Sky not the force of old, says Tour rival Porte

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He's been with the team a long time now and has a lot of experience. This year he has claimed two overall race wins and four stage triumphs, as well as second spot at the Criterium du Dauphine, making him a serious threat in the general classification.

He added that "similar agreements with authorities" have been made in Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg for stages of the race taking place in those countries.

"I think Sky's probably not as strong as it was in past years", he said.

This year's Tour will have nine flat stages, five hilly stages, five mountain stages and two time trials. "I see it like a Tour without any script". "It's a different Tour to normal so a few surprises might happen".

"I will try to do my best this year to get another one, and then next year another one, and after that maybe I'm bored", said the 27-year-old, who rides for Bora-Hansgrohe. "Of course, winning helps build confidence but I felt the Dauphine was a great step forward and I got the intensity I was missing". It's a feeling that you don't get from any other race.

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French police say they have been unable to find any witnesses, but there certainly appears to be no suggestion that the auto was a BMC team vehicle or even a Skoda.

I don't think this Tour will be won and lost on a single stage, but a combination of three weeks put together.

As the official technology partner of the Tour de France, Dimension Data will be exploring the role of predictive analytics technologies to assess the likelihood of various race scenarios at this year's competition. I know it well so that makes it doubly special for me.

Nevertheless, the Yorkshireman starts today's time-trial in Dusseldorf re-energised by his move and optimistic about the opportunities ahead. I know plenty of people in the area and it sounds like the schools and towns are all getting ready, painting bikes and dressing up the roadside. I say that because of the lack of mountain top finishes and also the lack of time trial kilometers.

The Tour has given me memories that I'll keep with me for the rest of my life.

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The Tour is a special race. Froome's third difficulty could be intensified media pressure, given the ongoing UK Anti-Doping investigation into Sky, principally concerning the suspicions surrounding Sir Bradley Wiggins' 2012 Tour de France victory.

Colombian climber Sergio Henao is enjoying the finest season of his career. In 2013, on a similar stage, the Team Sky machine suffered a brutal onslaught from their rivals, leaving Chris Froome on his own to fight the likes of Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador and ALejandro Valverde.

The race is one of the most challenging to cover but attracts significant television audiences.

Billed as potentially the toughest climbing day of this year's Tour, this day in the Jura features three "hors categorie", or above-category ascents.

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