The Grand Boucle starts with a flat time trial, along the Reno river, with a few turns. For specialists like Tony Martin, world champion coming from these lands, or the Australian Rohan Dennis who owned the Hour record for some month.
A great come back for Germany at Tour de France with an millionaire investment. The German TV, after years away from this race, came back on the road with a great effort. We have all the ingredients for a big European party.
The favourites for the final ranking are the same of the last year. Chris Froome is one of them. Its Sky Team is very strong, considering also that the first athlete excluded, Poels, won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2016. There is also interest around Richie Porte (BMC) after his great performance at Giro del Delfinato, but the Tasmanian never done well in three-weeks races. The list of the favourites is still quite long.
We have Nairo Quintana (Movistar), after the great exploit of the Giro 2017, who bets on his performances during his second seasonal stage race. Another Colombian, Esteban Chavez (Orica) arrives in France after a good Giro 2016 and a first place in Giro di Lombardia. Italy is focused on Pelal and Aru, the athlete from Sardinia recently won the national title and he is working on obtaining a big contract for the next season. There is also Alberto Contador, never satisfied and always seeking for the last great performance before the end of his wonderful career next year. Lastly, French dream with Ronan Bardet (AG2R) and Thibaud Pinout (FDJ).
Other possible protagonists, some more famous than others, are the World champion Peter Sagan (Bora) and the Olympic one Greg Vanavermat (BMC), the sprinters Kittel (QuickStep), Cavendish (Dimension Data), Greipel (Lotto), Degenkolb (Trek). Twenty one stages to catch a dream, everyone of the 198 racers has his own. For sure we have all the best cyclists here, very few are missing. That’s why Tour de France is different from any other stage race: at Grande Boucle all twenty two teams will deploy the best athletes and this makes the competition very hard.