Everyone's favourite Tour (citation needed) is back. As has become the norm, the mountainous final week should ensure a competitive conclusion to the race. One of the longest individual time trials of recent years, and slightly fewer summit finishes, make it a more balanced course than the climbers paradise of last year.
Alberto Contador is the only 'Big Four' rider taking part this year and should be the clear favourite backed by a strong team. Trying to judge his effort while attempting to aim for the Giro-Tour double is arguably the greatest threat to his victory in this race rather than the competition he faces. Team Sky also send a strong team, led by the in form Richie Porte who gets the chance to show whether he can challenge for a grand tour. Rigoberto Urán has improved in time trials, which gives him a good chance of finishing on the podium again. The great Italian hope is Fabio Aru, who should be exciting on the big mountain finishes but his form is unknown and he is the weakest contender as far as the time trial is concerned. Other riders to keep an eye on include Damiano Caruso and Domenico Pozzivivo who should both contend for at least a top 10 finish.