Welcome to the live build-up to the 2016 Tour de France with day 2 of our countdown
Hello and welcome to day 2 of our 2016 Tour de France countdown!
It's another big day of press conference on the eve of the Tour de France. BMC are first up this morning with Etixx-Quick Step, Trek-Segafredo, Orica-BikeExchange, Katusha, Cofidis, Astana, Movistar and AG2R-La Mondiale to follow
Cyclingnews editor in chief Daniel Benson spoke to 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans at the team presentation last night. You can read his thoughts on Richie Porte's chances for the podium and what tactics his former team BMC will employ across the next three weeks by clicking here
The Tour de France team presentation was held last night with the 22 teams arriving via military vehicles on loan from the Utah Beach museum. You can see a full gallery by clicking here
Some of the Tour de France teams also hit the roads for a training rider under overcast skies. You can see a gallery including the likes of Katusha, Movistar and Etixx by clicking here
The BMC press conference is now underway and we'll news regarding the overall hopes of Tejay van Garderen and Richie Porte
There is always plenty of new tech and bikes on show at the Tour de France. For this years race, BMC will be racing on white Teammachine SLR01's which are front and centre at the press conference
Ian Stannard isn't on a new bike but we had a close up look at his Pinarello Dogma F8 for the Tour de France. Click here to find out more
During the BMC press conference, Tejay van Garderen was asked what his thoughts are on the 2016 Tour de France route. Here's what he had to say;
"I think it’s a well balanced route, definitely heavy on climbs but every Tour you do is never flat. There’s a couple of good TT. Last year there wasn’t really one, only the TTT and the short Utrecht one. I like that there’s more TT, it suits us more."
Today we will have the third and final episode of our '1996 Tour de France 20 years on' podcast with insights into the race from Riis, Boardman, Holm, Ekimov and Vasseur. If you haven't had a chance to have a listen to part or two, click here
When sitting in third place overall after the second rest day of the 2015 Tour, van Garderen had a day to forget and was forced to abandon the race. Asked what lessons he learned from last year, he answered
"Well, I carry this thing around [hand sanitizer]. But every bike race we do there's lessons to learn. You never stop till you retire, even as a DS you learn. A lot of it simple things: sleeping, healing, recovery, staying warm or cool, keeping stress low and ticking the basics, there's no real earth shattering things."
Having finished second to Chris Froome in last year's Dauphine, Tejay van Garderen switched preparation races to the Tour de Suisse where he won a stage. The 27-year-old explained his change of lead up races in 2016 and expected benefits at the Tour.
"The lead-up to the Tour is a little different with the Tour de Suisse compared to the Dauphine. It’s not a huge difference but when you do the Dauphine you then recover, do two training blocks and so add a bit more fitness. With Suisse the bulk of the work done and then you race and recover for the Tour de France. Even if the race (Suisse) is closer, I feel fresher because I’ve been focusing on recovery."
Australian Richie Porte has helped Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome to Tour de France success but is aiming to pursue his personal ambitions with BMC in 2016 as he explained.
"It’s was nice the team allowed me to gradually build up my season and be good in July. I came into the Tour last year running on fumes because I peaked in Giro and came to the Tour as a back up rider. This is a massive opportunity for me to lead with TJ what is a fantastic team."
A close friend and now former teammate of Froome, Porte was asked how his relationship with the two-time winner has changed.
"Not really. I don't see him quite as much. Off the bike we're still friends, but on the bike we're rivals. There's no difference between him or Quintana, you still want to beat them."
The Etixx-QuickStep team presentation is about to get underway. We'll bring you updates as they come in as well
In some morning transfer news, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf have reported Team Sky are looking into signing Steven Kruijswijk from LottoNL-Jumbo after his breakout Giro performance in May.
The Trek-Segafredo team presentation is now underway with Bauke Mollema answering questions from the press
The eagle eyed among you would have noticed Dylan Groenewegen and his Dutch national champions jersey was missing from the team presentation last night. The Tour debutant has intestinal problems and decided to have a night one to save his strength for the anticipated stage 1 sprint.
At the Trek-Segafredo press conference, Fabian Cancellara has said "I'm ready to fight on the first week" in what his be his final appearance at the race.
With one day to go until the Tour de France we have our final episode of our retrospective on the 1996 Tour de France. During this final episode, we sit down with Bjarne Riis for an extensive interview. You can listen to the final episode here.
There have already been several press conferences this morning including BMC and Trek-Segafredo. We'll have lots of news coming from them but in the meantime, here is a photo of Trek at theirs.
Tejay van Garderen discussing his form going into the Tour de France:
"Suisse was always going to be a question mark because I hadn’t raced for six week and had just been training. I need that race fitness in order to get back into the swing of things. Seeing how hard it was, that gave me that last little bump that I needed.
"I’ve reached my race weight by Suisse so now I’ve just been trying to sustain it and recover. I feel fresher and fitter than I ever have coming into the Tour."
More from Tejay van Garderen on Team Sky.
"They have pretty much all the pressure on their shoulders. They’ve won three Tours in the past four years so they’ve shown that they can handle it but it’s still a big ask.
"Froome is Froome and he’s shown good form at the Dauphine but he’s also shown that he’s beatable."
Dimension Data held their press conference yesterday where we got a chance to talk to Tour de France stage winner Stephen Cunmings. The British rider spoke out against the decision to leave him from the Olympic squad and called for Rod Ellingworth to step down from his role in the British set-up.
There is a brief break in press conference proceedings as everybody catches up on themselves and grabs some lunch. The press conferences will resume at 1pm local time Katusha. They will be talking from their hotel at Omaha Beach.
With the first stage giving sprinters a chance to take the yellow jersey, we've taken a closer look at some of those most likely to be wearing said jersey on Saturday evening. Take a look at our kings of the sprint.
If you haven't had a chance to look through our gallery of yesterday's military themed team presentation, you can find it here.
Giant Alpecin held their press conference yesterday morning, unveiling their new white jersey. They'll be led by Warren Barguil at the Tour de France and this is what he had to say on his won chances.
"It will be my second participation at the Tour de France and I am looking forward to race on home soil again. My goal is to focus more on my development as a general classification rider and to keep improving within the team.
"I am feeling really good and have prepared well for this year's edition. I have had a good period of training at the high-altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada and racing at the Tour de Suisse to get me into a better shape. So hopefully I haven't forgotten my good legs in Switzerland. I will aim to finish within the top 15 and I think we have got a balanced team for the whole race to achieve this target."
Read a full round-up on what was said in this morning's BMC press conference here.
Fabian Cancellara will be riding his last Tour de France this month as he is set to retire at the end of the season. He told the press that he is not here for a farewell tour but for some good results.
"“It’s not a farewell race, I’m looking for results, so it’s business as usual. It’s nothing special,” Cancellara said with a shrug.
“For Theuns and Stuyven it’s their first Tour and so it’s a big thing. I know what the future is bringing, so I’m relaxed and I’m looking forward to next few months. I just hope to stay healthy, to enjoy some nice things again but also not to finish on the ground again. I hope that doesn’t happen this year, I want to enjoy the race. But it’s going to be hectic. We have no prologue but instead a different opening. But when we see where we are, with the weather, you never know what is coming.”
We have the up to date start list for the Tour de France right here.
John Degenkolb was named as part of Giant-Alpecin's line-up. The German is still making his way back from injury and is hunting for a first stage win.
"I am really excited to start the Tour. The first stage win is that I'm here after such a tough start of the season. Over the last weeks of racing my condition has improved day by day and I am satisfied with my shape.
"The goal is to go for a stage win in the sprint stages with a difficult finale where some of the fast guys don't make it to the finish in the front group. We have a strong team here with a good lead-out and the atmosphere is great at the moment. Hopefully we will have many successes during the three weeks."
Wilco Kelderman is riding his second Tour de France this year. He's hoping for better fortunes this time around.
“Last year wasn’t good for me but this is something totally new. When I stay fit, and I don’t crash, then I have opportunities. I’m not specifically looking at the general classification but we’ll see what happens after a couple of stages and what’s possible.”
Away from the Tour de France, the biggest race on the women's calendar is due to get underway tomorrow. You can read our chat with defending champion Anna van der Breggen as she tries to retain her title ahead of a big on the Olympic road race.
And here is the full story on Cancellara and Mollema from this morning. Mollema told the press he would be disappointed with just a top 10.
The Cofidis team is currently holding its press conference and it's a pretty low-key affair - at least compared to what it would've been like if Nacer Bouhanni was there.
But last weekend the French Pro Conti team's prized asset punched a man, went to A&E for stitches in his hand, had the wound get infected, underwent further surgery, and pulled out of the Tour... He is a fan of boxing, but you couldn't really make it up.
To remind yourself of the details of the Bouhanni debacle, our story is here.
In Bouhanni's absence it's one of his leadout men, Christophe Laporte, who faces the press, along with Arnold Jeannesson, an old Thibaut Pinot domestique at FDJ who is set to be one of the team's prominent riders in the mountains.
Cofidis say they're full of ambition. This is, after all, far and away the most important race of the year for them - a French team with a French sponsor.
However, there's no getting away from the fact that Bouhanni's absence is an absolute disaster. The sprinter was in fine form, represented a real chance of a stage win, and what's more, half the team was based around him for his leadout train.
Alex Howes will be a wildcard in Cannondale-Drapac's team. We caught up with the US rider yesterday to hear his thoughts ahead of the Tour de France. You can read the full story here.
“The form is good, man. I lost a couple of kilos. We went up to Andorra and did some hard training up there. And the team looks really good. I wouldn’t say that they looked bad even if they did but they look amazing,” he told Cyclingnews.
Howes' teammate Pierre Rolland has been given a special edition Cannondale SuperSix and here is a sneak peak of it.
News in the French press has revealed that a new EPO test has been developed to try and prevent micro dosing. Read the full story here.
News in the French press has revealed that a new EPO test has been developed to try and prevent micro dosing. Read the full story here.
The newly named Orica-BikeExchange team had their press conference earlier. We'll have a report from that very soon but first here's a photo from the press conference.
Movistar are currently holding their press conference with Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde. Astana had theirs earlier this afternoon. We'll have news from both of those very soon.
We promised you more from Michael Matthews and here it is. The Australian has his eyes on victory on stage 2 on Sunday. Read his full comments here.
Fabio Aru and Vincenzo Nibali sitting together at the Astana press conference. Team boss Alexandre Vinokourov is sitting at the end of the table.
If you've not seen it yet, Fabian Cancellara will be riding yet another special edition Trek Madone. You can get a closer look at the bike here.
The Movistar press conference is coming to a close. There is just one more left and that is AG2R-La Mondiale. Once that's over the next stop is racing its self tomorrow.
There are rumours in the Dutch press that Team Sky is interested in signing Steven Kruijswijk after his Giro d'Italia performance earlier in the year. You can read that and more in our latest edition of news shorts.
Etixx-QuickStep had their press conference yesterday so took the free time this morning to go training.
After the events of the past year, the Tour de France has decided to step up their security.
If you've not seen it yet or you want to remind yourself about who is racing then you can take a look at the Tour de France start list here.
During his team's press conference, Nairo Quintana said that taking yellow will be harder this year but he believes that it is entirely possible.
"The objective of wining the Tour de France is possible this year even if it’s going to be harder than ever because of the quality and quantities of the rivals. We’ve prepared well for my yellow dream and with the team that I have we have great possibilities.
"I’ve had a similar preparation from last year, because that’s what has worked well. I think, once again, that the third week is the most important.
"Alejandro is a great rider and he won the Giro this year. T’s really important to have him by my side. He helps me and he always makes a big difference when racing against my rivals."
Cannondale-Drapac rider Lawson Craddock is making his Tour de France debut. During the team's press conference yesterday, he shared his thoughts on riding the Tour for the first time.
"To come in and to race [the Tour de France] is an opportunity I've been looking forward to almost my whole life. It's been a really good run in with training camps that we've done with the team, with the support that we've had over the last six months has been incredible and allowed us to come into this race in top form and focusing on giving the team the best chance of success.
"In Aspen last year at a camp I actually told them. Talking with JV about joining the team I said 'I want to do the Tour, it's a big goal' so from that aspect it was always in my mind that I wanted to line up here and I think throughout a strong spring I showed I could race consistency at a really high level. You never know what can happen with sickness and injuries, or lack of form. You never really know until you get that final call up a week ahead of the race."
Michael Drapac, a property investor and developer, has long been an emphatic champion of athletes investing in their futures beyond sport, and educating themselves on how to take care of their financial and emotional needs during and after their careers.
"Not only is this subject the elephant in the room in terms of sporting institutions, its something athletes don't even talk about amongst themselves," Drapac said. "What we've found, we have a dual Olympic medallist in our team, one of the things I've noticed is that when the athletes are encouraged to talk about it amongst themselves, you create a culture of 'what are you doing?'. I feeds on itself."
Craddock agreed: "I think it's incredible, one thing my parents hounded into me as a kid growing up wanting to become a professional athlete is education is just as important. Like I said, anything can happen with injuries and I got small taste of that last year crashing [Tour] Down Under and it forced you to take a step back and be like 'man, if I don't have a bike what am I going to be doing?' I have nothing to fall back on …
"To be part of a team that is supporting education in young riders is really cool to me. I took classes up until my last year of Under 23, I really felt like it kept my mind sharp both on and off the bike. You're not just sitting there watching re-runs of 'How I Met Your Mother' all the time. It forces you to read and you have someone holding you accountable and to take your desire to perform a the highest level of the sport and you put that into your education and I think you'd be really surprised with how far you can go with it."
A reminder that the final episode of our look back at the 1996 Tour de France is available to download. It includes an exclusive sit down with Bjarne Riis. You can find it here.
While we hear from the people who will be riding this year's Tour de France, there are some big-name riders that have missed selection this time around. We put together our own nine-man team made up of those who missed out. We think it's a pretty strong line-up but you can let us know what you think of it here.
Tejay van Garderen talking to the press earlier today.
Cannondale-Drapac rider Alex Howes is looking fit and lean and ready to pursue his aim of a stage win in the Tour de France.
The Cofidis team is at the Tour de France without their main man Nacer Bouhanni. The sprinter got into an altercation with some noisy hotel guests before the French championships last week and had a bad cut that got infected in his hand.
"We had prepared a train to lead him out, so we had to reshuffle the lineup and our ambitions," said team manager Yvon Sanquer on letour.com.
Nicolas Edet, the King of the Mountains of the 2013 Vuelta a España, was called up to create a trio of climbers with Daniel Navarro and Arnold Jeannesson. "I hope to do better than 14th in 2011," Jeannesson said. "In recent years I've raced as a domestique for Thibaut Pinot and Arthur Vichot at FDJ but now I have the opportunity to ride for GC."
Christophe Laporte is now the team's sprinter. "I don't put any limit to my ambition," Laporte said. "It won't be easy against the likes of Greipel and Kittel but I can try and get some good results."
@darylimpey Fri, 1st Jul 2016 16:28:02
After his victory in the Giro d'Italia, Vincenzo Nibali is on hand with Astana teammate Fabio Aru, but there's no hint of a rivalry brewing as you can read in this interview.
His name isn't on the list of favourites, but Cannondale-Drapac team manager Jonathan Vaughters is backing Pierre Rolland for a Tour de France 'slugfest'.
@Etixx_QuickStep Fri, 1st Jul 2016 16:47:57
@LeTour Fri, 1st Jul 2016 16:10:23
Just in case you were looking for the official Tour de France Twitter hashtag, here you go - both TDF2016 and TDF will get you a special yellow bike emoji.
In addition to the more precise EPO test to catch those micro-dosing, the officials at the Tour de France will be checking for motors using thermal imaging in conjunction with the UCI's magnetic resonance screening to deter mechanical doping.
10 years ago on this day, Operacion Puerto was eclipsing the Tour de France.
On this day in 2006, it was revealed that Fuentes' codes were linked to riders' pets.
Nairo Quintana is rested, confident and ready for his "yellow dreams" - of winning the Tour de France.
With that, we close out today's countdown to Le Tour! Thanks for reading. The action starts tomorrow - come back and follow stage 1 of the Tour de France with us live from flag drop to finish line.
Stage 1 - 188km from Mont-Saint-Michel to Utah Beach - is one for the sprinters.
Thanks for reading!
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