The 19 Lost Boys of the Tour de France Examining the riders who abandoned before the first rest day

Two brutal days in the Alps, following a week of nonstop racing across France, from west to east, put a dozen more riders out of the Tour de France. That has brought the total of Lost Boys to 19 after nine stages. Here is the alphabetical rundown on all these riders, what were their expectations, how they were racing and why they left the Tour.

By: John Wilcockson

1. Bryan Coquard (F), B&B Hotels-KTM

A victim of the high-speed stage 1 crash that eliminated his B&B team captain Cyril Lemoine, sprinter Coquard said the wet, cold weather on stage 9 accentuated his suffering from a badly bruised back and buttocks. He struggled to the finish but was four minutes outside the time limit—“that’s the tough rule of the sport,” he commented.

2. Stefan de Bod (SA), Astana-Premier Tech

A valued worker for Astana-Premier Tech team leader Alexey Lutsenko, de Bod finished outside the time limit on stage 9, not fully recovered from a scary crash the day before on the slick descent of Mont Saxonnex. The 2019 African continental time trial champion was riding his first Tour following a solid performance at the 2020 Vuelta a España.

3. Jasper De Buyst (B), Lotto-Soudal

A team worker, De Buyst was the first rider on stage 9 to abandon the race. His team said that the cold, wet conditions revived some back pain that he’d endured in the spring and already caused him to quit the Giro d’Italia, also on stage 9.

4. Anthony Delaplace (F), Team Arkéa-Samsic

Riding his eighth Tour de France in search of a stage win, Delaplace said the first week’s high speeds made it “hyper-difficult to shine.” He gave everything he could on the wet, mountainous stage 9 but arrived in Tignes four minutes outside the time limit.  “Difficult to describe what I feel this evening,” he wrote on Twitter, “the disappointment is so great.”

5. Arnaud Démare (F), Groupama-FDJ

Not fully recovered from his high-speed crash on stage 3, Groupama-FDJ’s sprinter and team leader Démare was dropped from the gruppetto on the apocalyptic stage 9 and finished four minutes outside the time limit. “It’s cycling and we know that the Tour is unforgiving,” he said.

6. Nic Dlamini (SA), Qhubeka-NextHash

The first Black South African to compete at the Tour de France, Dlamini crashed on an early climb of stage 9 through the Alps, lost contact with the grupetto and rode the rest of the stage alone. He finished 47 minutes outside the time cut. “I think just getting off my bike and into a car wouldn’t be an option,” he said.

7. Caleb Ewan (Aus), Lotto-Soudal

Ewan winning stage 5 of the 2021 Giro d’Italia. Image: Chris Auld.

Australian sprinter Ewan could not start stage 4 after breaking his collarbone in his spectacular crash with Peter Sagan during the stage 3 finishing sprint. 

8. Robert Gesink (Nl), Jumbo-Visma

Robert Gesink at the Tour de France 2020
Robert Gesink at the 2020 Tour de France. Image: Getty Images.

Jumbo-Visma’s veteran climbing domestique Gesink crashed out of the Tour on stage 3 with concussion and a broken collarbone.

9. Jacopo Guarnieri (I), Groupama-FDJ

Jacopo Guarnieri
Jacopo Guarnieri. Image: STUART FRANKLIN/GETTY IMAGES

The lead-out man for team leader Arnaud Démare, Guarnieri hadn’t fully recovered from injuring his stomach in a stage 6 crash; he suffered on the second alpine stage and finished well outside the time limit. “I gave all I got today,” he said, “but it wasn’t enough.”

10. Jack Haig (Aus), Bahrain Victorious

Jack Haig. Image: Getty Images

Bahrain Victorious team leader Jack Haig was planning great things until a high-speed crash on stage 3 put him out of the race with a broken collarbone.

11. Ignatus Konovalovas (Lit), Groupama-FDJ

Ignatas Konovalovas Tour de France
Ignatas Konovalovas

A victim of stage 1’s second mass pileup, team worker Konovalovas had to quit with a concussion. 

12. Cyril Lemoine (F), B&B Hotels-KTM

Tour de France crash
Cyril Lemoine after crashing on the opening stage of the Tour de France. Image: Getty Images.

Another victim of stage 1’s second mass pileup, B&B Hotels-KTM team captain Lemoine abandoned the race with four broken ribs, a cut behind his right ear and a collapsed lung. 

13. Tim Merlier (B), Alpecin-Fenix

One of the sport’s top sprinters disputing his first Tour, Merlier won stage 3 at Pontivy but quit the race halfway through stage 9 after he was dropped by the last group on the road. He said that the tight time limit [37 minutes on a stage over five categorized climbs] “created stress and a faster rhythm in the gruppetto…and at one point I was empty and couldn’t follow.”

14. Nans Peters (F), AG2R-Citroên

Riding with a small fracture in his back (a lumbar transverse apophysis) since coming down in the first mass pileup on stage 1, French climber Peters was forced to quit the Tour halfway up the Col de Pré on stage 9. The day before, despite the pain, he managed to finish in an honorable 28th place on the first alpine stage.

15. Primož Roglič (Slo), Jumbo-Visma

The top favorite to challenge Tadej Pogačar, fellow Slovenian Roglič took two third places before crashing at high speed on stage 3. Covered in cuts and bruises, he soldiered on, taking a remarkable seventh place in the time trial, but after finishing minutes behind the other GC leader on stages 7 and 8, he did not start stage 9.  “I was in a lot of pain. It was just too much for my body,” he said. After recuperating, he will bid for Olympic golds at the road race and time trial in Tokyo.

16. Marc Soler (Sp), Movistar Team

Marc Soler. Image: Chris Auld

One of the Movistar Team’s top climbers, Soler could not start stage 2 after bravely finishing stage 1 with two fractured elbows. 

17. Jasha Sütterlin (G), Team DSM

Jasha Sütterlin. Image: Chris Auld.

German Jasha Sütterlin, a workhorse for Team DSM, crashed out on stage 1, being hospitalized with severe contusions of his right wrist. 

18. Mathieu van der Poel (Nl), Alpecin-Fenix

After an enormously successful opening week to his first Tour—one stage win and six days in the yellow jersey— Dutch phenom van der Poel did not start stage 9. He plans to rest for a week, train hard at an altitude camp in Tignes and then fly to Tokyo in a bid to win an Olympic gold medal in the mountain bike cross-country.

19. Loïc Vliegen (B), Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert

A team worker riding his first Tour, Vliegen finished four minutes outside the time limit on stage 9. As a result of injuring his knee in one of the stage 1 pileups, he said he adjusted his position on the bike and was suffering with his back and “could barely pedal.” As for missing the time cut at Tignes, he said, “I pushed hard but I knew it would be difficult to stay in the time limit.”

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The Tour’s Lost Boys: As a result of  the 12 riders dropping out on stage 9, the Tour’s 184-strong starting field had been reduced to 165.

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