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Tour de France: 10 GC riders to watch - Video

Tour de France countdown

Tour de France countdown

The cream of cycling's Grand Tour riders will be on the start line for the 2016 Tour de France, which begins Saturday, July 2 with a 188km stage from Mont Saint-Michel to Utah Beach.

Chris Froome (Team Sky), who is hoping to become the first rider to defend his title since Miguel Indurain in 1995, will lead the charge along with first lieutenant Geraint Thomas. Fabio Aru, riding in his first-ever Tour de France, will have the services of former Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali while leading Astana's overall effort, while Tinkoff's Alberto Contador will be hoping to add another Tour win to his palmares.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) will return for his third Tour with his own ambitions for victory and with Alejandro Valverde to help him. The BMC duo of Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen will experiment with their first try an co-leadership, while Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiae) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) carry the French hopes.

In the video above, Cyclingnews news editor Sadhbh O'Shea takes a look at the major general classification contenders and how well they've fared so far this season in preparation for the Grand Depart next week.