Tour de France: Ones to watch

Tour de France: Ones to watch

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The 2018 Tour de France gets underway on Saturday 7 July - with five British riders taking part we take a look at their aspirations for Le Tour over the next three weeks:

Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Chris Froome winning a stage of the 2018 Giro d'Italia.

Chris Froome aims to make this year’s Tour de France a record equalling one, as he bids to join legends of the sport such as Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain as a five-time Tour winner. Froome is the first rider to hold all three Grand Tour jerseys at the same time since 1983, after winning the 2017 Tour de France and Vuelta – along with the Giro d’Italia in May this year.

Froome made an astonishing comeback on stage 19 of the Giro. After identifying the Queen stage as his best opportunity to attack, Froome mounted a solo effort from 80km out to overturn Simon Yates’ four-minute advantage and secure the general classification lead. With Froome on the start line, he starts the Tour as one of the favourites for the overall classification and to secure his fifth yellow jersey this summer.

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)

Mark Cavendish signs something for a young fan at the British National Championships.

The Manx Missile will start his 12th Tour de France in 2018, chasing the Tour’s record stage wins. The current record sits at 34 wins by Eddy Merckx, Cavendish being second in the record books with 30 wins. The Manx rider is no stranger to hiding his ambitions, recently saying in an interview that, “thirty-four [stages] is the target of my career.”

Riding for Team Dimension Data, Cav will be joined by team mate and right-hand man Mark Renshaw for their eighth season together, relying on his lead out skills to win as many stages as possible.

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)

 Geraint Thomas riding to victory at the HSBC UK | National Road Championships time trial.

Geraint Thomas looks to be in the form of his life as the Tour de France approaches. This year he will be joint team leader at Team Sky (with Chris Froome) - and on the back of a highly successful season so far, he looks to mount a serious challenge for his maiden Grand Tour victory.

Thomas was a convincing winner at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2018 and he continued to build momentum with a commanding victory at the HSBC UK | National Road Championships time trial in Northumberland. Team Sky may face some difficult decisions when the racing hits the slopes of the Alps, with two strong contenders for the yellow jersey.

Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT)

Adam Yates wins a stage of the Criterium du Dauphine 2018.

It’s been two years since Adam Yates won the white jersey (best young rider) and came fourth overall in the 2016 tour. Since then, the Bury-born rider has cemented his position amongst the best stage race contenders in the world.

A top-ten finish in the Giro d’Italia in 2017 and second overall at the 2018 Criterium du Dauphine (behind Geraint Thomas) at the beginning of June in preparation for the Tour de France will bode well for his confidence and aspiration of a podium finish.

Luke Rowe (Team Sky)

Luke Rowe at the Tour de France 2017.

Welshman Luke Rowe has defined himself as a classics rider since joining Team Sky in 2012. Fifth in the Tour of Flanders (2016), third in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (2017) and eighth place in Paris-Roubaix (2015), Rowe is a one-day specialist who knows his way around the peloton.

Rowe could be a big favourite on the 156.5km stage nine of this year’s Tour de France, a route featuring 15 sections of cobbled paths totalling 21.7km of the total route. It’s the last chance for one-day specialists to grab a win before the race turns to the Alps.