling’s marquee event, the 2017 Tour de France. Of last year’s American representation in the Tour (Lawson Craddock, Howes, van Garderen, Bookwalter and Stetina) none are back this year.
Instead, two rookies and a seasoned general classification rider will make up the svelte American presence in this year’s Tour. All three – Taylor Phinney, Nathan Brown, and Andrew Talansky – will be riding for Cannondale-Drapac in its lime green colors.
Tejay van Garderen skipped this year’s Tour to focus instead on the Giro d’Italia and he managed to grab his first career grand tour stage win there. Alex Howes and Peter Stetina both did the same for 2017.
It’s not all bad news. There are still three U.S. registered teams in the WorldTour – BMC Racing, Cannondale-Drapac and Trek-Segafredo, though that doesn’t guarantee that an American will be in their ranks.
The future, however, looks bright. There are a lot of great riders poised to make Tour debuts in the coming years. Joe Dombrowski, Chad Haga and Ian Boswell all show great promise in addition to a number of U23 riders.
Although threadbare, watch for American names to show up early this Tour. Taylor Phinney, a former national champion and fourth at the London Olympics in the time trial, might just be capable of doing something special in Saturday’s stage 1 TT.
And remember, it could be worse, Canada is sending zero riders this year.