Ones to watch in this year's Tour de France
With the start of the tour comes a huge amount of excitement and anticipation. Many of the riders taking part have raced a lot already this season, but as always the Tour is the big one, and it's the one that really counts.
Fresh from the National Champs
The Tour always starts just one week after the National Road Race Championships have taken place. This means that many riders aren’t in their usual kit, but instead are riding out in their National Champs jerseys, making it even harder to work out who is who in the bunch.
Arnaud Demare (riding for for Francais De Jeux) is one of the major names to look out for in this year’s Tour. He’s certain to feature in many of the bunch sprints throughout the three weeks of competition. Fabio Aru (riding for Team Astana) is also in good form, coming into the tour off the back of a strong performance in the Criterium De Dauphine. And definitely watch out for our very own Steve Cummings. With a record ITT and Road Race double title under his belt, he’ll be proudly riding in the British Champs jersey. He’s certain to feature in breakaways and will likely take a British stage win. In between the breaks, look out for Steve sitting in the back of the bunch – his customary position when not challenging up the front.
Others to keep an eye on
Other exciting names to keep an eye on include Richie Porte - who enters the tour as favourite in the General Clasification. He and Chris Froome have a bit of rift to settle after the Criterium De Dauphine, where Froome rode against him - significantly aiding Jacob Fuglsang in winning the race that day. Incidentally, Jacob Fugulsang is also one to watch and will definitely feature in the GC standings.
Over the past few years, Dan Martin has been improving and developing as a Grand Tour contender and so you should expect to see continued progress from him this year as well. He appears to be in great form at the moment, and is certainly ready to rise to the challenge in this year’s race.
Predictably, Peter Sagan will be hard to beat on certain stages. He too seems to be on good form coming into this years race and is a prime contender again for the overall green jersey.
In the breakaway
Keep an eye out for Jasper Stuyven. He was 3rd in the Belgian National Champs and really knows how to ride the breaks. And if he can build on his debut tour last year, Dan McClay should feature heavily in the bunch sprints alongside the big boys. Lastly, after a fantastic stage win in the last few days of the Giro, Pierre Rolland should also be up there in the intermediate mountain stages, and in the breakaways.
The Young Gun to watch
On a final personal note it's great to see so many brits in the field, spread across a number of different teams - including with one of my old teammates from last year Dion Smith, (riding for Wanty Group). He is a proper legend and a really tough kid - look out for him in the breaks between the high mountains.
P.s ride like a pro this tour season in our summer Pro Air Jersey