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2015 Tour de France Countdown 2015: Day 2

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The Tour de France starts tomorrow! We'll bring you all the build-up ahead of the start in Utrecht this Saturday throughout today

Last night Utrecht hosted the team presentation with riders arriving via boat. Have a look through our gallery by clicking here 

Lots of teams are holding their pre-race press conferences today including IAM Cycling, BMC, Bora-Argon 18, Orica-GreenEdge, Lotto-Soudal, Katusha, Etixx-QuickStep,Astana and Movistar.

 

We'll provide news and updates from these teams across the day for you

 

Europcar's press conference was scheduled for today but has been cancelled 

 

Identifying Orica-GreenEdge's British twins, Adam and Simon Yates can be rather hard for the TV commentators so the team has decided on a novel way to ensure there is no confusion who is who while on the bike.

 

By popular request, Adam (green) & Simon (white) will wear different @Bolle_Eyewear @letour to help you identify

Not sure who is going to win the Tour de France? What the route is? Don't worry, we have it all covered in our race preview which you can find by clicking here

 

One of Chris Froome's key climbing domestiques Nicolas Roche turns 31 today. We don't think he'll be eating too much cake today though!

IAM Cycling are the first team to start the press conference today. Mathias Frank is leading the team's GC ambitions while Sylvain Chavanel is sure to attack any opportunity. Click here to see who else made their selection for the Tour

 

Chavenel is looking focused ahead of the Tour

 

The mechanics of the Tour de France have been busily putting together new and refurbished bikes for the race over the last few days. Check out of gallery of how hard they work by click here

 

The weather today is a little cooler in Utrecht than previously days but still a pleasant 25 degrees celsius. The expected top for today is 29 degrees although Saturday is going to be a warm one with temperatures in the mid-30's predicted

 

Cofidis sprinter Nacer Bouhanni had a nasty crash Sunday at the French nationals placing his participation in the Tour in doubt. The Frenchman missed the race last year when riding with FDJ and will ignore the pain to ensure he starts in 2015. Read about how Bouhanni is feeling ahead of the race by clicking here

 

World champion Michal Kwiatkowski told Cyclingnews that Team Sky have put an offer on the table for him to join the team in 2016 but his first choice is to stay with Etixx-QuickStep next season. Read the full story by clicking here

 

Joaquim Rodríguez was third overall in 2013. Two years on, can he make the podium again? Click here to find out how the Spanish rider is approaching the 2015 edition of the race

 

Thomas Voeckler may no longer be the force he was in previous years as age starts to catch up with him the Europcar rider can always be counted on entertain.

Here's some words from the Frenchman on how he sees the Tour.

"It will be a tense start to the race, very stressful. The time bonuses at the finishes will also change things. That maybe doesn’t mean much to the public, but for riders like me, who want to go on the attack, that could scupper the chances of a break staying away. When there were no bonuses, you could have two races at the same time – one for the stage win and the other for GC. But this time, the leaders are going to race for stage victory to pick up seconds and that changes a lot of things."

 

BMC's team presentation is about to get underway. We'll have news from it later day but we'll try and bring you snippets as soon as we can

 

Tejay van Garderen leads BMC at the 2015 Tour de France looking to improve upon his two fifth places (2012 and 2014). Click here to read how he's feeling on the eve of the race 

 

The Tour de France kits that LottoNL-Jumbo will wear this July look to be a little bit longer than the normal length of cycling jerseys. Here's Wilco Kelderman modelling the new kit at the team presentation last night

 

Several riders showed off their new national jerseys at the team presentation last night. One of those was Tour debutant Emanuel Buchmann who became German champion last weekend

 

Chris Froome is the sole leader at Team Sky as he looks to win a second Tour de France. Here's what he had to say at the team presentation last night

"I’m feeling good. It’s been such a long time getting ready for this year’s Tour de France. Obviously after the disappointment of last year I’ve spent a whole year basically just trying to get ready for this point. It feels great that we’re here now, I’m in great shape, I’ve got such a strong team of guys around me – probably the strongest team we’ve ever had at the Tour de France. I’m just looking forward to getting started now.

 

 

"The first week is going to be like running the gauntlet. Anyone who doesn’t make it through there isn’t going to make it into the GC race later once we hit the mountains. That first week is going to be all about trying to stay safe, stay out of trouble, and hopefully all of the contenders can get up into the mountains so that it can be the race that it’s shaping up to be.

 

 

"We’ve got such a tight-knit group of guys here, some of whom have been riding together for the last 10 years. That group dynamic is really important. We all absolutely trust each other and I know the guys are going to give it absolutely everything. That gives me a lot of confidence coming into this race. "

 

Chris Froome's teammate Luke Rowe also spoke at the team presentation last night. Here's what he had to say.

 

"So far so good. It’s kind of what I expected. It’s blown out of all proportion. It’s on a big scale, a lot of people, a lot of faces, a lot of happy fans. As far as the racing side of my debut goes, we’ve got so many experienced guys here and I’ve spoken to quite a few of them, picked their brains, and ultimately it’s like any other bike race. You’re racing against the same guys, but with extra pressure and stress and with a lot more people watching worldwide.

 

"The morale in the team is really good. We got together for the first time yesterday and it was like a big reunion, a big happy family with all the boys back together, a bit of banter around the dinner table. We’re just looking forward to getting the ball rolling now."

 

Mark Cavendish crashed out of the Tour on the opening stage last year and is hungry to add to his 25 career stage wins this year as he explained at the team presentation last night.

 

"I feel good, very relaxed – obviously it doesn’t start with a road race into Harrogate this year. I feel a little bit more relaxed than I was then. The ambience at the Etixx-QuickStep dinner table is incredible. We’ve got a strong team here for all 21 days and we’ll look to win stages throughout. [on the changes to the points allocation for the green jersey and how this affects the battle for this title…] It’s irrelevant really. My aim for winning the green is just to win as many stages as possible. [On the atmosphere at the presentation and pre-race nerves] It’s the same as this is the Tour de France.

 

"Obviously it changes slightly as it moves from country to country, but in terms of the ceremony nothing could beat what Gary Verity did with Yorkshire last year. That was spectacular. But it’s nice to see so many people out here. I think last time we started in the Netherlands in Rotterdam, Holland were playing in the quarter-finals of the World Cup and nobody was out, so it’s nice to see so many out in a country that lives for cycling."

 

2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins was to ride the Staffordshire Grand Prix tomorrow but has pulled out of the race. Read more by clicking here

 

Former world record holder Rohan Dennis makes his second Tour de France appearance and first with BMC in 2015. Here's what the Australian had to say at the team press conference today.

 

"The time trial tomorrow is one of my goals for this year. Obviously I’ve been going full-on in every time trial this year to prepare for this, regardless of how tired I was, and now it’s finally here. I’m feeling good. There’s the team time trial at the end of the week too, and that will hopefully help us to gain some time."

 

BMC's main man for the race, Tejay van Garderen, is feeling confident ahead of the Tour as he explained in the press conference.

 

"I see my chances as quite good, from the way I feel in training and my recent results. This is a hard race and it’s going to be a marathon. This Tour won’t be won in the first week or the second week, but maybe as late as on Alpe d’Huez. The trick is consistency and that’s one of my strong suits."

 

BMC team boss Jim Ochowicz is simply looking for improvement upon last year's showing at the Tour

 

"The plan for us is to upgrade our result from last year. Tejay can go head-to-head with anyone in the peloton. The primary goal is to make the podium."

 

BMC have only won one stage at the Tour de France and that was back in 2011 with Cadel Evans on stage 4 when he went on to win the overall. The team will be hoping to end that drought in 2015.

 

Team Sky have headed out for one final training ride ahead of the Tour de France tomorrow. We'll see if any photos emerge

 

In case you've been living under a rock, here's a brief run down of tomorrow's stage for you. It is a 13.8km time trial, not a prologue, in Utrecht with an elevation gain of just two metres. There is also a time check at the 7.1km mark. Find a full stage preview along with the stage map and profile by clicking here

 

Orica-GreenEdge will soon be hosting their pre-race press conference. Michael Matthews makes his Tour de France debut this year and is hunting stage wins in the first week. Read an interview with him by clicking here

 

Astana have their press conference this afternoon but first are heading out on one final training ride

 

Alejandro Valverde is riding in support of Nairo Quintana at the Tour de France this year but the Movistar rider will be looking for a stage win in the first week with several stages suited to his strengths. Here he is at the team presentation in his Spanish national champions jersey

 

Rui Costa also showed off his new national champions jersey at the team presentation. The former world champion will be looking to claim a few stage wins as well with Lampre-Merida supporting him in his quest

 

Alberto Contador last officially won the Tour de France in 2009. in 2015 he is looking to do the Giro-Tour double. Click here to see how he is feeling ahead of the challenge

 

The organisers of the Tour de France have confirmed that MTN-Qhubeka's Daniel Teklehaimanot will be first rider to the start the time trial tomorrow

 

Vincenzo Nibali will be the last rider to start the stage 1 time trial wearing the number one dossard

 

Have you seen the Giant-Alpecin Keep Challenging documentary yet? Check it by clicking here

 

Mark Cavendish is relaxed ahead of the 2015 Tour de France and looking to add to his 25 stage wins. Read more about his race ambitions by clicking here

 

Warren Barguil makes his Tour de France debut tomorrow. The Giant-Alpecin rider won two stage on his grand tour debut at the 2013 Vuelta a Espana then finished eighth overall at the 2014 edition of the race. Here's what he has to say on his first Tour appearance.

 

"I think I am ready for my first participation in the Tour de France, which is special for me as a French rider. My goal is to continue the progress I have made in this team and see if I can fight for a stage victory.

 

"In 2013 I won two stages in the Vuelta, and last year my aim was to go for a GC result, which went quite well with eighth overall. Now the aim is to continue this trend at the Tour de France.

 

"My expectation is that it will be a hard and stressful race and I would love to reach Paris in my first participation at the Tour."

 

Will Nairo Quintana become the first Colombian to win the Tour de France in 2015? Click here to watch a video the Movistar rider explain his approach to the race and ambitions

 

The Bora Argon 18 press conference is currently underway with the media being treated lunch by the team

 

Chris Froome believes Team Sky have assembled its best ever Tour de France squad in 2015. Click here to see what the 2013 Tour winner had to before at the team presentation

 

There was some weird and wonderful stuff going on during yesterday's team presentation, including this. We're not sure the bike is UCI legal though.

 

There have already been a number of press conferences this morning, including IAM and BMC, currently going on is the Orica-GreenEdge press conference. They're targeting stage victories this season.

And here is the Orica-GreenEdge team during their press conference. With Michael Matthews and his new haircut nearest the camera.

 

The Giant-Alpecin team has released a series of videos of their build-up to the Tour de France. You can watch the first two of them here.

Thanks for the support guys!

Five climbers to watch for this year's Tour de France https://t.co/HlZP3y5TVX

@Cyclingnewsfeed Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 13:24:05

The Katusha press conference is under way. They're focusing on stage wins with Alexander Kristoff and the general classification with Joaquim Rodríguez. We got a chance to talk to Rodríguez ahead of the Tour de France and you can read what he had to say here.

Nathan Haas is making his debut at the Tour de France this season, along with fellow Australian Michael Matthews. The Cannondale rider posted this little flashback on twitter.

 

...Costa's an interesting one. Think he was top 10 through the Alps last year but got ill, and he'll be good through the first week.

@EdwardPickering Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 13:37:40

The Etixx press conference is just coming to a close. We'll have some news from that very soon but first FDJ. The French team say that they are putting all their weight behind Thibaut Pinot at this year's Tour de France.

If you haven't already, take a look at our top 10 contenders to watch video and let us know who you think will win.

Quelle équipe est à la conférence de presse ? / Which team is at the press conference? #TDF2015 http://t.co/1e2LF5sWjl

@letour Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 14:07:25

We're getting down to the last few pre-race press conferences. Astana are currently in the hot seat at the moment with just Movistar to go.

Andre Greipel and his Lotto-Soudal teammates have been out for one final pre-race training ride today. Greipel has won a stage at the last 8 grand tour's he has started. 

Former Hour Record holder Rohan Dennis is aiming for victory in tomorrow's stage one time trial. Read about his pre-race 5am reconnaissance and more by clicking here

 

The Etixx-Quick Step press conference has wrapped up. Mark Cavendish was looking focused as the centre of attention

 

Astana have also had its press conference today with defending champion Vincenzo Nibali the centre of attention there

 

Movistar are the last team scheduled for a press conference today

 

Comparecen en el Centro de Prensa del #TDF2015 en @letourutrecht dos ases: @alejanvalverde y @NairoQuinCo. https://t.co/BtAP8qw6X6

@Movistar_Team Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 14:57:20

It's not just the riders that are getting ready for the Tour de France, the mechanics are too. Take a look through our gallery as the mechanics put the last minute touches to the riders' time trial bikes. Including this eye-catcher.

 

The Tour de France race organisers ASO announced the bib numbers today. Take a look at our full start list here.

The Movistar press conference has been wrapped up and that concludes the pre-race press conferences for this year. Movistar riders Nairo Qiuntana and Alejandro Valverde were all smiles during their interrogation by the media.

 

Don't forget that Cyclingnews will be producing a podcast for the Tour de France. Subscribe here and you can listen on your computer, ipod or iphone.

As well as the start list, the Tour de France have released the start times for the time trial tomorrow. Daniel Teklehaimanot will be the first man off,technically making him the first Eritrean to ride the Tour de France. Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali will be last off. You can find the full order here.

 

⚠ #Respectherace ⚠ ⚠#Respectezlacourse ⚠ https://t.co/Oa7zbQWv5d

@letour Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 15:33:09

Cofidis have confirmed that they have secured their sponsorship up until 2019. They're hoping for stage victories with Nacer Bouhanni, despite the injuries he suffered at the French national championships.

Yesterday Nairo Quintana spoke out against Vincenzo Nibali's comments regarding his whereabouts during the Critérium du Dauphiné. Today during the team press conference, the Colombian has said that he was tested five times while at home in Colombia.

Vincenzo Nibali also responded to the furore surrounding the comments. He said:

 

“I’m sorry if Quintana was angry or offended. My intention was not to speak badly of Colombia, which is a wonderful country with a lot of great riders who are riding very strongly. It’s just that there was no news of Quintana and we were all asking ourselves about where he was, but not in a malicious way.”

“I wouldn’t settle for a second place but in Italian cycling, you have to go back to Bottechia to find an Italian who won two Tours in a row, which makes you understand how difficult it is to win the Tour de France.”

 

Everybody loves @petosagan - giving signatures to the kids, very cool! #tinkoffsaxo #TDF2015 http://t.co/le6JJm7DKa

@dailystews Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 15:48:57

The Lotto-Jumbo guys having fun at the Tour de France presentation last night. http://t.co/U3YFUhuziG (Pic… https://t.co/pnQw85Fv4v

@Cyclingnewsfeed Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 15:54:21

The Tour de France isn't the only Grand Tour going on at the moment. The Giro Rosa starts this evening with a two-kilometre time trial. The teams were presented yesterday evening. You can see our full gallery here with start times for all the riders.

Some more photos from today's press conferences and Tejay van Garderen is taking his marginal gains seriously with his new hair cut. What do you think?

 

And here is Mark Cavendish during the Etixx-QuickStep press conference earlier this afternoon.

 

The Team Sky press conference is currently going on. Chris Froome has said that he's not worried about the cobbles as he actually didn't make it to the cobbles last year.

Froome also says that he has come to the race in perfect condition. Cyclingnews had a chance to speak to Froome at the team presentation last night and you can read what he had to say here.

Nicolas Roche: Froome has greater confidence in pen capabilities than Contador. #TDF2015 #jptouren #cycling

@jacob_haislund Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 16:32:29

Richie Porte says that he's come back from the disappointment of the Giro d'Italia and he's mentally and physically ready for the Tour. Cyclingnews spoke to him earlier this week, read his thoughts here.

Last press conference of the day. @TeamSky is aiming for the #YellowJersey for @chrisfroome in Paris! #TDFutrecht http://t.co/F0ASMdeNt7

@LeTourUtrecht Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 16:40:11

Team Sky close out team press conferences ahead of Tour http://t.co/wCwNUTQ31A

@Cyclingnewsfeed Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 16:49:06

That is all the press conferences wrapped up, we mean it this time. We'll continue to bring you all the reaction from today as we edge ever-closer to the start tomorrow.

Here is Michal Kwiatkowski during the Etixx-QuickStep press conference earlier today. He told Cyclingnews that he had received an offer from Team Sky but he plans to stay with Etixx next season.

 

Now that the Tour de France press conferences are done, we can turn our direction a bit to the Giro Rosa, one of the most important races on the women's calendar. They get underway with a brief prologue tonight. You can see photos from the team presentation and see the time trial start list here.

Quintana's nickname back in Colombia is 'Nairoman', which I'd not heard before

@petercossins Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 17:08:45

Mark Cavendish doesn't expect to have a shot at the yellow jersey, even with the time bonuses. He's only aiming for stage wins and claims he doesn't care about the points classification. Read more here.

The press conferences are normally in dull rooms, but Etixx Quickstep glammed up the occasion a bit. Here's Mark Renshaw being interviewed by Rupert Guinness.

Last time they raced the Tour de France together, there was some question as to which would be team leader. But this year Alejandro Valverde is all in for Nairo Quintana.

Nairo Quintana is pointing to Nibali and Contador as Tour de France favourites, deflecting the attention from himself?

Few hours left fot the big start. It will be big @letour http://t.co/ACzMoCqkmw

@petosagan Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 17:33:57

Mario Zorzoli to leave the UCI at the end of July.

@dnlbenson Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 17:29:48

The mechanics have been very busy getting the riders' equipment set for tomorrow's opening stage. BikeRadar's Ben Delaney snuck around the compound and saw some of the new Specialized Venge ViAS bikes being put together. You can see it all here.

'La caravane publicitaire' is getting ready for the first stage of @letour #TDFutrecht http://t.co/ZOVmJxAU5J

@LeTourUtrecht Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 17:45:12

Nibali clarifies what he meant when he questioned where Nairo Quintana has been.

Read more about Nibali's Tour de France lead-in here.

ALSO something rare: Zoetemelk & Hinault on a tandem road bike, not messing about. #TDFutrecht #Utrecht #TDF http://t.co/E8WCwtpBg6

@amsterdamized Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 18:00:25

Alex Dowsett was fully expecting to be left out of Movistar's selection. He planned to go out partying but decided to wait. Read more.

Feel a bit like an animal at a zoo

Now this is coolio https://t.co/0MSBvZlSVx

@TheTwistedSpoke Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 18:04:27

Op for some reason the photo link in Chris Froome's tweet didn't work. Here you go.

If you missed it before, Froome had plenty to say about the strength of his Tour de France team while staring down all of those cameras.

Have a few minutes over lunch today? Cyclingnews sat down with UCI president Brian Cookson to discuss many important topics, from reforms, the ASO and the case of Roman Kreuziger. It's a good read.

We've just posted a bit on Nairo Quintana's new Canyon Ultimate CF SLX lightweight climbing bike. Have a look!

(Rough) stats from the press conference today.. Questions about: @marcelkittel 80% Revenge 12% Harrogate 6% New Green Jersey Points 2%

A little update on our women in the Giro Rosa prologue.

@petervdveen Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 18:40:23

"I don't like the heat but for 14 kilometres it should be no problem. The most important thing is that all riders have the same conditions, that it doesn't start to rain halfway," Tony Martin says.

Read more here.

Cyclingnews' first Tour de France podcast is available now. If you haven't subscribed, please check out this page to do so.

Our first guest is none other than three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond.

Or, you can listen below, just make sure your AdBlock plugin is disabled if you use it.

Boo, the live console won't let us embed the player. Check out this link to listen to episode 1 of our Tour de France podcast with Greg LeMond.

Meet Vincenzo Nibali - https://t.co/NR3Fdl2JMc #TDF2015

@AstanaTeam Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 18:56:06

Roxanne Knetemann currently leads the prologue in the Giro Rosa, with Anna van der Breggen falling just shy of overtaking her.

Weather for tomorrow's opening stage at @letour.Chances of a brief shower but more than 30°C + 64% humidity #TDFhot http://t.co/MnskZyxpuS

@Laura_Meseguer Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 19:05:29

Marianne Vos has been hanging around the Tour de France Grand Depart in Utrecht.

Andrew Talansky has a new paint job for the opening time trial at the Tour de France

Chris Froome says he's actually looking forward to the cobbled stage on Tuesday. Last time he wasn't taken out by the cobbles because he crashed before he even got there. He's looking to prove his doubters wrong.

Is the number not too big @letour ?

Sorry, here's Roman Kreuziger's number!

Vincenzo Nibali has had a quieter start to the season than previous years, but looks to be ramping up nicely.

“There’ll be big expectations on me as defending champion but there are riders who have done more than me so far this season, like Froome winning the Dauphiné, but I’ll play my cards day by day and see how I go.”

Read more here.

Over in the Giro Rosa, Annemiek van Vleuten has overtaken Knetemann to lead the prologue.

Cyclingnews is pleased to present the first installment of a blog by FDJ team manager Marc Madiot. Always expressive, the Frenchman lays into Oleg Tinkov in his entry today!

The UCI confirms Mario Zorzoli will step down from his anti-doping post, but by his own choice and 'with no stain' on his reputation.

Mayor of #Utrecht welcomes everyone to the #TDF2015 Official Dinner @letour @LeTourUtrecht #TDF http://t.co/qFmPryR3GF

@BrianCooksonUCI Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 20:19:16

Dejligt at have denne smukke fyr her i touren #letour #Tdf2015 Go Denmark! http://t.co/s2qdWLNvUU

@olegtinkov Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 20:16:26

Thanks ! Good start for @letour ! @tinkoff_saxo http://t.co/qGzslEMujl

@stevendejongh Fri, 3rd Jul 2015 20:20:49

Just in case you missed it, the Giro Rosa prologue just ended with Bigla's Annemiek Van Vleuten taking the win and the first leader's jersey of the 10-stage race. You can find the Giro Rosa prologue results here.

There have been a lot of fans in Utrecht wearing t-shirts that read, "I'm a Dumoulist," in support of Giant-Alpecin's Tom Dumoulin for the opening time trial on Saturday.

However, Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) has something to say about that in our latest story on Cyclingnews.

Tour de France: Tony Martin ready to spoil Dumoulin's party

 

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So as the Tour de France peloton get tucked into bed for their last good night's sleep before the race starts, we will bid you adieu until tomorrow! Vive le Tour!

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