After half a season's worth of 'tune-up' races, the main event of cycling's stage racing calendar has arrived. The Tour de France kicks off in Dusseldorf on Saturday and it's shaping up to be a tough one to predict.
A parcours featuring a few new punchy ascents and only two short time trial stages should set up a GC battle skewed towards the climbers, and defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) will have his work cut out for him after a relatively quiet build-up campaign. Richie Porte (BMC Racing), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) are among the top names who will look to dethrone the three-time winner of the yellow jersey.
Beyond the GC battle, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) is back to hunt his record-tying sixth straight green points jersey. And it's anyone's guess who will emerge as the top dog in the bunch kicks, with no one sprinter establishing himself as the dominant fast finisher this spring.
The Recon Ride previews all that and more with an in-depth look at the parcours and start list of the sport's most watched event.
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