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2019 Tour de France: Cyclingnews' countdown collection

Vincenzo Nibali on the Champs-Élysées and under the shadows of the Arc de Triomphe

Vincenzo Nibali on the Champs-Élysées and under the shadows of the Arc de Triomphe (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The 2019 Tour de France is almost upon us and, as ever, Cyclingnews is counting down the days with a series of special features to build up to the Grand Départ on Saturday, July 6. Links to all these features can be found below.

We'll update this page with all the features as they go up, so keep it bookmarked and you won't miss a thing.

With 10 days to go, the countdown kicked off on Wednesday with The Essential Guide - our bumper preview of the 106th edition of La Grande Boucle. We set the scene, analyse the route, contenders and potential storylines, plus there's a breakdown of every stage, team, and jersey in the race.

On Thursday, we wound the clock back 20 years, to the so-called 'Tour of Renewal' that followed the Festina affair and the scandal of the previous year's Tour. As veteran cycling journalist Jean-François Quénet recalls, declarations of renewal were little more than a farce, as doping positives were covered up, clean riders were vilified, and speeds were faster than ever. 

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) has not targeted overall success at the Tour de France since 2016. In this special feature, Philippa York tries to unberstands his chances and his psyche.

With the world’s eyes on the Tour de France, it’s a good time to launch new bikes and equipment in the hope the pro riders and teams use it on the way to victory. In this feature we take a look at what we expect to see on the roads of France over the next few weeks, plus what bikes and components each team will be riding.

In the increasingly scientific world of professional cycling, the altitude training camp has been a key area of evolution. If you go through the start list for the Tour de France, there won't be many who haven't spent some of the preceding weeks on a lonely mountainside, breathing thin air, turning pedals, and doing not much else.

On any Tour de France route, there a number of stages that are clear-cut crucial days in the battle for the yellow jersey. However no matter how the likes of Team Ineos and others try to control the racing, there is always potential and terrain for surprise. In this feature we look at the ambush stages of the 2019 Tour de France.

What happens when the big name and pre-race favourite isn't there? With four-time winner Chris Froome's out injured, the complexion of the 2019 Tour has completely changed. William Fotheringham picks out the two historical precedents - Eddy Merckx in 1976 and Bernard Hinault in 1983 - to garner some clues as to what we can expect this July.

A Tour de France longlist is drawn up before the season has even begun, but the final selection can come down to just a week before the race. In this exclusive behind-the-scenes podcast, Daniel Benson joins EF Education First at their pre-Tour training camp in Girona, where the riders are put through TTT tests and the final call on the eight riders is made.

Nairo Quintana lit up the Tour in 2013 and went on to win the Giro and the Vuelta. In that last couple of years, however, he seems to have stalled. Philippa York analyses the Colombian and how things have veered off track. 

There are plenty of big names at the biggest race of the year, but we've picked out 10 who could produce some strong storylines.