Tour de France 2017

This opening stage will give time trial specialists with no overall aspirations the chance to pull on the yellow jersey, and will also set a benchmark for which GC contenders appear to have the best legs.

Defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) is an accomplished time triallist, so the opening TT will be a chance for him to put some early time into the likes of Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

Chris Froome is an accomplished time triallist, good news for stage one of the 2017 Tour de France

However, anyone wishing to wear yellow into Paris three weeks later will be reluctant to take the overall lead this early on.

Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) was the stand-out performer in 2016 with his fourth place overall and victory in the young rider classification. Expected to line-up next to his twin brother Simon in 2017, the duo should be able to push bigger name GC riders for a podium place.

Alberto Contador put off his expected retirement to have one last crack at victory in the Tour de France, and after being forced out of the 2016 edition due to crashes and illness, he’ll be hungrier than ever for one last win to put him on the top step at a Grand Tour.

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The route looks less mountainous than 2016, which could further suit Froome, but his victory is never assured until he’s put significant daylight between himself and his rivals.

A tactical howler from Team Sky at the 2016 Vuelta a España saw the British rider lose more time to Quintana on one stage than he lost by in total by the end of the race.

The organisers have been open about the fact that the 2017 Tour de France route has been designed to encourage attacking racing, which was lacking in 2016 – with the exception of Romain Bardet’s (ag2r La Mondiale) brilliant ride in the final week to take second overall.

Romain Bardet riding to victory on stage 19 of the 2016 Tour de France. Photo: Graham Watson

In news that will please spectators more than commentators, each and every one of the Tour de France’s 21 stages will be shown live from start to finish in 2017.

For the first time since it launched in 2014, La Course by Le Tour de France will be held away from the Champs-Élysées in Paris. The women’s peloton will ride part of the men’s stage 18, which is also where L’Étape du Tour sportive will take place.

The women’s race will not reach the same summit as the men’s race or the amateur sportive, which has led to criticism from some fans.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) won his third Tour de France title in Paris, riding through the final stage and onto the podium on the Champs Élysées.

Froome finished the race four minutes and five second ahead of second-placed Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), and 4-21 ahead of third-placed Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

Chris Froome, Romain Bardet and Nairo Quintana on the Tour de France podium (Sunada)

British rider Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) topped off a breakthrough Grand Tour performance with the white jersey of best young rider and fourth place overall.

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) topped the points classification, with team-mate Rafal Majka in the polka-dot jersey of the King of the Mountains.

André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) took his second consecutive victory on the Champ Élysées to take his sole stage win in the Tour. He sprinted ahead of Sagan, with Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) in third.

The 2016 Grand Départ saw the riders leave from the picturesque Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy on July 2, with a stage finishing in Utah Beach to commemorate the D-Day landings. The stage was won by Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), and would prove to be the first of four stage victories. Cavendish would also wear the coveted maillot jaune of race leader for the first time in his career.

The race headed south from Normandy, eventually arriving in the Pyrenees and onto Andorra for the race’s first high mountain stages. On stage eight, Froome launched a daring downhill attack, distancing all of his rivals to take the race lead. The yellow jersey would then stay with him through the remainder of the race, as it headed east through the Alps.

1. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky in 86-21-40
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale at 4-05
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 4-21
4. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange at 4-42
5. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC at 5-17
6. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar at 6-16
7. Joaquim Rodriguez (Esp) Katusha at 6-58
8. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre-Merida at 6-58
9. Dan Martin (Irl) Etixx-Quick Step at 7-04
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff at 7-11