Tour de France favourites: form ranking

The Tour de France is now just 32 days away and, with just the Critérium du Dauphiné separating most of the overall favourites from the Grand Depart in Dusseldorf, Cyclingnews has updated its form ranking to reflect the racing and results since mid-April.

1. Richie Porte (BMC Racing)

Previous rank: 5th

Overview: The season may be long but momentum is a prized currency and one that Porte has squirreled away with a number of impressive performances. In Romandie he was light years ahead of Froome and several other Tour contenders with an assured display in both the mountains and against the clock, and if, unlike last year, BMC Racing don't leave their best GC asset at the side of the road, he will surely challenge for the podium this July. Up next is the Dauphiné, a race in which he could and should have made the podium last year.

Highlight: Winning the Tour of Romandie at the end of April to make it two WorldTour stage races out of three in 2017.

Lowlight: The cold day in Paris-Nice still raises questions.

Next race: Critérium du Dauphiné

2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Previous rank: 2nd

Overview: Valverde hasn't raced since winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April, meaning for the first time since the season began he hasn't topped headlines or added to his palmares in over a month. Heading into June, the Dauphiné marks a switch for the veteran, too, with the emphasis shifting back to stage racing and a chance to add to his phenomenal run in week-long races, which includes wins in País Vasco, Catalunya, and Ruta del Sol. And while the Dauphiné is a step up in terms of competition there's no doubt that Valverde will fancy his chances at winning a third crown to add to his titles from 2008 and 2009.

Highlight: Polishing his Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne trophies at home.

Lowlight: A dry month of May but a rest was surely needed.

Next race: Critérium du Dauphiné

3. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo)

Previous rank: 3rd

Overview: While Nairo Quintana has been flogging himself at the Giro d'Italia, Contador has been quietly going about his business both at home and in Tenerife, topping up his form ahead of, quite possibly, his final Tour de France. Well rested and motivated, he heads to another Dauphiné where he will look to take on Porte and Chris Froome for the top step on the podium. Last year Contador started brightly, wining the opening prologue at Les Gets before being pushed off the podium in the mountains but this year he will be looking for a consistently strong performance in which he starts on the front foot and maintains that level all the way through.

Highlight: Sadistically watching Quintana tire himself out at the Giro and knowing – first hand – how that might hamper the Colombian in July.

Lowlight: Still to win a race in 2017.

Next race: Critérium du Dauphiné

4. Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Previous rank: 4th

Overview: Although Quintana was one of the few riders on this list to race during May that doesn't make his form any easier to predict for the Tour de France. After finishing second in the Giro his Movistar bosses will be wrapping him in cotton wool until the Grand Depart on July 1, meaning we will not see a glimpse of the climber's true form until Planche des Belles Filles on stage 5 of the Tour. Therefore the most pertinent question is whether the Giro sapped his form or allowed him to build up towards a second peak in July. History isn't on his side but, given Quintana's peculiar habit of hitting top form without taking traditional routes to his main objective, who's to say he won't be firing on all cylinders come the summer.

Highlight: Finishing second in the Giro and making it a gripping three-week race.

Lowlight: Only finishing second in the Giro.

Next race: Tour de France

5. Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Previous rank: 1st

Overview: Having not raced since the Tour de Romandie, it's difficult to assess the defending Tour champion's form but, by recent evidence, courtesy of his social media portfolio, he's certainly leaned up in time for the Critérium du Dauphiné. The week-long French race always provides an important marker ahead of July's main event but this year's edition takes on greater significance for Froome, who hasn't won all year and has Porte snapping at his heels. With the Australian gaining in confidence now is the time for the Team Sky rider to step up and remind his former teammate just who is boss.

Highlight: A block of training in Tenerife.

Lowlight: A disappointing Romandie was hampered by bad weather and a back injury.

Next race: Critérium du Dauphiné

6. Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors)

Previous rank: 7th

Overview: Another of the collective that have not raced since the Classics, Martin has maintained a high level of consistency since the turn of the year and was unfortunate to end his first block of racing without a major win in the Classics. Attention now turns back to stage racing and, having finished third in the Dauphiné 12 months ago, the Irishman will be looking for a similar performance this time around. Unlike last year, there's the small matter of an individual time trial to contend with, but if Martin has genuine hopes of breaking into the Tour's top five then it's this type of hurdle that will need to be overcome.

Highlight: He hasn't finished second to Valverde in over a month.

Lowlight: Losing Alaphilippe for the Dauphiné and the Tour makes leadership an easier proposition but the two climbers worked well together.

Next race: Critérium du Dauphiné

7. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)

Previous rank: 6th

Overview: Like Valverde, Bardet has not raced since the Spring Classics but, unlike the Movistar rider, this has not been a vintage year for the Frenchman. There have been flashes of the form that saw him climb onto the podium in last year's Tour – and Dauphiné – but they have been few and far between. The Dauphiné provides AG2R La Mondiale's talisman with the chance to readdress a season that has yet to spark into life and, with a number of stages that suit him, the Dauphiné is the perfect opportunity.

Highlight: Climbing 27,000m at a recent training camp.

Lowlight: Losing teammate Mikaël Cherel to a recent crash in training.

Next race: Critérium du Dauphiné

8. Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates)

Previous rank: 8th

Overview: Virtually anonymous at the Tour de Romandie, Meintjes is at least consistent in that he spent the opening months of 2016 flying under the radar before sealing a top 10 place at the Tour de France. If he is to maintain that level of consistency then he will need to produce a ride in the Dauphiné, where he cruised to ninth place last time around.

Highlight: Still that sixth place in País Vasco back in April.

Lowlight: Probably expected a better performance in Romandie.

Next race: Critérium du Dauphiné

9. Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott)

Previous rank: 9th

Overview: Another month without racing and time is beginning to run out for the Colombian if he is to remain a genuine contender for a top 10. Having recently been added to Orica's line-up for the Dauphiné all eyes will be on the Colombian but rather than expect a result, a more realistic aim would be a week of racing pain-free after his earlier knee injury. In Simon Yates the team have cards to play for June's pre-Tour race.

Highlight: He's back on the bike and back on track for the Tour de France.

Lowlight: Hasn't raced since February.

Next race: Critérium du Dauphiné

10. Fabio Aru (Astana)

Previous rank: 10th

Overview: Like Chaves, the Sardinian has had an injury-hit campaign. Aru has not raced since pulling out of Tirreno but has been stocking up on miles at altitude ahead of the Dauphiné, where he won a stage last season. Although a return to the Tour de France was not part of the original plan it at least gives the 26-year-old the chance to make up for last year.

Highlight: Heads into the Tour will less pressure than 12 months ago and with a year's more experience.

Lowlight: Injury ruled him out of the Giro.

Next race: Critérium du Dauphiné

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