As France enjoys a summer of sport, the country is making it's final preparations for the 2016 Tour de France and we look at who to watch in the world’s ultimate endurance cycling event.
With 21 stages over 2,200 miles of mountainous terrain, this year’s Tour will be the highlight of the cycling calendar but can anyone really beat Team Sky across the line in Paris later this summer?
Heading up Team Sky, reigning champion Chris Froome stands firmly as the bookies favourite for an outright win but as betting begins to ramp up, we look at the odds of the three riders that stand out from the rest of the pack.
As two-time winner of the Paris to Nice road race, one man to watch this year is BMC rider Richie Porte. The 31 year old Australian currently sits as an outsider for an outright win at the competition, but will be looking to make his first season with BMC a memorable one. Reported as saying the Tour de France is his priority for the 2016 road racing season, the former Team Sky rider might not have the ability to take first place but is a very promising contender for a podium finish.
With similar odds for winning the competition our next featured cyclist is Italian, Fabio Aru. With a recent Grand Tour win in the Vuelta a España and age on his side, the Astana Team rider will be an exciting prospect in the race and could be a shrewd bet to win a single stage at some point.
Columbian Nairo Quintana is an out and out specialist in climbing and sits as second favourite behind Chris Froome to win the Tour de France. The 26 year old, competing for the Moviestar Team, is more than capable of toppling Froome, given the right circumstances and could prove to be a wise bet after his win at the 2016 Volta a Catalunya.
The coveted yellow jersey is expected to be heading in the direction of either Froome or Quintana, but I’m predicting a good ride throughout the 2,200 miles and a podium finish for Richie Porte.