Froome is playing mind games with me: Porte

Posted July 01, 2017

The three-week, 21-stage race starts in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Saturday.

"I'm sure he will be at a great level in the Tour", he said.

Porte used to be a teammate of Froome's and helped him win the 2013 and 2015 Tours before moving to BMC, with whom he has just signed a contract extension. "The size of the tour, with 10,000 people moving every day-the cyclists, the teams, journalists, officials-going from point A to point B through the stages".

The upshot of this was that Froome and Sky have begun labelling Porte with "the favourite to win the Tour label", but the Australian, showing he is wise to such mind-games, calmly batted that idea back earlier this week.

The hope is that an experimental route, with barely any time-trialling and only two pure mountain-top finishes, will result in less controlled racing, but the opposite could be true, with the favourites biding their time for the obvious key moments: the road to Chambéry, Peyragudes, Galibier and the Izoard. France have not had a victor of the Tour de France since Hinault in 1985, 32 years ago.

"The main goal is to support Richie and get him in yellow and he has the capability to do it", the Belgian said.

"Cycling is very hard and I would prefer to win each race but I understand than this is a better approach".

The Tour lasts for three weeks.

Froome is race shy - prior to the Dauphine this season he had had just 19 days in the saddle competitively - but at Team Sky, where everything is tweaked to within an inch of its life, there is method to this potential madness.

Storms to begin, end your Thursday
Strong to severe storms are forecast to redevelop to our west and spread into our area this evening/overnight. Not too surprising, given the high levels of instability and moderate wind shear that will be moving in.

Time for another Yates to shine?

What he's done in the last few years, going from the track, going to the Classics and now focusing more on stage racing, it's fantastic to see how he has evolved and he can literally now do anything he wants. I think the route really suits a rider like Bardet, and he showed previous year that he has to be taken seriously. I can't just rely on what I did the year before. I think we've got the right team and I'm ready as well to do my best.

As one of the riders to have won all of the Grand Tours, there can be no doubting Alberto Contador has the experience and the talent to take out a third Tour de France.

Is Cavendish fit enough?

But Cavendish, who missed three months this year through glandular fever caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, admits he may not be at peak fitness.

“To me, each Tour tells a different story.

Alongside the jersey wearers, the podium ceremony also features the rider voted most aggressive of the day (excluding the final stage and any time trial stages).

"Even when these young guys were coming through and were beating me here and there, I always knew I was still the best", he said.