Welcome to the live build-up to the 2015 Tour de France
The Tour de France begins in just two days' time. We'll bring you all the build-up ahead of the start in Utrecht this Saturday.
Get yourself ready for the 2015 Tour de France by taking a look at our race preview.
The press conferences have been going on since around 10 this morning. Trek Factory Racing were the first with theirs. Here is Cancellara and his teammate Bauke Mollema talking to the press.
Cannondale-Garmin have also held theirs earlier today and next on the agenda are Tinkoff-Saxo. The team have been showing off their new Tour de France kit, here is their team leader Alberto Contador.
The mind games have already begun between the favourites. At the Dauphiné last month, Vincenzo Nibali asked "Where is Quintana?" The Colombian answered the Italian. Read what he had to say here.
Cancellara was the big focus at the Trek press conference earlier today. He's targeting his sixth opening day victory at the Tour de France. The Swiss rider also hinted that this could be his last Tour.
More news coming out of the press conferences and Mollema says that he's looking for a top-five finish at the Tour this year.
@GeraintThomas86 Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 14:01:53
If you're having a late lunch and you're looking for something to read then look no further than this excellent feature on the first African team to ride the Tour de France by our very own Barry Ryan.
AG2R are currently holding their press conference. They've got Romain Bardet and Jean Christophe Peraud as their GC men.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 14:30:11
After having a disastrous Giro d'Italia, Richie Porte is hoping for some better luck at the Tour de France as he supports 2013 champion Chris Froome.
Chris Froome has been a busy man during the Tour de France build-up.
@LeTourUtrecht Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 14:50:15
Are you new to cycling or the Tour de France? Take a look at our beginners' guide video and get yourself up to speed.
Bauke Mollema is one of the many Dutch riders who are part of the Tour de France line-up. He'll get to spend a couple of days riding through his home country and he hopes by Paris that he'll be in a good GC position.
"I'm going for GC and there are a few big favourites in my opinion. There are few riders who can finish in the top five if everything goes well and I'm one of them. It's a big group though and the level is really high in the peloton at the moment for GC. It will be a hard fight but I'm looking forward to it."
Read his full comments here.
@SadhbhOS Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 15:09:02
MTN-Qhubeka have a new paint-job for the Tour de France bikes. What do you think? Take a look at the full gallery here.
@LouisMeintjes Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 15:25:14
Incidentally, the team presentation will begin at 6pm local time this evening in the Lepelenburg park. Trek Factory Racing are due up first.
Tony Martin is one of the favourites to take victory on Sunday and go into the yellow jersey. We took a closer look at the bike he'll be using and you can see it here.
@richardmoore73 Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 15:42:49
Planning your Tour de France dream team? Take a look at the full list of riders who will take the start this Saturday.
Lampre-Merida have revealed Rui Costa's new national champions jersey. It seems the photo was taken in someones living room, judging by the pictures in the background.
We brought you Tony Martin's time trial bike earlier today, now here is Chris Froome's. Froome is unlikely to come away with the stage win this Saturday but he'll be looking to put in a few seconds on his rivals.
Peter Sagan posted this picture of himself on twitter with his new puppy. Will the new addition bring him some good luck?
@letour Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 16:19:47
Alberto Contador and his Tinkoff-Saxo teammates were out training this morning. Take a look at our extensive gallery here.
Team Sky were also snapped on their outing around Utrecht today. Team leader Chris Froome looked in good spirits. Take a look at the full gallery here.
All of the 198 riders participating at this year's Tour de France have been given a little memento of the race with a medal. Cofidis rider Luis Angel Mate posted this earlier today of his medal.
The team presentation will begin in around 15 minutes.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 16:47:42
Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana are sat next to each other at the team presentation. We wonder if any words were had between the pair, after these comments.
The team presentation is underway and the riders will soon be making their way onto stage in Utrecht.
There was also this wonderful photo opp today. Pic courtesy of Movistar.
A few former stars of the Tour have arrived, including Bernard Thevenet. The Frenchman shakes the hand of UCI president Brian Cookson as he goes to sit down.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 17:10:28
Local heroes Joop Zoetemelk and Jan Janssen are presented to the crowd to huge cheers.
Race directory Christian Prudhomme spoke on stage, saying: "There is passion and it’s not just good luck that this is the sixth time that the Netherlands has the Grand Départ for the six time. It is a country of bicycles."
For those who can't watch the live stream and really want to experience what the audience just did, you can see the video for "Bon Voyage" here.
The teams are starting to arrive for the presentation now, with Trek Factory Racing being the first to sail in. Bauke Mollema has plenty of fans expressing "Mollemania".
Mollema was asked by a fan what gear he'll use for the time trial, he says "55x11".
Fabian Cancellara gets a big round of applause - he's won all of his prologue or opening TT victories outside of France. He's looking forward to repeating his Rotterdam victory in Utrecht. You can read more here.
Bretagne-Séché Environnement is next to arrive, with Eduardo Sepulveda as the only non-Frenchman in the team. The Argentinean is making his Tour de France debut and is excited.
Cannondale-Garmin are next to the stage, with American Andrew Talansky leading the way. He's the only American in the Tour team, and will wear his national TT champion's jersey on the opening stage on the country's Independence Day. Read more about the team's strategy here.
Consequently, Kristijan Koren is the only rider from the 2014 Cannondale team to make the Tour squad for Cannondale-Garmin. The rest are from last year's Garmin team.
Bora-Argon 18 are next to the stage, Czech Jan Barta as the team's number 1. Also in the team is new German champion Emanuel Buchmann, who is exctied to make his Tour debut.
@TeamCOFIDIS Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 17:34:01
IAM Cycling gets their time on the stage, with Stef Clement, silver medalist in the Euro Games TT pleasing the crowd with a message in Dutch.
Lotto Soudal, always enthusiastic, took out time to visit with young fans before going on stage.
Nacer Bouhanni leads the Cofidis team on stage, he was unsure of starting the Tour after a dramatic crash in the French championship, but start he will, despite rib injuries and road rash.
@IAM_Cycling Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 17:43:44
Alberto Contador arrives, leading the Tinkoff-Saxo team to the stage to enthusiastic applause. He's aiming not just for the Giro-Tour double, but also a Vuelta-Giro-Tour triple, though not in the same year.
You can read more here.
The presentation is paused for a t-shirt cannon to fire some gifts into the crowd, and a musical interlude from a violinist.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 17:49:34
@TDWsport Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 17:52:20
Orica-GreenEdge is next, and Simon Gerrans says getting the yellow jersey will be difficult, but the team is aiming to win stages. You can read more about their ambitions here.
Canadian Svein Tuft is looking forward to the TTT, but says the course will be very tough.
The Dutch commentator keeps talking about the heat. The area is experiencing somewhat of a heat wave, and temperatures on Saturday are expected to be in the mid-90's F/35C. That's pretty hot!
Lampre-Merida is next with Rui Costa and Filippo Pozzato expressing their thoughts on the Tour de France. Pozzato's English is surprisingly good.
Lotto Soudal is next on stage. Frenchman Tony Gallopin leads the team on stage, with Andre Greipel blending in now that he's no longer German champion.
@TeamSky Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 17:59:02
Want to experience what it feels like to ride into a team presentation at the Tour de France? Here's what Bauke Mollema saw.
Pierre Rolland, winner of the Alpe d'Huez stage, leads Europcar onto the stage. He and Thomas Voeckler are the leaders of the team.
Joaquim Rodriguez leads Katusha onto the stage, he's looking forward to a big fight. He and the rest of the Spaniards aren't too concerned about the heat, it's "almost like Seville" he says.
Kristoff is celebrating his birthday on July 5, and is looking to win the stage to celebrate.
World champion Michal Kwiatkowski leads the team on stage. He says racing in Holland always brings him good luck, and he is hoping for a good result.
Tony Martin says he previewed the course and is happy with the route. "It's not too short, and I really like it. I think the chance is there to win."
John Degenkolb leads Giant-Alpecin onto the stage, he's the team's sole sprint ace with the non-selection of Marcel Kittel. He is still sporting his signature moustache, btw.
"It's a big chance for me. I'm disappointed for Marcel, but in the end I have to concentrate on myself. The team is in good shape and in a good mood. The feeling between the riders is really good, and we're motivated because the team originated in the Netherlands and we're excited to start here."
Tom Dumoulin has a lot of fans in the audience, he's facing an uphill battle to win the opening TT over Tony Martin. He was given a tour of the course with the Dutch police, so perhaps will have an advantage.
@Lotto_Soudal Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 18:14:47
Chris Froome heads up Team Sky as they enter the spotlight. He wants to get a little revenge after last year's debacle: "Given how it went last year, it's given us a lot of added motivation this year. I'm surrounded by the strongest team in the race, I can say that with confidence. Each and every one of them has worked extremely hard to be here."
On the cobbles: "Stage 4 - we've been there, we've seen it. For sure it's going to be a tough stage. It's important to know what we're up against."
@francetvsport Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 18:17:44
The presentation pauses again for a troupe interpreting the Tour de France peloton in dance...
@ronnyfietst69 Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 18:22:05
MTN-Qhubeka resume the festivities - Tyler Farrar sporting some long, flowing ginger locks. He is shooting a video as he rolls on stage, hopefully we'll share it with you later.
Edvald Boasson Hagen, double Norwegian champion, is much more clean cut.
BMC Racing is the next to sail in on the canal. New Swiss champion Danilo Wyss is amongst the team that will support American Tejay van Gardenen.
@EspacioCiclista Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 18:27:36
Movistar followed BMC with Nairo Quintana the big star of the team. FDJ gets their spotlight next.
Movistar followed BMC with Nairo Quintana the big star of the team. FDJ gets their spotlight next.
AG2R La Mondiale follows their compatriots in the presentation order. Although Jean-Christophe Peraud was second last year, it looks like his form might not be up to snuff. Romain Bardet might get his shot as team leader.
Nairo Quintana is being interviewed backstage, he's not fearing the cobbled stage. He's done a few recons and added some cobbled races this year, so says he'll be alright.
LottoNl-Jumbo's Robert Gesink looks quite chipper, he's very excited to be back in the Tour and starting in his home country. He's had some struggles but looks to be getting back to his best.
Wilco Kelderman had a little crash in training but says he's OK.
Katusha have a special mascot.
Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali leads Astana onto the stage, and is asked if he can defend his title.
"It's not easy for the TDF. My target is the GC. I have the best team to help me in the Tour," he says. He names Froome, Contador and Quintana as his main rivals, but the parcours is also something to fight. "The day after today is very important, the first stage is very hard. The Mur de Huy and the cobblestones, too."
He's got Lars Boom at his side for the cobbles, and also Lieuwe Westra, both of whom were key to his very strong ride in last year's Tour when it traversed the pavé.
And that's it! That concludes the parade of teams. Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for a photo gallery from the presentation, but until then, check out all of our news, features, stage previews, start list and more in our Tour de France hub page.
@fcboxmeer2014 Thu, 2nd Jul 2015 18:49:56
We will be back for more Tour news and reports tomorrow, starting at 9am UK time, and continuing throughout the Tour de France. Thanks for reading!
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