Tour de France: i-Team chief delivers his verdict

Mark Cavendish was second in the national road race as he put down a marker for the Tour de France

Mark Cavendish was second in the national road race as he put down a marker for the Tour de France

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i-Team founder Guy Watson looks ahead to the 2015 Tour de France...

I’ve got a small wager on Nairo Quintana winning the Tour this year, so I’m backing him to carry off the maillot jaune.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really looking forward to the fantastic four slugging it out over the next three weeks.

With Quintana, Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali going head to head, it promises to be one of the most open Tours since the 1980s.

But I reckon the little Colombian will have the beating of his three rivals.

Quintana is the purest climber of them all and, with very little time trialling in this year’s Tour, it is an ideal parcours for him.

I reckon the little Colombian will have the beating of his three rivals

Guy Watson

After pushing Froome close in 2013, he won the Giro d’Italia last season – as his Movistar team chose to back Alejandro Valverde for the Tour.

Both men will be on the start line tomorrow but Quintana will lead the Spanish team.

And I can see him producing the goods in a decisive showdown on Alpe d’Huez in the penultimate stage.

I reckon at least one of the quartet will have had their hopes dashed by then.

Fingers crossed none of them crash out of the race like Froome and Contador last year, though.

The changes they have made to the sprint competition are intriguing.

The points are more biased towards stage winners now.

I think that is the right move and it is a real boost for Mark Cavendish.

Peter Sagan has had it his own way the past couple of seasons because he climbs better than his rivals and scoops up more points in intermediate stages.

But this time around we could see Cav in the green jersey on the Champs-Élysées. Let’s hope so!

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