Gareth Peters delivers his verdict on the race for the yellow jersey...
Forget the fantastic four. For me, there are just two main contenders in this year’s Tour de France: Chris Froome and Alberto Contador.
And if I was Oleg Tinkoff, the owner of Contador’s team, I would be very worried about the strength of the Team Sky line-up.
Froome is backed by a super-strong squad, with so much climbing talent.
Having said that, I have a nagging feeling Contador might edge it.
No-one will be cheering louder than me for Froome. I’d love him to win again.
But Contador is the greatest rider of his generation – a proper bike racer.
And I have a feeling he may just use all that nous to snatch it.
Vincenzo Nibali is a great rider, lovely to watch but he always has a bad day.
And I just don’t think Nairo Quintana has got it. I remember Froome riding away from him up Ventoux during the Brit’s 2013 triumph and I have a feeling he will struggle to hold the wheel again.
As for the other hopefuls, the French are desperate for a big contender.
Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot are very good but there is an awful lot of pressure on them. It’s like England playing at home in a World Cup!
First up, though, is a short time trial and I fancy the Italian Adriano Malori or even Geraint Thomas to win it.
It should be an exciting start to the opening week, which will be a big test for the Sky boys.
Stage four into Cambrai on Tuesday will be key for them. There are seven cobbled sectors – six in the final 50km – and while they are not particularly difficult, they will be a bit of a niggle.
If Sky can all start stage five fit and healthy then we have got a proper race on our hands. An epic.
I don’t think it will go right to the wire, though. I think the writing will be on the wall before they climb Alpe d’Huez on the penultimate day.
But if I’m wrong, it is going to be the greatest stage ever!
My only disappointment is the absence of German sprinter Marcel Kittel.
Myself and my daughter, Caitlin, met him in Brighton during last year’s Tour of Britain and he is a super chap.
He hasn’t got the form and was left out by Giant-Alpecin, which opens the door for Mark Cavendish.
I’m a big Cav fan and his national championship ride left me speechless.
If he holds that form, no-one will beat him in a well-delivered bunch sprint.