The 2021 Tour de France is upon us!
The biggest bike race of the year will see the best riders battle it out for stage wins, intermediate sprints, king of the mountains points, and most importantly, the yellow jersey.
In Cycling Weekly's preview show, this year's route is poured over, with the Grand Départ in Brittany promising fireworks from the off, before a double ascent of Mont Ventoux and a climactic GC battle in the Pyrenees.
Tadej Pogačar will have the number one on his book, as UAE Team Emirates have bolstered their squad in the hopes of defending the Slovenian's yellow jersey, and is set to go up against his compatriot, Jumbo-Visma's Primož Roglič, who he beat in stunning fashion last year.
It's not just about the two Slovenians, however, as Ineos boast three Grand Tour winners in their eight-man squad. Geraint Thomas is vying for a second yellow jersey after his 2018 win, yet Richard Carapaz is looking formidable, while Richie Porte won the recent Critérium du Dauphiné and 2020 Giro d'Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart makes his Tour debut.
Movistar's Miguel Ángel López will have hopefully ironed out his time trialling problems, that cost him dearly, as two pan-flat races against the clock give this year's race a more traditional feel, the first TT being on stage five and the second closing out the general classification race on stage 20.
In between the GC action, the fast men will have their turn on the eight flat stage of the 2021 French Grand Tour.
Mark Cavendish is a late substitute for last year's green jersey winner Sam Bennett (so late that our show had already been recorded when it was sounding like Bennett would be fit to defend his points classification). Deceuninck - Quick-Step will face stiff competition in the form of not only Lotto-Soudal's Caleb Ewan and Arnaud Démare, but also the likes of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
The Van der Poel vs Van Aert battle from the spring will reconvene on French roads, going head-to-head in the battle between the Dutch and Belgian national champions.
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