Tour de France Preview Part 1 - The Overall Contenders

Cycling

ByTheMinCycle

The 2017 Tour de France seems to be the most intriguing in years, if the week-long Criterium du Dauphine is anything to go by, here is my preview for the chances of the overall Contenders.

Pinned

Va Va Froome? Chris Froome: Current Odds - 5/4 The three time champion looks to make it a fourth maillot jaune in 2017, however his form has been much more questionable this season. He comes to Dusseldorf without a win all season, and with his team plagued by unease and injury. The void left by Wout Pouls in the Mountains and Ian Stannard on the flats will give his rivals the scent of blood. 1/2

The Dauphine proved that Froome had not only lost his title as the strongest Time Trialist of the GC men but had lost his strength in the mountains as well. However, Froome and Team Sky always seem to pull out something special at La Grande Boucle combined with the fact that we haven't seen most of the GC contenders race for more than a week this season, means you shouldn't write Froome off. 2/2

Richie Porte: Current Odds - 7/4 The Tasmanian has had his best season of his career so far at BMC. Wins at the Tour Down Under and the Tour de Romandie as well as a second place at the Dauphine leave Porte coming into July closer than anyone has been to Froome in the last 4 years. However, questions still remain over the strength of his BMC team... (1/2)

As Stage 8 of the Dauphine saw Porte isolated, and despite his recovery, it begs the question if BMC can't control an 8-day race with only two high mountain days, how can they control attacks over the course of a three-week Tour? The simple answer is they can't. The lack of Time Trial kms (only 38 in 2017) may leave Porte at a disadvantage to the pure climbers such as Bardet and Chaves. (2/2)

Nairo Quintana: Current Odds - 7/1 The Colombian is the one of the few who is attempting to ride both the Giro and the Tour. However, he looked relatively poor throughout the Giro as Tom Dumoulin was dominant. He still beat Nibali, Mollema and Yates at the Giro. I think he's comes to France too fatigued to battle it out against Froome and Porte but will turn in to a superdomestique for Valverde.

Alberto Contador: 14-1 The Spaniard comes to France with a new team in Trek-Segafredo and, like Froome, without a win to-date in 2017. However his 2nd place at Paris-Nice in March just show some encouragement but the 34 year-old wasn't even in the Top 10 at the Dauphine in June. With Bertie, you never know what you're going to get except that he will attack at some point.

Jakob Fugslang: 14-1 The Danish Criterium du Dauphine victor has been something of a much needed revelation in 2017 for Astana. He comes to France on the back of the best win in his life - as he looks to finally make the step up from Superdomestique to a genuine GC contender. The dane may struggle in the third week as other riders will prosper but we should not rule out the Dark horse.

Alejandro Valverde - 18/1 The 37 year old is in the form of his life after winning three races this season so far and finishing in the Top 10 at the Dauphine. The veteran will be riding in support for Quintana but will take the reigns should Quintana falter - which seems fairly likely. He comes to Dusseldorf straight from a second at the Spanish National Championships on Sunday

Roman Bardet: 20/1 No preview for the Tour de France could be complete without looking at the French hope. Bardet looks to become the first Frenchman since Hinault in '85 to win the yellow jersey. However, it looks unlikely that he'll improve on his second place last year as he has been fairly average all season - only managing sixth at the Dauphine in June. A podium should be his ambition