Cyclist Chris Froome to extend Team Sky deal to 2021

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Cyclist Chris Froome to extend Team Sky deal to 2021

That one will be pretty punchy. There will be good battles, like on the stage into Chambery.

But Porte was having none of that when he fronted the world's media two days before the start of the world's biggest bike race. "It's a pretty open and exciting race".

"I think I'm closer to (Froome) this year".

The race might not be won on this stage, but it could certainly be lost. "I'm proud of cycling in Britain, I'm proud of everything that's been achieved, I'm proud of these guys, proud of Team Sky - I love it, I'm going nowhere".

It's expected that over three billion data points will be created and analysed over the 21 stages of the Tour, up from 128 billion previous year. That's given me a lot of motivation.

"It's a massive opportunity for me".

Every Tour de France is a different race. I think it's been healthy for me and it gives me a good balance. It's a feeling that you don't get from any other race.

Today, Froome said that it had been "an easy decision" to secure his future with Team Sky. In 1954, the Tour had its first non-French starting point - known as le Grand Départ - in that cycle-mad city, Amsterdam.

I've said for a long time that Richie has got the potential to win the Tour de France, it's just a matter of time until everything works out for him. It's very, very special. Dusseldorf is also the town where my wife used to live.

"It's true I will probably lose time but I'll try not to lose too much. Im very proud to be there on the start line".

"I am sure this is where I want to be", he said of the new deal.

"I think I could be fit enough to ride in the Tour".

"Chris is the one with the biggest target on his back".

The Tour is a special race.

In Olympic road champion Greg van Avermaet, this year's Tour de Suisse runner-up Damiano Caruso and former Sky man Nicolas Roche, Porte has a powerful unit behind him and he oozed confidence at a news conference on Thursday.

Mark Cavendish could become the out-right leading stage victor, while Peter Sagan will look to continue his dominance of the points classification.

Colombian climber Sergio Henao is enjoying the finest season of his career.

The Frenchman, who enjoys tasting wines from the Rhone valley and the Languedoc region, has had a hard start to the season, after being thrown out of the Paris-Nice stage race for taking an illegal tow from a team auto.

"It's a little less worrying than the Giro, which had many more kilometres (of time-trials)".

"It's not a typical Tour, it's weird, we'll have to improvise". A hugely popular member of the squad, fan favourite ‘Kiry rarely misses a beat and is sure to be seen at the front of the peloton over the coming month.

To cyclists and non-cyclists alike, no term better conjures up that particular sport than "Tour de France".

"Whatever happens over the next three weeks, I'm looking forward to keeping the BMC jersey on my back beyond the end of the season".

Who will be your main general classification rivals in the 2017 Tour de France?

The 32-year-old is four short of Belgian Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stage wins.

Cavendish, victor of 30 Tour stages in his career, has been suffering from glandular fever this season but with no fewer than nine Brits entered this year, there are plenty of others to fill any potential void.

One of the teams most valued climbers, Nieve is set to ride his third Tour de France in support of Chris Froome.

Although he is the favourite, a course which does not necessarily play to his strengths, plus the strong form of his rivals, suggests this could be an unpredictable Tour by recent standards. Being able to cope with those under that pressure is a huge part of the challenge.

Brailsford said Sky remain determined to let their riding do the talking during the July 1-23 Tour.

2017 has been a whirlwind year for Geraint Thomas.

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