Defending champion Chris Froome is excited to engage with British fans as the 101st Tour de France begins in Yorkshire on Saturday.
The 29-year-old says he is in good shape, having recovered from the accident that hampered his performance in the last days of the Criterium du Dauphine in June.
Froome is excited about starting the race in Yorkshire and is wowed by the support that the British Grand Depart has served up.
“It’s massive, it really is special,” said Froome. “I don’t think many Tour champions get to come back as defending champions and can start in front of their home crowd like that.
"Even stepping off the plane today just the number of people who came up to me and said ‘Chris we’re with you all the way, good luck, we’ll be watching you the next three weeks.’
"For me, this is going to be an amazing opportunity to connect with those people, sign a few autographs and shake a few hands.”
As he made his final preparations, Froome vowed to give it 100-percent and secure an unprecedented third consecutive British win for the home fans.
“I’m more or less recovered,” said the Team Sky rider of his Dauphine crash. “I took quite a big knock to my left hip and there was a bit of underlying bruising there.
“I felt for the next week after the crash I just wasn’t quite pedalling as I normally would. It did take me a good week to get back into things, start seeing the same power readings as I would normally expect and be the normal me again.”
Froome hinted that the setback since the Dauphine may ironically play into his hands.
“If anything it is going to mean I’m that bit fresher coming into the tour which I don’t think is a bad thing given the last week of the Tour is going to be so decisive."
The 2013 champion’s major rival at the Dauphine was Tinkoff-Saxo's Alberto Contador and despite Garmin Sharp’s Andrew Talanksy taking the win in the week-long stage race, Froome still cites Contador as his major rival.
“Contador had a very good Dauphine and has had a very good start to the season as well. I definitely see him as my biggest opponent here but that’s not to say he’s my only opponent,” Froome said.
“I’m going to have a lot of tough competition on the Tour this year. It’s going to make for some good racing.
And the Olympic time-trial bronze medallist was also wowed by the scenery of Yorkshire, an area that the Kenyan-born rider wasn’t familiar with prior to the stage recces.
“I didn't know a lot about Yorkshire before this year's Tour,” he said. “I had heard obviously that the countryside is extremely scenic. But I sort of thought 'yeah right'.
“But I was literally blown away when I came up to do the recon. It really is stunning. There couldn't be many better places to ride your bike - providing the weather holds out...”
Follow the fortunes of British riders Froome, Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates in our stage-by-stage interactive Tour de France guide.