Weather to dampen start of 104th Tour de France this weekend

Cycling- The 104th Tour de France cycling race- Training ahead of the weekend's start- Duesseldorf Germany

The Tour de France is often held up as one the greatest examples of sporting endurance on the planet. The company is providing a cloud-based security system to guard IT systems throughout the Tour architecture, having blocked just over 1.4 million suspicious access attempts during last year's event.

"There are a lot of hard stages but only three summit finishes".

In addition, FDJ will distribute 500,000 gifts to supporters at the roadside as the Caravan travels ahead of the peloton throughout the contest. France have not had a victor of the Tour de France since Hinault in 1985, 32 years ago.

"This year at the Tour de France I will live a new experience, because I'll have the freedom of taking my opportunities", said Swift, 29. "It actually made me tougher, I challenged myself", he said.

"You can't explain how elated we are to be able to announce Richie Porte has extended his contract with the BMC Racing Team for next season and onward", BMC general manager Jim Ochowicz said Thursday, two days before the Tour starts.

They were so limited in fact, that even speaking on the eve of the 2016 season 18 months ago, he told this newspaper that he would be leaving the powerful British squad at the end of the year in an effort to carve out more opportunities for himself. I think it's been healthy for me and it gives me a good balance.

Each year, the three-week Tour takes a different route, with varying combinations of faster, flat stages, challenging climbs through the mountains (this year's course takes in all five mountain regions of France for the first time since 1992), and a couple of time trials.

Düsseldorf: The 104th Tour de France begins alongside the River Rhine in the German city of Duesseldorf on Saturday, the start of 3,540 gruelling kilometres for the 198 riders.

Knees, 36, is a veteran of 16 Grand Tours and will be a crucial member of the teams nine-man lineup. "But it would be nice if Team Sky had a bit more competition this year".

Brailsford has faced calls to quit amidst rumours there was a rider-led move to get him kicked out of Sky. They are seen as part of Tour de France history and it's a goal for me to try and be up there with them.

Froome has won three of the last four Tours and should he secure a fourth in Paris on July 23 he will join Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Jacques Anquetil in achieving such a feat.

There had been speculation after the Giro the team could turn to Alejandro Valverde instead if Quintana's form was not good enough.

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