The 2014 Tour de France is just around the corner (it's starts on Saturday July 6th if you weren't aware). If you aren't a pro cycling wiz, or just need to freshen up on who to look out for, you will find all the information you need here.
Lets start with the riders:
1. Chris Froome (Video 2)
Sky team rider Chris Froome has had a successful career so far. He dominated the Tour last year and many feel he it is very likely he does this again. However, Froome has shown a questionable career this year leading up to the Tour de France, especially due to his questionable performance at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
If you think Froome is no match for Contador's comeback, this video (video 2...) should show you that Froome is up to the task.
2. Alberto Contador (video 3)
Team Tinkoff-Saxo is bringing Froome's toughest rider back into the limelight, Alberto Contador. Contador has shown a good performance this year, especially at Dauphiné. With his experience with the Tour, he may be on track to win once again.
That being said, Contador doesn't have a reputation for being the nicest person.
3. Vincenzo Nibali (video 4)
Riding for team Astana and returning after some time, Nibali hasn't performed amazingly well. However, he is good in mountains and hard to catch in descents.
That all being well and good, does anyone take Nibali as a serious threat? Froome and Contador (or the announcers for that matter) don't seem to think he is.
VIDEO: nibali killing it, but froome/cont don't seem to care
4. Alejandro Valverde (video 5)
Movistar rider Alejandro Valverde is on his 7th attempt at Tour de France, continually trying to relive his best in 2007 when he finished 5th.
Valverde finished 7th last year, but some blame his lower than expected finish with a badly timed puncture. Some say Valverde has chosen an alternative training approach than what is normal for riders leading up to the Tour.
Here is a montage that could be epic if he finishes well in the Tour (video 5), but he might be over the hill (he he he), but in a bad way.
5. Andrew Talansky (video 6)
I personally really like Garmin-Sharp rider Andrew Talansky. He won the Critérium du Dauphiné 2014, but many see that as a sign of peaking too soon. We will have to see if his form holds up for the Tour.
If you are wondering why I think he is a cool dude, check out what he said after winning Dauphiné (video 6)
"You put your whole life into something, the sacrifices, the training and it's the moments like this that make everything worth it,” Talansky says.
“This is why we do this for moments like this." I like this kid
6. Jurgen van den Broeck (video 7)
Lotto-Beliso rider Jurgen van den Broeck has had a tough career so far. He has had two 4th place finishes at Tour and multiple knee injuries that he is recovering from.
However, he seems to be in good form this season and got a podium finish at Dauphiné. I wonder if this nice bike of his will help him any at the Tour...(video 7)
7. Rui Costa (video 8)
Lampre-Merida rider Rui Costa seems to be excited about going for the GC title, not just stage victories. Previously he had to work for Valverde at Movistar, sacrificing his own ambitions.
Now sporting the World Champion jersey, we shall see if this rider's skill will hold up in the Tour. Regardless, expect to see him in the top 10.
Bonus: Check out his aero! (video 8)
8. Tejay van Garderen (video 9)
With the full BMC team backing him, Tejay van Garderen will be gunning for the Tour's GC title as well.
BMC hope he can find the form that got him 5th place and the white jersey in 2012 at the Tour. Unfortunately he underperformed at the Dauphiné this year and abandoned the Tour de Romandie. However, he showed a silver lining by making it into final break at Dauphiné's final stage.
However, it seems Tejay has a bit of a temper too (video 9). Looks like he looked up to Contador as a kid.
9. Bauke Mollema (video 10)
This Belkin rider had a 3rd overall finish at the Tour de Suisse, despite his team sponsor announcing their intentions to pull out at the end of the season.
Mollema took 6th in 2013 Tour, but is looking to show some promise if he wants to find a new team.
Take a look on how Mollema felt about the 2013 Tour, it may give you a heads up on what to expect this year (video 10).