Froome, Cavendish and Sagan eye record-breaking 2017 — Tour de France

Alejandro Valverde crashes out on first day of Tour de France

The course extends more than 2,000 miles of mountains and rugged terrain through multiple European countries, and there are nearly 200 cyclists constantly pushing for position.

But the 27-year-old was upbeat about his chances when he held a news conference in Duesseldorf on Friday ahead of this weekend's Grand Depart in the German city. In Cavendish they boast one of the best in the business.

"It's unbelievable. I'm lost for words".

Live every moment of the 104th version of the Tour de France will show the channel "Eurosport". "But how that affects their tactics I don't know".

"I've been cautious. It was slippery".

As the charismatic, disgraced Texan's shadow receded, the French did not reclaim their event.

But Porte still rates Froome the man to beat.

Eurosport is the home of the Tour de France.

This year's Tour only features 36km of time trialling - 14km in stage one at Dusseldorf and then the crucial second-last stage.

In the process, Team Sky produced two Tour winners.

The main competitor froome promises to be his former domestique Richie Port. With claims on the yellow Jersey to France arrived stellar the Spaniards Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde.

For the first time since his run of success started in 2008, the Manxman is reconciled to the fact that he may not win a single stage due to his uncertain form.

It wasn't clear if he would be part of the 2017 Tour, after he got injured in a crash earlier this year. The pre-stage favourite, world champion Tony Martin (Katusha), finished fourth.

The little Colombian climber Nairo Quintana of Movistar is also a danger and at the Dauphine we saw that the Astana pairing of winner Jakob Fuglsang and newly crowned Italian champion Fabio Aru are going to be a threat. It is followed by another mountainous day up the Izoard. "The Tour's last stage is so iconic and I want to get there and be able to experience that". This year he has claimed two overall race wins and four stage triumphs, as well as second spot at the Criterium du Dauphine, making him a serious threat in the general classification.

Things start to get difficult as the race enters the second week, with the first of the tough hors categorie climbs in the Jura mountains. It's been a long time coming and it's just an amazing feeling.

Everybody fights for the first week.

The second most important stage on the list is Stage 20, the final time-trial, which this year is a 22km test around Marseille.

That would put him behind only Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain, who each won the tour five times.

At only 14 kilometres, it's flat and not particularly technical.

This year's route begins in Dusseldorf, western Germany, with a time trial on Saturday before winding toward the Alps. Why is the Tour de France such a special race and why do you continuously prioritize it over the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana?

In lining up for this year's Tour you chose to aim for a fourth Tour de France victory.

The unlucky ones will have already crashed out.

"I think this year we have as strong a team whereas in other years they were capable of crushing any other team".

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