Tour de France – 2016 team and rider guide

This article is my first cycling post on my new website, a look into who I predict will make an impact on the 103rd Tour de France starting in Mont-Saint-Michel on 2nd July 2016. 

 Profiles of all 22 teams and riders to watch out for at this years Tour de France:

AG2R - Romain Bardet-Tour de France

AG2R’s Romain Bardet at the 2016 Tour of Oman with Vincenzo Nibali.

AG2R La Mondiale

Main target: Podium for Bardet.

AG2R La Mondiale for the Tour de France: Romain Bardet, Jan Bakelants, Mikaël Chérel, Cyril Gautier, Alexis Gougeard, Domenico Pozzovivo, Alexis Vuillermoz, Samuel Dumoulin and Ben Gastauer. Bardet is the team’s sole leader at the Tour de France this year but with riders such as Alexis Vuillermoz and Jan Bakelants looking for victory on the more hilly stages from a reduced bunch or solo attacks. A good finish for AG2R La Mondiale would be a top 5 finish for Bardet and a stage victory.

Star Man: Romain Bardet 

The full team is built around protecting the young french rider through the 103rd Tour. Bardet can mix it with the best climbers in the world and with the amount of climbing in this years tour Bardet should excel. He is not yet able to compete with the Froome, Quintana and Contador trio, but if for whatever reason one of the big three don’t make it too Paris, Bardet will be hopeful to join the remaining riders on the podium. His main battle will be with Thibaut Pinot to be the highest ranking french GC rider.

One to watch: Alexis Vuillermoz

Vuillermoz showed that he is coming into good form by finishing third behind Arthur Vichot and Tony Gallopin in the the French national championships. A former stage winner on Mûr-de-bretagne in 2015, Vuillermoz will look for a similar stage profile to launch a solo attack in the later stages of a stage to steal a victory for AG2R. He will also be a excellent ally to Bardet throughout the tour, expect to see him make the break in a few of the later stages, condition permitting. 

Money where your mouth is:

Bardet to podium @ 8/1 (or the safe bet Bardet to finish Top 10 @ 2/5)

Astana - Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru-Tour de France

Astana – Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru

Astana Pro Team

Main target: Podium for Aru.

Astana Pro Team for 2016 Tour de France: Fabio Aru, Vincenzo Nibali, Jakob Fuglsang, Tanel Kangert, Alexey Lutsenko, Luis Leon Sanchez, Diego Rosa, Andriy Grivko and Paolo Tiralongo. Astana could provide of of the more interesting stories throughout this years Tour. Although continues press releases from the team, directs and riders from Astana to stress that Nibali is at this years tour as a support to Fabio Aru, it does little to quell the general concension that Nibali could be lookign for a famous Giro – Tour double in 2017. This years tour plan suites Nibli down to the ground, although Aru should in last years Vuelta he can mix it up with the big three (Froome, Contador and Quintana), he has not carried the best form into this years Tour. The team is a strong climbing team with Grivko looking out for Aru on the flats, Lutsenko and Sanchez on domestique duties through the medium mountain terrain and Fuglsang, Kangert, Rosa, Tiralongo and Nibali to protect Aru in the mountains.

Star Man: Fabio Aru

Nibali permitting, the Aru of the 2016 Vuelta has a great chance of breaking the big 3, and being on the podium in Paris. Although 2016 hasn’t showcased Aru’s best form and with the possibility of Nibali over his shoulder, we could see a panicked ride from Aru in the first few mountain stages. With the full support of his team and on from Aru really could shock the bigger teams.

One to watch: Vincenzo Nibali

‘The Shark’ without his regular lutenants would Nibali dare to pull off a Astana coup. With his main goals of the seasons being the Giro and the Olympics, Nibali seemingly doesn’t require the co-operation of his team mates in the future (with his upcoming move at the end of the season). As previously mentioned the tour is taylor made for Nibali with uphill time trials, lots of climbing and more importantly descending, any show of weakness from Aru could spark an internal battle.

Money where your mouth is:

Predict a Revolution!! (of a crash) Nibali to podium @ 9/1

BMC

BMC Racing Team

Main target: Podium for Porte or Tejay.

BMC team for 2016 Tour de France: Brent Bookwalter, Marcus Burghardt, Damiano Caruso, Rohan Dennis, Amaël Moinard, Richie Porte, Michael Schär, Greg Van Avermaet, Tejay van Garderen. Porte has the advantage over Van Garderen in the terms of his Time Trailing abilities, but both climbers are quiet equally matched.  Porte has shown promise in Grand Tours and has  belief in his ability to compete with the bests, hence his decision to leave Team Sky. both riders have never proven themselves over a three week period, although both formidable stage racers.

Star Man: Richie Porte.

Richie Porte realistically has the best chance to topple Sky’s dominance of the grandest grand tour. Having been an integral part to the Team Sky machine for a number of years he will understand the majority of riders and tactics Sky have in their arsenal. BMC have the added advantage of there dual headed attack, which as Movistar almost used to their success in 2015 with Quintana and Valverde.

One to watch: Greg Van Avermaet.

Peter Sagan is very much the man to beat in the mini one day classic stages in this years tour. GVA has beaten Sagan twice this year in similar style races (Omloop Het Nieuwsblod and Tirreno-Adriatico). Although since march, he hasn’t really showed the form again. The BMC team is heavily built around Porte and Van Garderen. GVA should get his chance in the medium mountainous stages and will hope to recreate a similar style victory as he did last year on stage 13 in Rodez.

Money where your mouth is:

each way Richie Porte for King of the Mountains @ 100/1, playing out for top 4 places at 1/4.  Richie Porte to finish above Alberto Contador @ 3/1

Etixx

Etixx – Quick Step

Main target: stage wins.

Etixx – Quickstep team for 2016 Tour de France: Julian Alaphilippe, Iljo Keisse, Marcel Kittel, Daniel Martin, Tony Martin, Maximiliano Richeze, Fabio Sabatini, Petr Vakoc, Julien Vermote. Etixx will be looking for as many stage victories as possible in this years Tour. The german superstar Marcel Kittel has a formidable lead out, with Keisse, Tony Martin, Richeze, Sabatini and Vermote all tasked with the task of propelling Kittel into the best position possible on the flat stages. While Alaphilippe, Dan Martin and Vakoc will challenge on the harder terrain and mountains. Alaphilippe is one of the most exciting riders in the peloton, with many people looking to see what kind of rider he could develop into, could this be the year he evolves from a promising prospect to a french cycling superstar.

Star Man: Marcel Kittel.

As well as the Froome v Quintana v Contador battle in the mountains. The war on the flat roads could be just as enthralling. As many predict another year were Peter Sagan will dominate the points classification, he will be up against it when it comes to stage victories on the flat roads of France. With Mark Cavendish’s focus on the olympics and dip in form in the last year. Kittel and Greipel will be once again be the two dominate forces on the flats. Kittel has reignited his career at Etixx and has had a 2016 to remember. I would be backing Kittel for another victory on Champs-Élysées in 2016.

One(s) to watch: the Martin’s (Tony & Dan)

Dan Martin will be on a solo mission for stage victories in the mountains at this years Tour. He will also look for the Ardenne style stage profiles. He showed his great condition in the Dauphiné, i would predict at least one stage win for the Irishman. His German namesake on the over hand is in a transitional period of his career, the once dominant time trialist has seen his reign slip in the last 12 months. With talk of him looking at re-focussing and becoming a more specialist classics rider on the cards. This could be his last chance to grab another TT stage victory. Although the hilly stage profiles of both the TT’s do not help Martin’s chances.

Money where your mouth is:

Dan Martin to finish above Adam Yates @ 2/5 . Marcel Kittel to win stage one @ 5/4 or an each way bet for Dan Martin to win stage 12 (Montpellier › Mont Ventoux) @ 50/1.

FDJR

FDJ

Main target: Podium for Pinot.

FDJ for the Tour de France: Thibaut Pinot, Steve Morabito, Sebastien Reichenbach, Cedric Pineau, William Bonnet, Matthieu Ladagnous , Arthur Vichot, Anthony Roux, Jeremy Roy. FDJ are looking to replicate Pinot’s 2014 Tour de France performance.  The Team is built around Pinot and with no Milan-Sanremo winner Arnaud DeMaré in the 9 rider roster for this years Tour de France, the french outfit are ready to put everything into Pinot’s abilities.

Star Man: Thibaut Pinot.

Thibaut Pinot bares the responsibility of the french public and media. Although unlike other riders in recent history he has had the chance to share the responsibility with other riders (Romain Bardet for example). Pinot in recent years has massively increased his potential into a genuine GC threat, with his climbing and time trailing abilities being noted during several years throughout the last 24 months.

One to watch: Sebastien Reichenbach

The Swiss rider will be a key allies to Pinot, but could also find himself in a break away or two.

Money where your mouth is:

Pinot to finish on the podium @ 7/2

IAM

IAM Cycling

Main target: A Contract

IAM Cycling team for the Tour de France: Stef Clement, Jerome Coppel, Leigh Howard,  Martin Elmiger, Mathias Frank, Reto Hollenstein, Sondre Holst Enger, Oliver Naesen, Jarlinson Pantano.  IAM Cycling will seece to exist in 2017. So many of the riders will try to get themselves in the shop window, expect IAM riders to endevour to make breaks and try late solo attacks. One rider in particular to watch is Jarlison Pantano,  the Colombian is a break away specialist who can manage the big climbs.

Star Man: Matthias Frank

Frank is one of the IAM Cycling you would imagine to secure a World Tour contract for 2017. In this year’s Tour de France, Frank will look for a strong overall standing.

One to watch: Jarlison Pantano.

The Colombian is a break away specialist much like countrymen Darwin Atapuma of BMC (not at this years Tour). Pantano will look to be up KOM points plus the possibility of a break away stage victory in the mountains.

Money where your mouth is:

Pantano for the King of the mountain classification @ 33/1

lampre

Lampre – Merida

Main target: Top 10 GC finish.

Lampre Merida team for the Tour de France: Yukiya Arashiro, Matteo Bono, Davide Cimolai, Rui Costa, Kristijan Durasek, Tsgabo Grmay, Louis Meintjes, Luka Pibernik, Jan Polanc. I cant really make out Lampre’s team this year. Will they just be looking for breaks or will the team be there to support Meintjes.

Star Man: Louis Meintjes

The young South African will look to build on his experience, and will use the Tour to build on that.  He will be up against Barguil and Yates for the Young rider classification.

One to watch: Jan Polanc.

The Slovenian will be one of many Lampre riders to look to catch the correct break.

Money where your mouth is:

Louis Meintjes for Young rider classification @ 5/1

Lotto-soudal

Lotto Soudal

Main target: stage wins.

Lotto Soudal for the Tour de France: Lars Bak, Thomas De Gendt, Jens Debusschere, Tony Gallopin, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg. Greipel will look to prove to his younger german counterpart that he will not relinquish his title of Germanys best sprinter just yet. This tour could act as Greipel vs Kittel battle for who gets to be the chosen sprinter at this years World Championships for Germany. The team is made up of the usual Lotto lead out train, including Adam Hansen (can we have a grand tour without him?). The team also allow Thomas De Gendt and Tony Gallopin to join the breaks and look for stage victories. Lotto Soudal could be looking at claiming 3-4 stages in this years Tour.

Star Man: Andre Greipel

Greipel will look for stage victories. With his formidable Lotto Soudal train to support him, it looks all set to become the battle of the lead outs between Etixx and the Lotto Soudal boys. As like Kittel, Greipel will look to use this to lay stake to his claim for the spearhead of the German national team in the World championships.

One to watch: Thomas De Gendt.

De Gendt will look to support Greipel and his team mates as usual, the domestique will never relinquish his duties but will also not pass up the opportunity to make the break. The Belgian is excellent at riding in a small breakaway/Solo and over the last few years, he has cut a common figure in World Tour races out front alone.

Money where your mouth is:

Andre Greipel to win over 1.5 stages @11/10 and Andre Greipel to win stage one @ 10/3.

movistar

Movistar Team

Main target: Overall victory.

Movistar team for the Tour de France: Nairo Quintana, Winner Anacona, Imanol Erviti, Jesus Herrada, Gorka Izaguirre, Ion Izaguirre, Daniel Moreno, Nelson Oliveira, Alejandro Valverde. Along with Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana is the favourite for this years Tour do France. He has a very strong team build around him with Valverde again in there to break up opposition teams tactics. This years Tour is perfect for Quintana with very little few “classic” style stages and lots of Climbing. The Colombian has also improved his time trailing ability in the last year, and with both the TT’s this year are not for the specialists time trialists with small elements of climbing in both TT’s.

Star Man: Nairo Quintana

This could be Quintana’s year. The Tour looks to favour the little Colombian, with plenty of climbing and relatively predictable flat stages. Expect Movistar to be at the front on the uphill sprint finishes, possibly releasing Moreno or Valverede to contest but keeping the majority of the team to support Quintana and control any time gaps. As previosuly mentioned his TT abilities are now up there with some of the other GC contenders so do not expect Nairo to drop much if any time on his rivals in the TT’s. I believe Quintana is the best GC rider at the tour this year but with the team Froome has to support him, it could go right down to stage 20.

One to watch: Alejandro Valverede.

Evergreen Alejandro has just finished competing at the Giro so we will have to see if his legs can still hold up in the later stages of this years Tour. If he can manage to last and compete, Valvered could be a invaluable assets to Quintana against Team Sky.

Money where your mouth is:

Movistar to win the team classification @ 10/3

orica

Orica GreenEDGE

Main target: Stage wins.

OricaGreen EDGE for the Tour de France: Michael Albasini, Luke Durbridge, Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Daryl Impey, Christopher Juul-Jensen, Michael Matthews, Ruben Plaza, Adam Yates. The team seemingly has no leader. Albasini will look for breaks an Ardenne style stage profiles as will Spaniard Ruben Plaza. Gerrans and Matthews are very similar riders so it will be interesting to see what rider gets the nod ( seeming with Matthews moving at the end of the year, Gerrans will be the preferred rider). There is also Adam Yates, the young Britain will be looking at again using this as a experience building exercise.

Star Man: N/A

There is no main designated rider for Orica this year. Albasini, Gerrans, Matthews, Plaza and Yates will all be given license to roam. Don’t rule out Durbidge, Paris-Roubaix winner Hayman, Impey and Juul-Jensen to infiltrate a break.

One to watch: Ruben Plaza.

The former Lampre-Merida rider is a contender for the King of the mountain classification. This years King of the Mountains competition is unlikely to go to one of the GC riders like last year. And Ruben Plaza has all the attributes to in in role position to take the polka dot jersey.

Money where your mouth is:

Ruben Plaza to be the King of the mountain @ 50/1 or Luke Durbridge to finish bottom (Laterne Rouge) @ 16/1

cannondale

Cannondale Pro Cycling Team

Main target: Top 10 GC finish and stage wins.

Cannondale Pro Cycling Team for the Tour de France: Matti Breschel, Lawson Craddock, Alex Howes, Kristijan Koren, Sebastian Langeveld, Ramunas Navardauskas, Pierre Rolland, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Dylan Van Baarle. Pierre Rolland will look for a Top 10 finish and possibly be the best placed French rider. The team is full of riders who could catch the right break and steal a stage victory.

Star Man: Pierre Rolland

Pierre Rolland is in his first season with Cannondale Pro Cycling and looking to make an impression. Another french rider, Rolland may not have the media pressure of Bardet, Pinot and even Barguil.

One to watch: Matti Breschel.

Breschel has had a quite season, but could he see the 31 year old Dane, look to take a solo victory on one of the more fitting stages.

Money where your mouth is:

Best placed French rider to be Pierre Rolland @ 5/1

giant

Team Giant – Alpecin

Main target: Young rider classification with Barguil and stage wins.

Giant Alpecin team for the Tour de France: Warren Barguil, Roy Curvers, Laurens Ten Dam, John Degenkolb, Tom Dumoulin, Simon Geschke, Georg Preidler, Ramon Sinkeldam, Albert Timmer. The team is set up for Degenkolb, although due to his season only just starting, we cannot expect John Degenkolb to be up there in there in all of the sprints. I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes one of the uphill sprints at this years Tour do France. Barguil and Dumoulin will be looking at the mountains, with the former still testign the water to see if he can become a serious GC contender. Warren Barguil will be looking to head the White jersey competition, while building on his experience of racing the Tour.

Star Man: John Degenkolb

Poor John Degenkolb found himself on the wrong end of a training collision. Will we ever see the form which took him to Paris-Roubaix and Milan-sanremo. He may have to put his long term health above his career.

One to watch: Georg Preidler.

The Austrian had a good Giro. Showing some climbing promise, the 26 year old may be able to help Dumoulin and Barguil with the help of the experienced Laurens Ten Dam.

Money where your mouth is:

Warren Barguil to win the Young rider classification @ 6/5

katusha

Team Katusha

Main target: Top 10 GC finish with Rodriguez, stage wins with Kristoff.

Katusha team for the Tour de France: Jacopo Guarnieri, Marco Haller, Alexander Kristoff, Alberto Losada, Michael Mørkøv, Joaquim Rodriguez, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Angel Vicioso, Ilnur Zakarin. A strong line up for Katusha at this years Tour de France is spearheaded by Spaniard Rodgriguez in the mountains and Kristoff on the flat stages. I will also be keeping an eye on the young Russian rider Ilnur Zakarin, there is no question of his talent, although he will never be a fan favourite due to his past. If he finds form it will be interested to see how he gets on, if he lasts the three weeks.

Star Man: Alexander Kristoff

The only man who could possibly break the Kittel / grepiel strangle hold of the sprinting ranks of the World Tour. Kristoff has his trusted lieutenants (Guarnieri and co) to help him mount the charge against the Etixx and Lotto lead out trains.

One to watch: Ilnur Zakarin.

I will be keeping an eye on the young Russian rider Ilnur Zakarin, there is no question of his talent, although he will never be a fan favourite due to his past. If he finds form it will be interested to see how he gets on, if he lasts the three weeks.

Money where your mouth is:

Joaquim Rodgriquez to win over 0.5 stages @ 6/4

lottoNL

Team LottoNL – Jumbo

Main target: Top 10 GC finish.

LottoNL-Jumbo team for the Tour de France: George Bennett, Dylan Groenewegen, Wilco Kelderman, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Paul Martens, Timo Roosen, Sep Vanmarcke, Robert Wagner, Maarten Wynants. The team was originally set up to support Robert Gesink, until he was ruled out due to injury. The responsibility now falls on Wilco Kedlerman, to impress. The LottoNL – Jumbo squad must be inspired by how well their colleague Steven Kruijswik performed at the Giro, where he was so unlucky to miss out of the GC. Dylan Groenewegen has had an amazing first year at World Tour level, he will also look to fight for position and podium spots on the tours numerous flat stages.

Star Man: Wilco Kelderman

The Dutchman, has inherited to the leadership from injured Robert Gesink. The Lotto NL Jumbo squad are seemingly building for the future and Kelderman could be Grand Tour future winner.

One to watch: Dylan Groenwegen.

Dylan Groenewegen has had an amazing first year at World Tour level, he will also look to fight for position and podium spots on the tours numerous flat stages.

Money where your mouth is:

Wilco Kelderman to win the Young rider classification @ 6/1

sky

Team Sky

Main target: Overall victory.

Sky’s team for the Tour de France: Chris Froome, Sergio Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Mikel Landa, Mikel Nieve, Wout Poels, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas. Froomey is favourite for the 103rd Tour de France, and Sky have a team jam packed with talent to support him. You could argue Sky has 4 GC riders in its nine man roster. British duo Rowe and Stannard will be tasked with looking after Froome on the flat stages, expect to see Kiryienka taking huge turns to bring back threatening attacks plus targettign the TT stages in his rainbow jersey. Then the formidable line up of Henao, Thomas, Landa, Nieve and Liege-Baston-Liege winner Poels to aid Froome up this years climbs.

Star Man: Chris Froome

I think Chris Froome goes into the race as favourite. Although i believe this is a representation of his team roster. Quintana is seemingly the strongest climber and his TT improvements mean Froome no longer has the advantage he once did. Although Sky’s team is far stronger than Movistar.

One to watch: Sergio Henao.

After the Colombian was ruled out of supporting Landa at the Giro, due to irregular blood reports which came back clear, but unfortunately for Henao the results back in time to allow him to race. Sergio may be given a more free role compared to the other Team Sky climbing domestiques. Henao could be used in a similar way which Valverde was deployed last year for Movistar.

Money where your mouth is:

Chris Froome to win the Tour de France @ 6/4

tinkoff

Tinkoff

Main target: Overall victory with Contador and Green jersey with Sagan.

Tinkoff team for the Tour de France: Alberto Contador , Maciej Bodnar, Oscar Gatto, Robert Kiserlovski, Roman Kreuziger, Rafal Majka, Peter Sagan, Matteo Tosatto, Michael Valgren. “Bertie” will be looking for his 3rd Tour de France title. Although it looks he will have difficulty breaking down Quintana and Froome. I predict 3rd or 4th place for Contador. The Tinkoff team is also home to Peter Sagan, baring crashing out he will win the Green Jersey, but will he get a stage victory of two to go with it. Sagan has dominated the classics this year and can he take his form into this years Tour de France.

Star Man: Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan, baring crashing out, will win the Green Jersey, but will he get a stage victory of two to go with it. Sagan has dominated the classics this year and can he take his form into this years Tour de France. Its a formality now to see Sagan in green.

One to watch: Rafal Majka.

The pole is a former KOM winner at the Tour, although his form has never really propelled from there. He may be in full support of Bertie, but may also be allowed to attack on the climbs.

Money where your mouth is:

Peter Sagan to win the Green jersey @4/7 and Peter Sagan to wear the Yellow jersey @ 11/1

trek

Trek – Segafredo

Main target: Top 10 GC finish.

Trek – Segafredo team for the Tour de France: Fabian Cancellara, Markel Irizar, Bauke Mollema, Gregory Rast, Frank Schleck, Peter Stetina, Jasper Stuyven, Edward Theuns, Haimar Zubeldia. This years tour will be the last of the “Spartacus”. Fabian Cancellara’s last Tour de France should be a celebration. expect him to get in one or two breaks and enjoy the fans appreciation. Could a late attack on the Champs-Élysées be out of the question ? The team will also work for Mollema for a good standing in the GC standing.

Star Man: Bauke Mollema

The Dutchman is an impressive and more importantly consistent rider. He will have plenty support in the trek team to go and claim a strong GC positioning.

One to watch: Fabian Cancellara.

This years tour will be the last of the “Spartacus”. Fabian Cancellara’s last Tour de France should be a celebration. expect him to get in one or two breaks and enjoy the fans appreciation. Unfortunately this years TT’s may not be as suited to Cancellara as he hoped. We will see how the legend fairs.

Money where your mouth is:

Bauke Mollema to finish at the top 10 @ 4/7

dimension

Dimension Data

Main target: Stage wins.

Dimension Data team for the Tour de France: Mark Cavendish, Natnael Berhane, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Steve Cummings, Bernhard Eisel, Serge Pauwels, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Mark Renshaw, Daniel Teklehaimanot. The team will be lead by the “Manx missile” Mark Cavendish. Cav has lost ground of Greipel and Kittel in the last year or two, which could be down to him having one eye on the Rio Olympics. Nether the less, he cannot be discounted. The team also includes many riders you can expect to make up many of the breaks in this years Tour de France. Steve Cummings will also look to replicate his smash and grab stage win on Mandela day at last years edition of the race.

Star Man: Mark Cavendish

Cav will be looking to take Stage victories at this years Tour and hopefully a gold medal from the Rio Olympics. The question is, can Cav still compete with Greipel, Kittel and Kristoff. I think every British cycling fan hopes so.

One to watch: Steve Cummings.

Steve Cummings late mountain attacks have become a trademark. He way also look for a good finish in the time trial stages this year.

Money where your mouth is:

Daniel Teklehaimanot to win the first intermediate sprint on stage one @ 45/1

confidis

Cofidis, Solutions Crédits

Main target: stage wins.

Cofidis, Solutions Crédits team for the Tour de France: Nicolas Edet, Borut Bozic, Jerome Cousin, Christophe Laporte, Cyril Lemoine, Arnold Jeanesson, Luis Angel Mate, Daniel Navarro, Geoffrey Soupe. With Bouhanni being a late omission due to a “punching a drunk” the team has lost their main tactically ploy. They will work for Soupé on the flats but he will not be able to compete with the World Tour sprinting superstars. Instead the team will look towards Nicolas Edet (Nacer Bouhanni’s replacement), Arnold Jeanesson and Daniel Navarro for solo victories.

Star Man: Daniel Navarro.

Daniel Navarro will look to climb his way into the Top 20, while he may also aim to for KOM points. With Bouhanni not at this years Tour de France, Navarro may get a little more support. Especially with Edet coming in to replace Bouhanni.

One to watch: Nicolas Edet.

A late replacement for Bouhanni, Edet will look to make the breaks and support Navarro in the mountains.

Money where your mouth is:

Nicolas Edet KOM classification @66/1 or Arnold Jeanesson to take the KOM classification @ 200/1

fvc

Fortuneo – Vital Concept

Main target: Top 20 GC finish.

Fortuneo-Vital Concept team for the Tour de France: Vegard Breen, Anthony Delaplace , Brice Feillu, Armindo Fonseca, Daniel McLay, Pierre-Luc Perichon, Eduardo Sepúlveda, Chris-Anker Sorensen, Florian Vachon. I predict Pierre-Luc Perichon to be the breakaway rider of the first week, as he was in last years Tour de France. The team will try to catch every break possible with the overall goal for team Fortuneo-Vital concept being a top 20 GC finish for their young Argentinian rider Eduardo Sepulveda.

Star Man: Eduardo Sepulveda

The Argentinian is a impressive young rider. He has great climbing abilities and we will one day possible see him take victories in prestigious stage races.

One to watch: Jean-Luc Perichon.

Perichon endeavoured to make every single break possible in the first week of last years tour and i expect him and Dimension Data’s Daniel Teklehaimanot to try and get as many points in the KOM points as possible to take the polka dot jersey before the serious climbing kicks off.

Money where your mouth is:

Jean-Luc Perichon to win the first intermediate sprint on stage one @25/1

direct

Direct Energie

Main target: stage wins.

Direct Energie team for the Tour de France: Sylvain Chavanel, Bryan Coquard, Antoine Duchesne, Yohann Gene, Fabrice Jeandesboz, Adrien Petit, Angelo Tulik, Romain Sicard, Thomas Voeckler. With Coquard, Chavanel and Voeckler the french team will be looking for a french victory on home soil. Coquard will be pushing for the flat stage victories while Voeckler will look for late attacking options and break away victories later on in the Tour.

Star Man: Bryan Coquard

I’ve been really impressed with Bryan Coquard since his debut. My favourite french sprinter (over DeMare and Bouhanni). He came to the cycling world while in the Green of Europcar, he has rode with the majority of the Direct Energie team for a number of years. Which could be to his advantage in a fast finish on the roads of France this summer.

One to watch: Thomas Voeckler.

Voeckler will be a reliable source of entertainment as usual. Expect late attacks, break aways and down right madness from everyones favourite Frenchman.

Money where your mouth is:

Thomas Voeckler to wear the Yellow jersey @ 25/1

bora

Bora-Argon 18

Main target: stage win.

Bora-Argon 18 team for the Tour de France: Shane Archbold, Jan Barta, Cesare Benedetti, Sam Bennett, Emanuel Buchmann, Bartosz Huzarski, Patrick Konrad, Andreas Schillinger, Paul Voss. Bora Argon 18 will line up behind Irishman Sam Bennett on the flat stages but encourage riders like Barta, Bendetti, Buchmann, Huzarski, Konrad and Voss to try and catch as many breaks as possible. With rumours of Bora looking to take a World Tour place next year, this years Tour de France could be a great platform to launch there bid. Realistically a stage win for Bennett against Greipel and Kittel is unlikely, although he has shown in the past he can mix it up with the World Tour’s best sprinters.

Star Man: Sam Bennett

The sprinter will be up there in a few stages although expectations must me realistic. Bennett will one day be a grand tour stage winner, The question is if this years tour is the year for him to claim his maiden grand tour victory?

One to watch: Patrick Konrad.

The Austrian rider will be looking to increase his profile and experience in racing the Tour de France. A decent climber, who can leave a little explosion for a fast finish may look for victory in a reduced bunch sprint or go for a long solo attack.

Money where your mouth is:

Sam Bennett to Finish in the Top 10 of the Stage 1 @ 6/4

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