Froome is playing mind games with me: Porte

Porte, who joined BMC Racing from Team Sky in 2016, is seen as the man most likely to stop Briton Froome over the next three weeks and general manager Jim Ochowicz said his team's "singular goal" is to put the 32-year-old on the podium.

This isn't just because the more successful Froome becomes at winning Tours, historically speaking, the more his chances of further triumph decrease.

Froome will use the stage he won in 2012 to try to seize the lead.

"I think it could be free for all". "In his last eight grand tours he's had magnificent results so we have confidence in him".

With Eurosport broadcasting every stage of this year's Tour de France live and in full, it's safe to say cycling fans have never had it so good. In 2013, on a similar stage, the Team Sky machine suffered a brutal onslaught from their rivals, leaving Froome on his own to fight Quintana, Contador and Alejandro Valverde.

The elite GIGN unit specialises in hostage rescue and counter-terrorism and will be deployed during the race, The Local said.

This year's Tour will have nine flat stages, five hilly stages, five mountain stages and two time trials.

Bardet said his team, with Swiss Mathias Frank, eighth overall on the Tour in 2015, and France's Pierre Latour, who won a Vuelta stage previous year, was the strongest he had ever had around him.

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The Katusha rider performed well on the hilly parcour of the Stage 4 individual time trial at the recent Criterium du Dauphine, finishing only 12 seconds behind Richie Porte (BMC) after 23.5 kilometres of racing.

The group Dimension Data, a tech partner for the Tour de France, is tapping into "machine learning and predictive analytics", they say to make estimates not only each stage victor but whether the peloton can catch up to breakaway riders-or the likelihood on whether a particular rider can beat their rivals on a mountain stage.

"I'm proud of what we've achieved in this sport, proud of this team and proud to be sitting here and to be getting ready for the race".

He finished second at this year's Giro, citing illness as a factor for his apparent fatigue in some of the mountain stages.

"There will be more strategy and movement (amongst the leading riders) - it will be an unusual Tour".

Boardman explained: "With six climbs and a double-kick finish (there's a little descent with 5.5km to go) anyone attacking on the penultimate ascent over the Col de Peyresourde will be hard to pull back, particularly if it's wet".

"Chris has won three Tours and there's no reason he can't win a fourth", Porte argued.

  • Ismael Montgomery