Tour de France 2016 preview: The contenders (video)

We take a look at who could be in line for a shot at the yellow jersey at the 2016 Tour de France
Playlist 19 Videos Tour de France 2016 preview: The contenders (video) 02:59 Watch: Tom Dumoulin relives his emotional final day Giro d'Italia victory 08:20 Pro bike: Alberto Contador's Trek Émonda SLR (video) 02:02 Pro bike: Chris Froome's Pinarello Dogma F10 (video) 03:05 Watch: Vuelta a España stage 13 highlights 02:32 Watch: Chris Froome picks out his main rivals for Vuelta a España victory (video) 06:57 Pro bikes: Nairo Quintana's Canyon Ultimate CF SLX (video) 03:03 Pro bike: Chris Froome's Pinarello Bolide time trial bike 01:38 How do Team Sky fuel for the Tour de France? 05:29 Chris Froome: 'This year's Tour de France route doesn't suit me, but that will make it more exciting' (video) 03:30 Chris Froome: How I won the Tour de France (video) 03:42 Chris Froome and Adam Yates preview the Olympic road race (video) 02:20 Watch: Olympic road race and time trial preview 02:48 Chris Froome: Where it all began (video) 03:02 Watch: Alberto Contador's Tour de France stage two crash caught on camera (video) 03:27 Tour de France bikes: Chris Froome's Pinarello Dogma F8 (video) 01:33 Watch: Behind the scenes as Chris Froome prepares for Tour de France defence 03:27 Watch: Highlights of the Critérium du Dauphiné stage seven 04:58 Watch: Highlights of the Critérium du Dauphiné stage six 04:22

Every year we say it, but every year it seems to be the same; this could be one of the closest editions of the Tour de France yet.

While Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) may have been one of the only big names to ride at the Giro d’Italia earlier this year, the others will all be lining up at the start in Mont-Saint-Michel on July 2 for a chance at taking glory in Paris three weeks later.

>>> Tour de France 2016: Key info, route, contenders

Chris Froome (Team Sky) returns to defend his 2015 title and take a third career victory, with the Brit riding alongside a particularly strong team of climbing talent this year.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) will be hoping to go one better than his second place finishes behind Froome in 2013 and 2015, with the Colombian climber looking stronger than ever this year with his full focus on the Tour.

Likewise for Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), who came into last year’s race with the fatigue of the Giro victory in his legs and looked somewhat off the pace. While he didn’t quite do himself justice at the Critérium du Dauphiné, won by Froome, the Spaniard is still a formidable contender for victory, which would be the third of his career.

If those three are the stand out picks, they’ll need to have one eye on the outsiders in the race, who’ll be looking to cause an upset to proceedings.

The dual leadership of Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen could make for a powerful pairing at BMC, with both showing decent form in their respective warm-up races.

The same goes for French pair Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who went head-to-head at the Alps of the Dauphiné in June. Both will have one common goal though; to bring around a French winner of the Tour for the first time since Bernard Hinault won his fifth title in 1985.