Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) – winner of the points classification in 2011 – will be looking to win the first stage of the Tour de France for the first time in his career on July 2.
It’s probably fair to say, the opening yellow jersey is probably Cavendish’s main goal at this Tour de France. With the Manxman targeting Olympic gold on the track in August he may not even make it to Paris to challenge for the green jersey.
Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quick Step), the man who bookended both the 2013 and 2014 Tours with stage victories, is back to his best after a dreadful 2015 and looks to be the man to beat for stage wins this year.
In his absence, fellow German Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) cleaned up with four stage wins last year and reasserted himself as one of the fastest men in the world. Victory in the German National Championships, where he finished ahead of Kittel, will send him into the Tour with great hopes of winning more stages.
Then there’s the mercurial Sagan (Tinkoff), who should have the all-round game to win yet another green jersey. The world champion has a knack of hoovering up enough points consistently over the course of the three weeks to take an unassailable lead into Paris.
While he hasn’t won a stage at the Tour since 2013, he’s amassed almost a career’s worth of top-5 finishes to bolster his points tally.
Outside the big four riders we have the likes of Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge), John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) and Dan McLay (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) who could all challenge for stage wins over the three weeks.