Skip to main content

Live coverage

2014 Tour de France Countdown 2014: Day 1 - Team presentation

Hello and welcome to our Tour de France countdown.

We're in Leeds for the build up to this year's Tour de France. A busy day ahead for all the teams and riders with a string of team presentations before the main teams' presentation later on this evening. We'll be bringing all the latest news, quotes, reactions, photos from the day. So sit back, relax and enjoy our Tour de France countdown.

You join us just as Trek Factory racing conclude their presentation with all nine riders present and accounted for.

Trek Factory Racing announce partnership with Samsung. Fitness apps seem to be the new new thing, expect to see team using Samsung gadgets

@inrng Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 10:30:37

Cancellara, les frères Schleck, Danny Van Poppel et Jens Voigt, têtes d'affiche #Trek #TDF @cyclismactu http://t.co/8ypylKlirP

@AntoinePlouvin Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 10:35:13

Major news coming out from Leeds this morning, via Germany is that Netapp have a new sponsor. They'll more details during the Tour de France rest day in Besancon. You can read the full story here.

Team Netapp:

“Although the withdrawal of the main sponsor usually causes a major crisis for a cycling team, for us it has opened up a brand new chance. We jumped at the opportunity and secured for ourselves long-term stability up until 2019. Of course, I’m especially happy that we’ve managed to do that with a German company. For me, it’s a very clear message for the sport of cycling in Germany.”

 

We'll have quotes and reactions from Trek in the coming minutes but BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT will start their press conference in the next couple of minutes.

Meanwhile you can find our complete Tour de France start list, right here. There have been no changes over night but there's some back news for Orica, with Michael Matthews crashing while out training yesterday. The team are going to monitor the situation and may bring in another rider before the start on Sunday. You can read the full update on Matthews, right here.

Update: Christian Meier on standby after Matthews crash http://t.co/81mUba8b5f #OGErocks

@ORICA_GreenEDGE Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 10:37:38

And there you have it, Christian Meier, who was third in the Canadian nationals last weekend, is on stand by and will race the Tour de France if Matthews can't take part. That's big blow for the Australian who has had such a strong start to the year. No place for Matt Goss though, even if they're down a sprinter.

Here is our resident 'mummy' @blingmatthews working hard to get up for the #TdF after his training crash http://t.co/RbLWUr3FaQ #OGErocks

@ORICA_GreenEDGE Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 10:44:20

Tinkoff Saxo jetted into Leeds yesterday after a final recon of the cobbles in France. They've a new kit for the race too. Alas they didn't pull and ONCE and go all out pink but Alasdair Fotheringham has caught up with the team to find out if Alberto Contador is stronger than ever. You can read the feature right here.

Do you think Contador is the form of his life? Let us know on Twitter.

Anti-doping controls during the Tour de France 2014 http://t.co/IevZDhKA6k

@Dopinglist Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 10:47:24

Contador, the boss, and the rest of the Tinkoff Saxo riders.

RT @_martinovs: Ready for THE recon of stage 2 @letour @TeamBelkin http://t.co/b6udyw6khZ

@RichardPlugge Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 11:00:39

UCI say AFLD have been target testing Tour contenders. Froome says AFLD hit him once.

@fmk_RoI Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 11:10:10

On Froome, the defending Tour champion gave a press conference yesterday in Harrogate.

"It's definitely been a very different build up for me this year," Froome said to several international media at the Tour de France, including Cyclingnews.

"There's a lot more pressure building up to the Tour. My life has changed being the Tour de France champion. But I feel I'm in a very privileged position, especially as I'm at Team Sky and that I've got the backing of such a strong team. All nine guys are really capable guys and [we have] probably the strongest team we've fielded for the Tour de France."

 You can read the full interview with Froome, from his press conference, right here.

Cyclingnews also caught up with Froome's teammate Richie Porte. The Australian talked, Froome, pressure, form, and Contador. The full interview is right here.

 

The news about Kreuziger and Impey is disturbing. But, as always, better the ugly truth than the beautiful lie.

@DavidWalshST Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 11:40:23

To make it clear. Kreuziger hasn't had his case examined or heard yet and Impey is set to fight his case.

 

Tejay van Garderen sits down for his press conference. #TDF #TDF14 http://t.co/g7AP82UOpI

@SadhbhOS Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 11:34:00

Cyclingnews spoke to Van Garderen yesterday, ahead of his press conference:

"I envisioned this and dreamed about this as a kid," the BMC rider said. "It's exciting that it's actually coming true. It's like when a kid shoots hoops in his driveway and he thinks he's Michael Jordan, but it's so surreal when it actually comes true."

 

Van Garderen makes it into the Cyclingnews top ten riders to watch for GC at the Tour de France, video. See who else is in the mix, right here.

 

And remember you can subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel, right here.

 

WATCH our great pre- @letour @letouryorkshire rider profile with @TeamSky 's main-man @chrisfroome HERE: http://t.co/ibNkx1AZaa Please RT!

@inCycleTV Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 12:01:00

Away from the press conferences we're really proud to have an extract from Christophe's Bassons book on CN. You can read it here. There are so many books out there at the moment about the 1990s and 2000s but if you're going to read one, this should be it.

 

And we're also pleased to share with you that Bassons will be writing a column for CN during the Tour de France.

Great to read that Ralph Denk has a German sponsored signed for the next 5 years to replace NetApp and Endura. http://t.co/r0SLXencgd

@stephenfarrand Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 12:31:21

Team manager Luca Guercilena played own their hopes of overall success, saying stage victories where their first goal.

 

"I think we've got a comp team, full of strong riders. Our main goals are to be competitive for single stages. We really believe we have Frank in good shape and with support of Haimar Zubeldia we can perhaps get a top ten result overall. Andy will be there to support them," he explained.

 

"I think we can be competitive on climbs and we also have some chances on the cobbled stage. With Markel Irizar, Jens Voigt and Gregory Rast we'll be going for breakaways, then Danny van Poppel is a young sprinter and showed in past that he's been super good."

With Nairo Quintana set for the Vuelta, Alejandro Valverde gets another crack at the Tour de France. He's had a strong start to the season and Movistar have one of the best teams in the race. Alasdair Fotheringham talked to the Spaniard ahead of the race.

 

“We’re a real band of warriors in Movistar, and even compared to last year, collectively we’re strong,” Valverde told Cyclingnews earlier this year. “We’re not a team that asks other squads to race and then improvises on that. These days, Movistar makes the races. And if we’re lucky and things pan out in our favour, then we win.”

 

Read the full story here.

Just in: Our video interview with defending Tour de France champion, Chris Froome (Team Sky).

Speaking to me after trek's presser this morning Jens voigt said stage into Sheffield will be "carnage". Had a glint in his eye

@petercossins Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 12:53:23

From Cancellara in the Trek Factory Racing press conference. He was asked about stage 5 to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut.

 

"It's a special scenario when you have a cobbled stage in the Tour de France. It's good for me and I will and we will go for that," Cancellara warned in his unique version of Swiss-English.

"When people ask if it's safe or not, I say that we're in the Tour de France and it's part of racing. This (stage) is a benefit for me. The Tour de France is not just about climbs and time trials, other aspects make the decision about what is the final result in Paris.

"It's risky but that's how it is. We'll fight for the best and do the best we can. We'll see what Froome, Nibal and the others do, but for sure it's going to be tough.

"The stage is quite short and so it'll be full gas and so first sector is going to be a big chaos. The big difference is that teams need to bring leaders in the first few positions. Because of the high risk. We have to fight for position in the Classics and it's the same here. There are going to be 160 riders going into cobbles sector. If you look at the parcours, there are other places where things could split earlier. That's good too."

Andy Schleck was also present and talked about his role within the team.

 

"I've still got a name, good capacity and good legs even if I'm going into the Tour with low ambitions," Schleck said.
 

"My first objective is to help Fränk and Haimar and see how far I can go. I've got a good chance to go for a stage too. I'm realistic about what I can achieve but I believe I can do that. We'll see how the Tour goes.


"I'm not unhappy. I'm happy. It would be cynical to say I want to be team leader and go for overall, now. It's a long way to back for me but this is the first step. I'm happy with that situation."

 

You can read the full story, here.

Forget the Tour de France, the big story is that Posh and Becks are in Betty's in Ilkley for lunch via @swpixtweets

@petercossins Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 13:35:26

The BMC press conference has just concluded. FDJ are next up in roughly an hour.

Tejay van Garderen:

Every year is different. 2012 was a special year and I would be happy with a repeat of that. I’m not going to name what place on GC would make me happy. I just want to prove to myself and to the team just that I can stack up in three weeks of racing and that I am a grad tour rider. I want to explore the possibilities, do my best and see where I end up. If I say that I want to finish on the podium and I finish fourth place then that would be a disappointment, no I’m not going to say that.

 

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) saw off the challenge of Sky on two occasions last season – against Chris Froome at Tirreno-Adriatico and against Bradley Wiggins at the Giro d'Italia – and he is now hoping to replicate those feats on the grandest stage of all.

His final day collapse notwithstanding, Froome appeared stronger than Nibali at the recent Dauphiné, but the Sicilian is confident that he has the inventiveness to conjure up something that Sky's methodical approach might not be able to cope with.

"Sky has a very simple race strategy, they try to control things," Nibali told L'Équipe. "But sometimes, like at the 2013 Giro, when there are little details that interrupt the mechanism, like the rain or the cold, everything becomes a bit more complicated.

"Managing the race becomes more difficult. You have to forget the mathematical strategies. I'm trying to put something complicated in place for my rivals. People like that, they know I can change the race."

You can read our full story on Van Garderen, right here.

Doesn't sound like Matthew's start in the Tour is likely. Just been told that the paincaused by dressing is enough to bring him to tears.

@SadhbhOS Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 14:30:18

Cyclingnews spoke to Jens Voigt at the Trek Factory Racing press conference this morning:

 

“To be honest, until two or three weeks ago I still wasn’t sure if I’d be in the Tour team because there were parts of this season where I couldn’t perform the way I wanted to or how I expected to. So I rated my chances of starting as 40-60 against. So I’m proud to be here and also honoured that Trek selected me,” said Voigt.
 

“But then I went to the Bayern Rundfahrt and the Dauphiné, and they went OK. I was able to do the job the team expected of me. So here I am again for what is very probably my last Tour de France. I promise that I am going to stop, especially as Trek want to invest in youth.”

The Garmin Sharp press conference is now underway. The team will be looking to fire Andrew Talansky up the GC this year. He was of course 10th in last year's race.

And Jonathan Vaughters has just confirmed that Talansky has signed a two-year contract with the team.

Talansky turned pro with Garmin and won the Dauphine last month. He and his agent had been in negotiations for a few weeks now. CN understands that a contract was agreed ahead of the Dauphine but has only recently been signed.

Vaughters turned to Talansky mid-press conference to ask whether it was OK to announce his contract renewal. Talansky nodded.

@friebos Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 14:40:20

Sports Director Matt White talks tactics over lunch too #dedication http://t.co/BvaF9yXMkp

@ORICA_GreenEDGE Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 14:53:25

The big news of course for GreenEdge yesterday was that Daryl Impey tested positive for Probenecid. His A and B samples have been tested. He's not been fired by the team but he has been pulled from racing. The rider said he will fight to clear his name. The full story is here.

Oleg Tinkov leads the team out on a training ride. CN will have a column from the team boss later today. Stay tuned.

More from Jens Voigt, who is riding his final Tour de France.

 

"They are going to be challenging. There are some smaller roads that are exposed to the wind and lots of hills. The first stage is OK, but the second stage is really challenging,” he told Cyclingnews. I hope we come out of it OK, but I believe that some people will have to say goodbye to their GC dreams after the stages in Yorkshire. That second stage is going to be a super hard. I don’t think everyone knows yet how hard it’s going to be.”

Mark Cavendish and Michal Kwiatkowski arrive at the QuickStep press conference. #TDF #TDF14 http://t.co/WR1YAP02x6

@SadhbhOS Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 15:43:37

Cavendish missed the nationals last weekend due to illness but will be hoping to win the first stage of this year's Tour and take the first yellow jersey of his career. He'll be up against the likes of Kittel, Greipel and Sagan. You can watch our preview of the top sprinters in the race, right here.

And if you missed it, here's our video interview with defending race champion Chris Froome (Team Sky).

 

You can subscribe to our video channel, right here.

The crazy press scrum around Mark Cavendish. http://t.co/hcqjhnCTRR

@SadhbhOS Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 16:01:47

Meanwhile, we've got more shots of the new Tinkoff Saxo team kit for the Tour. You can see them, right here.

#Gazzetta Shoulder of a man who have already won 25 (!) @letour stages. Only 29 years old. @MarkCavendish http://t.co/wwUA0h9L2n

@cirogazzetta Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 16:11:40

Team Sky are about to kick off their press conference, QuickStep having wrapped theirs up a few minutes ago.

Brailsford, Pate, Froome, and Porte at the Team Sky press conference.

There were few more stylish riders than Gianni Bugno and his elegance is still such that he can wear jeans to the black tie Giro d’Italia route presentation each October without getting turned away. No surprise, then, that when asked to run the rule over newly-crowned Italian champion Vincenzo Nibali’s Tour de France chances, Bugno’s thoughts soon turned to sartorial matters.

“I’m anxious to see him in the tricolour jersey. I only hope that Astana prepare a ‘true’ tricolour jersey for him, where you see the green, white and red clearly,” Bugno told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Otherwise, the significance of the symbol is lost and at that point you might as well just put a sticker on the front instead. No, a classic jersey is best. And besides, our flag is beautiful.”

Bugno’s concerns are not without foundation. Astana are understood to be keen to have the blue and yellow of Kazakhstan visible on Nibali’s kit at the biggest race of the year. The solution should be unveiled at tonight’s Tour presentation. Let’s just hope it’s a bit smarter than the garish pink “Shark of the Strait” t-shirts that manager Alexandre Vinokourov handed staff members before the final stage of last year’s Giro d’Italia.

Press conference for @letour. Was asked the same question, worded differently, 6times. I answered the same question, worded the same, 6times

@MarkCavendish Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 16:48:53

One thing that must be on Fränk Schleck's mind is the pavé of stage 5 in this year's Tour. The last time the race visited the cobbles in 2010, Schleck was also Luxembourg champion. He exited the race that day with a broken collarbone.

Chris Froome seemed more upbeat and aggressive at the Team Sky press conference in Tour de France media centre. He shrugged off doubts about his fitness.

"I think every season has it's own challenges. This one is no different. I've had lower back and then chest problems, then the crash at the Dauphine. That set me back but the last week of training has been really good. I'm in a similar place to last year."

Froome refused to make any specific predictions on if he will win the Tour or name another rider.

"Given the diversities of the course, the cobbles, these stages up north, the five mountain finishes and the 54km time trial, it's not possible to say, I'm not going to say I’ll win. I'll be giving it everything, no doubt but there's some tough competition this year. But I've got a really, really strong team, the strongest team ever and were up for it."

You can watch the video of Froome here.

Tinkoff-Saxo presents new team kit for #TDF. How do you like it - tell us by using #Tinkoff4TDF - https://t.co/7bPdS0lJ8C

@tinkoff_saxo Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 17:22:57

We've got some short stories from the Tour de France in our daily round-up here, including a little more on Tour fashion, doping controls and more on-board video cameras in the race.

Who is @MicheleScarponi ? #tdf @BrakeThrough http://t.co/ymgk3vdHRO http://t.co/4CFF54HJIV

@AstanaTeam Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 17:37:30

A little bit more about Michele Scarponi from the Astana team.

Sorry, that last link didn't work so well: here's a video interview with Michele Scarponi, in which he talks about how the cobbled stage 5 will be the first big challenge, and his withdrawal from the Giro and more.

All of Yorkshire is gearing up for the Grand Depart, and the team presentation in Leeds is set to get underway in about 40 minutes. The music will be provided by the Yorkshire band Embrace, while Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh will join York singer/songwriter Alistair Griffin on stage to perform The Road - the official anthem of Yorkshire's Grand Départ 2014.

The orchestra and singers of Opera North will be playing compositions by Philip Sheppard, who also composed music for London 2012.

The first teams are set to take to the stage at 18:43, and the last one will be done by 20:00. After the presentation is concluded, organisers are encouraging everyone in the area to ring bells - from churches to bike bells - for two minutes starting at 8:20PM

Plenty of people already in @millsqleeds for the TdF riders' parade after 6 o'clock! #TourFever @letouryorkshire http://t.co/IEpCrQ7Oym

@ClareM1983 Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 17:17:38

Riders briefing before the team presentation @letouryorkshire #TDF http://t.co/VgHZuPMeSb

@Lotto_Belisol Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 17:54:48

The riders have just completed their briefing by the ASO ahead of the presentations. It's a bit like a fashion show - step left-right-left-right, turn. Smile for the cameras! Now places everyone!

We're hearing that Sony has taken the unusual step of fitting some sheep of Harrogate with their action cameras so they can grab "grass roots footage" of the Tour de France. (groan)

Cyclingnews is honored to report that our Tour Tracker has been named one of the best apps for the 2014 Tour de France. Download it from the App Store today!

Hard watching tour fever from the outside this year but we made a plan and sticking to it. Good luck @Ride_Argyle #iwillbeback #TDF

@DanMartin86 Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 18:14:07

Ready for the Teams presentation at TDF , live on Eurosport at 19.30 (Italian) follow us ! http://t.co/XWW0ln2nOe

@lampre_merida Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 18:22:59

Waiting with all teams for the team presentation. #tdf http://t.co/m0MOceh4hI

@lars_boom Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 18:27:33

The team corrals back stage of the Tour de France teams presentation look a bit like those in the infield of a track world championships. 

All eyes are on Mark Cavendish for the first stages in Yorkshire. The Omega Pharma rider has family from the area and his mother is from Harrogate, the finish town of stage 1.

 

"I remember coming here in Yorkshire many summers to see my grand-parents. My uncle still lives in Harrogate," Cavendish said. "It's nice to return where I came when I was young. It would be an honor to get the yellow jersey on Saturday but there'll twenty days to go after that stage. The Tour starts in Yorkshire but doesn't finish in Yorkshire.”

We're only moments away from the teams heading out on stage.

Jill Douglas has now welcomed onto the stage Team Katusha.

 

Team Katusha

21 Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa)
22 Vladimir Isaychev (Rus)
23 Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
24 Luca Paolini (Ita)
25 Alexander Porsev (Rus)
26 Egor Silin (Rus)
27 Gatis Smukulis (Lat)
28 Simon Spilak (Slo)
29 Yury Trofimov (Rus)

 

On they come on their bikes. Kristoff is asked if he can win stage one. Surprisingly he doesn't say no. Now it's Rodriguez's turn to face a question. He says he feels good and that he's recovered well. Third in the Tour last year, he's here for stages.

(CyclingNews) Tour de France shorts: Nibali's wardrobe and onboard cameras http://t.co/JCFjfWoWm6 #ProCycling

@ProCyclingNow Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 18:40:20

Now it's Cofidis:

 


171 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa)
172 Nicolas Edet (Fra)
173 Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa)
174 Cyril Lemoine (Fra)
175 Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa)
176 Rudy Molard (Fra)
177 Adrien Petit (Fra)
178 Julien Simon (Fra)
179 Rein Taaramäe (Est)
 

Navarro leads the time after finishing ninth last year. He was in a break but also road consistently. He's here for a stage win this year. This is all very Eurovision but the crowd are enjoying it. 'Leeds douze points'

Rodriguez is now facing questions from three time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, who is working for Eurosport.

Orica GreenEdge were next up with Simon Gerrans fielding the questions and next up are Tinkoff Saxo.


31 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa)
32 Daniele Bennati (Ita)
33 Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa)
34 Rafal Majka (Pol)
35 Michael Mørkøv (Den)
36 Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por)
37 Nicolas Roche (Irl)
38 Michael Rogers (Aus)
39 Matteo Tosatto (Ita)
 

Tinkoff himself didn't the riders on the stage, it's Roche's birthday, he's 30 today.

Contador has been in great shape so far this season. "The favourite is Froome but I'm in good condition. I've trained hard and we'll see what happens."

Trek are up and Voigt calls the race an adventure and says that he's proud and honored to have been selected to ride in his final year  as a pro rider.

Frank Schleck is asked about the cobbles. He crashed out on them in 2010. He ignores the question somewhat but says he's happy to be hear. Cut to Fabian Cancellara 'I'm looking forward to the next few days, not just stage 5. We have a nice start here in England but it's hard and we're going to go hard. We'll fight and do our best."

Lampre up next with world champion Rui Costa leading the line. He's in great shape having won the Tour de Suisse last month 'This is the best, being world champion. Most important for me is having belief that I can win the Tour de France."


111 Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por)
112 Davide Cimolai (Ita)
113 Kristijan Durasek (Cro)
114 Christopher Horner (USA)
115 Sacha Modolo (Ita)
116 Nelson Oliveira (Por)
117 Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg)
118 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col)
119 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa)
 

It's Chris Horner, 42, who is next. 'Im ready to go and there's no reason to hold back when you get here. The legs keep going and the head is in a good place."

World TT champion Tony Martin is the first rider from OPQS to be interviewed. He has to wait until the second to last stage to show his talents, but intends to work for the team until then, especially Kwiatkowski in the mountains and Cavendish for the sprints.

Cavendish is next, he's hugely popular with the fans here. He says he has great support from the team for the first stages, and his fans, but that it's not so simple to win.

The Phoenix Dance Theater is now performing "Spectre" on glowing bikes against a dark stage.

Cavendish says the Grand Depart in Leeds will put every other opener to shame. He has spent a lot of time in the area as his family is here. "The people here in Yorkshire are so friendly, they're going to give cycling such a warm welcome".

"I've won the green jersey, I've worn the leaders jerseys in the other Grand Tours, but it's the only one missing from my collection," Cavendish said of the maillot jaune.

we lined up behind the stage. ready to go for my 7th @letour @BMCProTeam http://t.co/K3403hlvIx

@MBurghardt83 Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 19:19:45

Alberto Contador is now back stage with Greg LeMond, and talking about his preparation for the Tour. He is not counting himself as the favorite, that's Froome. They recon'd the cobbled stages and he said he's not too concerned. It's the same for all the riders. Obviously it's going to be dangerous, we have to give it respect."

So, Contador says he starts out this year's Tour de France 2 kg lighter than last year. This will be the best duel in decades! #TDF

@mrconde Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 19:24:54

Now FDJ takes to the stage. New French champion Arnaud Démare is looking forward to starting his first Tour.

Thibaut Pinot's goals are to get a stage win and a top 10 overall.

One rider who is no longer an underdog, but a real contender is Dauphiné winner Andrew Talanksy. We have a story and video interview of the Garmin-Sharp team leader here.

It's Lotto-Belisol's turn now, and Jurgen Vandenbroucke is the leader. His best result has been 4th - he's hoping to go higher than that this year.

"I have a really difficult year behind me. It was nice to finish on the podium in the Dauphine. It's given me a lot of confidence," Vandenbroucke said.

Adam Hansen is looking to complete a triple crown of triples - doing all three Grand Tours three years in a row. He's on his ninth straight one with the Tour.

Greipel says of stage 1, "I like the finish a lot, but there's a middle part that doesn't suit me so good. We're going to try and make a bunch sprint possible."

Belkin is next up. Bauke Mollema is looking to go better than last year. "GC is our main objective this year, so we hope to do really well in that," Mollema said.

"Performing at a high level makes you stronger, now I'm one year older and one year stronger. There's much more to the Tour - it's such a big event. You learn a lot each year."

Garmin-Sharp is up next, with Talansky first on the mic. The last two Dauphine winners have gone on to win the Tour. "We're here to get the best overall result possible. The Dauphine was incredible, but the last two winners were on a level we're still trying to get to," Talansky said.

"I learned that you have to believe anything is possible. That's the beauty of cycling. It's not run in a lab. Sometimes it's a combination of legs and tactics (that wins)."

 

Johan Vansummeren promises that if Talansky stays with him on the cobbled stage, that they can do something special.

Team Sky is coming soon, but first, we have to wait as Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh joins York singer/songwriter Alistair Griffin in singing the theme song, The Road.

RT @cannondalePro: Hey #Leeds, here we are! @letour #tdf #GreenMachine http://t.co/RgQ6FDvXM9

@eliaviviani Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 19:41:35

Pre-presentation picture. Guys are looking great, especially the caps. @lawsoncraddock http://t.co/LaALIU6Upw

@marcelkittel Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 19:43:31

Haven't had enough to watch on the television lately? Bored at work? Can't get enough Tour de France content? Take a gander at our Cyclingnews Youtube channel for loads of great content from Leeds and beyond.

RT @cannondalePro: New jersey layout for @petosagan - proudly Slovakian! http://t.co/SyWP076JCz

@petosagan Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 19:44:53

It's time for Giant-Shimano, and four-stage winner Marcel Kittel. First up, however is Cheng Ji, who hopes to inspire his countrymen as the first Chinese rider in the Tour de France. He will turn 27 on the first rest day.

John Degenkolb is the team's other sprinter. "I hope to do a good job in the lead out train for Marcel. We're really motivated to make a nice performance like last year. We want to win a stage, and it would be so great to do it here with these big crowds."

The German knows the weekend will be hard stages. "If it is a possibility for a sprint that's not the whole bunch, I'll do my best to win the stage."

Kittel gets a warm welcome from the crowds. The personable German won a Giro stage in Dublin earlier this year. He said his knees are shaking with nerves for the presentation. We doubt he'll be shaking when it comes time to sprint, however.

Now it's time for AG2R-La Mondiale. Jean-Christophe Peraud, and Romain Bardet, the team's co-leaders.

"I hope to ride at a higher level this year, to improve my overall standings. The Tour is an amazing experience for a rider, I hope to do my best," Bardet said, who also hopes to win a stage.

Peraud was unlucky last year with crashes, and left the race early. "I would like to be better than I was in 2010 (2011, ed)," he said. He was 9th then, but is aiming for a top 5.

Kittel is finally able to reveal what's under his ball cap. His trademark hair cut is a bit smashed because he was required to wear the hat.

Kittel said the Yorkshire stages are going to be really hard, and will be tricky. If it rains, "it's going to be another factor you can't take into account before the race. It can be cold and windy, which makes it harder."

The Arenberg stage, he said would be a good stage together with Degenkolb, and they are looking forward to it.

... possibly one of the few riders, aside from Vansummeren and Cancellara.

Oh guys!!!

Now it's time for Astana and Vincenzo Nibali, who is hoping to surprise. He's had a habit of attacking on descents, and using his fearless style to gain an advantage, and we expect to see more of that this year.

Peter Sagan has a new Cannondale for the 2014 Tour - he has a Wolverine theme this year, with the green eyes representing his green jersey defense. Stay tuned to Cyclingnews, we're sure to have a pro bike coming on this.

Sagan knows anything can happen, and is going into the opening stages relaxed: "it's best not to think too much" he said.

"I did a good Tour de Suisse, and I'm ready."

He has his hair styled in Wolverine fashion as well. 

Maybe on the first mountain stage, he and Marcel Kittel can have a gel-off.

Now the crowd goes wild for the arrival of Team Sky. Bernhard Eisel leads the team out on stage. 

Peter Sagan´s new customized bike for #TDF http://t.co/qevxPFABiU

@Laura_Meseguer Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 20:05:55

We missed the other interviews, but Richie Porte is up on the mic, saying Froome is relaxed off the bike, but has a killer instinct on the bike.

Now, it's time to introduce the defending champion Chris Froome.

How did it change his life? "It's massive. I can't say enough how special it is to come back as the defending champion," he said. "It's been unreal. For us, we couldn't ask for much more."

Now, we cut away from the defending champion to bring you Alejandro Valverde. I'm sure some Eurosport UK viewers won't be too happy about that.

Hopefully we'll get a little bit more from Froome from the back stage interview.

We have Froome back stage. He looks remarkably relaxed. "It's a huge relief to be here," he said. "It's been all about getting ready for this Tour de France," since last year.

On the critical stages, he's looking at stage 2 - 'its a lot harder than we've seen in the past, and it will sort out the peloton a bit. Things will start to settle down early in the race", he said. "It's a really difficult stage."

 

He's asked about Wiggins, and is diplomatic. "If he was going to be part of this team, he was willing to do that job," to work for the team, that is. "the team is chosen very much on the role riders can provide and what's needed on the road. They chose the eight guys who they think are best suited," Froome said.

"We're taking it to a new level. Everyone has focussed on being in top condition, and I couldn't ask for a stronger team around me."

He says he's back to full strength after his crash in the Dauphine. "Like any crash it can take the edge off, but I've felt like myself again, I've felt better on the bike. If anything I hope I'm fresher coming into the Tour than I have been before."

Thanks to everyone at the Leeds Arena and on the streets for this #TDFceremony - a wonderful show. See you this weekend! #AllezMovistarTeam

@Movistar_Team Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 20:09:55

RT @koendekort: That presentation was cool @letouryorkshire, thanks so much people of Leeds! Here is the presentation selfie. http://t.co/M…

@marcelkittel Thu, 3rd Jul 2014 20:19:46

Now to complete the presentation is Tour director Christian Prudhomme and Welcome to Yorkshire's Gary Verity.

Prudhomme says this is the most people ever to attend the Tour teams presentation.

Prudhomme says Yorkshire is gorgeous - we hope the rain will lift so the helicopter cameras can show the splendor in its entirety.

Verity is now on the mic, having brought the dream to a reality. "When people look back at this time, this will be seen as a defining moment, if not the defining moment, for the people of Yorkshire and beyond", he said. "I promise you the grandest ever Grand Depart in history."

It's said that Yorkshire stands to gain 100 million pounds in tourism through the Tour's visit.

"The Tour de France will be life-changing for so many, in so many ways. You are part of history - viva Yorkshire, viva Le Tour de France," Verity said.

The presentation might be over, but Cyclingnews' Tour de France countdown never ends until the race begins! We've got an interview with Sky's manager David Brailsford, who says his team is ready: "We're up for it this year and we'll give it our best shot. We're ready to fight, then what be will be."

 

Latest on Cyclingnews