Five to watch

CHRIS FROOME

• Team: Sky

• Best result: Winner (2013, 2015, 2016)

The Briton, 32, remains the favourite despite a poor season - his best result was fourth at the Criterium du Dauphine last month. He will still be able to count on the Sky armada but the Kenyan-born rider looks more vulnerable than ever.

NAIRO QUINTANA

• Team: Movistar

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Best result: 2nd (2013, 2015)

The Colombian, 27, is always considered a favourite but will need to be more aggressive if he is to win. In May's Giro d'Italia, he showed good form to end second despite again being conservative.

RICHIE PORTE

• Team: BMC

• Best result: 5th (2016 )

Questions have long been asked of the Australian's ability to ride consistently over three weeks despite a stellar record in one-week races. Last year, a puncture and a crash into a motorbike led to his fifth spot. The 32-year- old is in the best form of his life, having finished second at the Dauphine last month.

ROMAIN BARDET

• Team: AG2R

• Best result: 2nd (2016 )

A great climber and descender the AG2R leader is also consistent, finishing 15th, sixth, ninth and second at the Tour over the last four years. The 26-year-old Frenchman's one failing is that he has not won a major race and he is perhaps not daring or aggressive enough.

JAKOB FUGLSANG

• Team: Astana

• Best result: 7th (2013)

In four of the previous five years, the winner of the Dauphine (Bradley Wiggins once, Froome three times) has gone on to win the Tour. The 32-year-old Dane's Dauphine win this year was a surprise. It will be interesting to see how he copes as team leader.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'Five to watch'. Print Edition | Subscribe