Porte ready for "massive opportunity" to win Tour

Cycling- Tour de France cycling race- The 183-km Stage 2 from Saint Lo to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin France- 03/07/2016- Tinkoff

Nairo Quintana said the lack of time-trial kilometres will favour him at the Tour de France, which starts in Dusseldorf on Saturday.

Tracking the ride of the eventual victor of the last 10 Tours stage-by-stage and attempting to match their progression against each stage type as it occurs in this year's race - whether hilly, flat, mountainous or time-trial - they reckon they've pinpointed where the Tour will heat up.

But Porte dismissed that as nothing more than mind games by the three-times victor.

Ten years ago, it would have been hard to envisage the Tour de France starting here, or anywhere else in Germany. "The field is wide open".

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Porte led the 2010 Giro d'Italia before claiming its young rider classification and seventh place overall but would love to bank a stage win at one of Europe's big three races. As well as revealing Froome's own form - in some question after his relatively slow build-up to the race - that is where a pattern will develop. Every Tour victory has been preceded by a Dauphine win but this time he could finish only fourth.

Brailsford said he was proud of what his team had achieved over the past seven years, adding that he still "absolutely loved" the sport and "wouldn't want to be doing anything else". He's the defending champion but I don't think it's going to just be between Chris and me.

Froome is race shy - prior to the Dauphine this season he had had just 19 days in the saddle competitively - but at Team Sky, where everything is tweaked to within an inch of its life, there is method to this potential madness.

Back in 2011, Australian sports fans were delighted when a 34-year-old from Geelong won the world's biggest cycling race, the Tour de France. Everybody's at the top of their form and I am too.

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"It's the first time in my career I have a fully dedicated team to me so it's my chance to have as good a crack as winning this race as possible". The climb to the summit finish at Peyragudes was where Froome famously went ahead of his Sky team leader and eventual race victor Brad Wiggins, confirming they were as much rivals as teammates.

Due to their friendship, and the fact that even now they still train together, a straight fight between Froome and Porte would nevertheless make great theatre.

"And if Steve Cummings and Mark Cavendish can come back from early-season injury and illness in time, the law of averages says stage wins are the very least we can expect". But he's the man to beat.

The red and white polka dot jersey is worn by the best climber in the race, known as the "King of the Mountains".

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"Things like having training camps at home in Monaco and building a core group of team-mates around me from the first race of the year in Australia have really helped me".

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