Hello and welcome to today's live coverage as we count down to the start of the 2021 Tour de France.
The teams and riders are in Brittany preparing for the start of the Tour in Brest on Saturday. We'll bring you all the news, updates and press conference quotes as they come across Thursday and Friday.
The big news of the day is that Alexandre Vinokourov is out as general manager at Astana, a role he has held since retiring from racing in 2012.
The team has just confirmed the news, with managing director Yana Seel giving the following statement:
"We can confirm that Alexandr Vinokurov will not be present at the Tour de France this year as he will step down as Sports Team Principal. Alexandr still remains part of the team but he will not be in charge of the team’s sporting operations at the moment and will move into another role.
"I hope that during this period Giuseppe Martinelli and Steve Bauer will work well together to lead the team from a performance standpoint and guide our riders to success, starting here at the Tour de France where Steve will work alongside Dmitry Fofonov and Stefano Zanini."
Astana said that Vinokourov will remain "a valued member" of the team. It's unclear what that means at this point, especially with the 47-year-old set to launch a legal bid to be reinstated.
Today we also have a team-by-team guide to every squad at the Tour. Check that out here
Today's press conferences include Jumbo-Visma, Ineos Grenadiers, Team BikeExchange, and Trek-Segafredo.
We've already spoken to Jumbo-Visma leaders Primož Roglič and Wout van Aert. Read our stories on the two below.
Meanwhile, Ineos Grenadiers' press conferences are going on at the moment. We'll have stories from what looks to be the strongest team at the Tour.
Richie Porte has spoken about one of the team's main rivals at the Tour, last year's runner-up Primož Roglič.
"How do you combat a guy who can do everything? He’s got guys like Kruijswijk, Kuss, and van Aert. He’s a very complete bike rider but I don’t know how it does it when you look at what’s happened on the last day of the Tour last year, the last day of the Dauphiné last year, Paris-Nice this year. He’s got some character to get back up and keep going."
Israel Start-Up Nation leader Michael Woods has said that his team will be looking to go on the attack for stage wins at this Tour, as well as supporting his general classification bid.
Over at ISN, co-owner and founder Sylvan Adams has told Cyclingnews that Chris Froome can ride a bike with rim brakes...if he asks for one.
The BikeExchange press conference is starting with Simon Yates and Michael Matthews both on show. We'll have their comments shortly.
Here's our exclusive interview with Richie Porte. The Ineos Grenadiers press con takes place in a few hours from now but we got him just after he landed in Brest yesterday. He talked to us mid-COVID-19 test. FYI.
'I hope we can be dialled in from the first sprint' says Dane
Here's a look at new BikeExchange kit for the Tour. It's not an overhaul but it does feature the logo of new partner AlUla, which is apparently a 'tourism destination' somewhere in Saudi Arabia. Another spot of sportswashing to add to the list, then.
Pinarello's painstaking weight saving and aero tweaks make the new Dogma F its fastest road bike yet
More bike news coming, this time from Trek...
'If I do the full three weeks for GC, there’s not enough time to recover and back it up at the Olympics'
Qhubeka Assos have announced that NextHash, some kind of blockchain cryptocurrency investment platform, have signed on as co-sponsor of the team for five years. Read the full story below.
The Tour de France team presentation is less than an hour away. We're hosting a live stream of the event, which will see all 23 teams and 184 riders take the stage in Brest ahead of Saturday's Grand Depart.
Watch the team presentation here at 18:30 CEST (17:30 BST, 12:30 EST)
We also have a comprehensive guide on how to watch the Tour de France – which will be aired from start to finish every day – on live streaming platforms and on TV, wherever you are around the world.
Ineos Grenadiers co-leader Geraint Thomas has said that his team are in a good place as they head to the Tour, with four possible GC in the form of him, Richard Carapaz, Tao Geoghegan Hart, and Richie Porte.
"There are four guys who potentially can be up there and that’s great. It gives us cards to play later on. At the same time we can’t get carried away and try to protect four riders. That would be impossible and would take too much out of the other four in the first week."
The new crop of GC contenders, the two types of sprinter, and the legs of experience
Qhubeka NextHash have unveiled a partnership with fashion brand Burberry and shown off their new kit for the Tour de France.
Meanwhile, Alpecin-Fenix have created a new jersey in tribute to Mathieu van der Poel's grandfather Raymond Poulidor.
They'll only wear it for the team presentation, though, so pretty pointless all things considered...
Bahrain Victorious have also gotten in on the new tech/briefly worn kit fad, too..
The team is auctioning a non-fungible token (NFT) of this jersey, which two riders wore on stage at the team presentation before it was destroyed, to raise money to raise awareness of obesity and diabetes.
Introducing the 'Maillot Disruptif’, the first WorldTour jersey crypto art.#TeamBahrainVictorious and @ALE_cycling together in a unique auction, raising money to combat obesity and diabetes.#RideAsOne #EVERYPEDALSTROKEISAVICTORY #TDF2021 🔗 https://t.co/MJ2Thr9uSX pic.twitter.com/QrkEMXgaV8June 24, 2021
I think that's all the special jersey news for the Tour. Bora-Hansgrohe showed off their new design yesterday. It's inspired by chess, apparently.
Total Direct Energie rebranded to Team TotalEnergies and switched up their kit, too.
Dutchman making his debut 45 years after his grandfather's final Tour
We'll have a full gallery from the team presentation coming up later this evening.
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