In advance Bardet and Porte are Froome’s most likely rivals to thwart a fourth win in the Grande Boucle. In the last edition the French rider was the best of the rest – 4 minutes in arrears -, but the 26-year-old should be growing to his best years. Porte finished in fifth yet he is in flying form in 2017. With the exception of an echelon marked off-day, he was strong in Paris-Nice and he bested his former leader in a direct confrontation in the Tour of Romandie. It wasn’t his first win this year as he wiped the floor with his competition in the Tour Down Under as early as January.
Bardet didn’t race too much this season, nor did Froome and Chaves. All three didn’t pick up a win, yet.
Contador did not either, instead he collects second places. In Ruta del Sol, Volta a Catalunya and Tour of the Basque Country he was runner-up behind Valverde, while Sergio Henao got the better of him in Paris-Nice – albeit with merely 2 seconds.
Valverde is flying this year. The 37-year old did not only pick up wins in Ruta del Sol, Volta a Catalunya and Tour of the Basque Country, but he pocketed La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège as well. Winning La Grande Boucle would be the ultimate crown, but the likely scenario is that he will run out of steam before July. Furthermore, his last (and only) Grand Tour victory dates back to 2009 (Vuelta).
His team-mate Quintana targets both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. Winning the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Tirreno-Adriatico was a perfect kick-off for this campaign, yet it’s difficult to predict his Tour de France condition.
Favourites Tour de France 2017
***** Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Romain Bardet
**** Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana, Esteban Chaves, Ion Izagirre
*** Primoz Roglic, Alejandro Valverde, Rigoberto Uran, Rafal Majka, Simon Yates
** Bauke Mollema, Louis Meintjes, Daniel Martin, Wout Poels, Warren Barguil
* Sergio Henao, Jakob Fuglsang
Tour de France 2017: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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