Sprinters eye first yellow jersey of 2016 Tour de France

Sky's English rider Christopher Froome rides with his yellow jersey during the eighth and last stage of the 68th edition of the Dauphine Criterium cycling race

Chris Froome in the yellow jersey during last year's Tour de France Credit AFP

The cycling competition begins on Saturday. She was banned for six years.

Vive la France! It's time to grab a nice Bordeaux wine and enjoy the 2016 Tour de France. They will get their chance in the early rounds to make an impression on flat terrain.

Brian Cookson, the president of cycling's world governing body, the UCI, said the measures sent out a "clear message" that officials were taking this new threat seriously.

Richie Porte (pictured above) is in some of the best form of his life and is in a prime position to have his best tour result.

A brutal seemingly never ending climb on unforgiving exposed slopes - it has witnessed triumph and tragedy in equal measure.

The yellow jersey is expected to be worn by a "sprinter" after this initial stage.

Having finished runner-up to Bradley Wiggins in 2012, Froome assumed the number-one role at Team Sky 12 months later and has since led them to another two Tour victories.

He will need no reminding that his countryman Simpson met his death on the climb while pushing his tortured body beyond human limits in a bid to win yellow almost 50 years ago.

There is a monument in memory of him on the way to the top and recreational cyclists trying to emulate their professional heroes often stop to pay homage.

This year's race is anticipated to be one of the tightly fought ones in years; the likes of Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, Fabio Aru, and Nairo Quintana will all be hoping for the Maillot Jaune at the end of the three week gruel-fest. Bernard Hinault won five times in eight years between 1978 and 1985.

Millions will line the route and the summit finishes, where the race is effectively decided, will see avid fans camp out for days to find a viewing spot ahead of the peloton's fleeting arrival.

A first taste of mountains will be on Stage 5, in the Massif Central. Froome was the stage victor when the Tour last scaled its barren, 1,909-meter (6,263-foot) peak in 2013 and is eyeing that stage again for another victory next year.

"The first goal for the team is to go for a stage win".

Of course, Armstrong won seven in a row, but was stripped of his victories once the full extent of his doping misdemeanors were revealed.

Riding for the Movistar team, Quintana will have his eye on the penultimate stage, which ends in Morzine and is the final mountainous leg before the mostly ceremonial finish in Paris.

The recent terrorist attacks in the French capital have prompted a massive security operation for both football's Euro 2016 and the Tour. He is improving year by year and has shown consistency in the build up, as he did last year.

With an extra 23,000 police and gendarmes on duty, the anti-terror GIGB force will also be guarding the Tour for the first time. And all played out in the most natural of backdrops and they race through towns and villages and up mountain passes.

"His previous performances at the Tour de France have been epitomised by a strong last few days, a strong last week, and the question is whether he's stepped up", he said.

His last official win in the race came in 2009, but he is always up-and-around the top come the final stage. There are other jerseys for other accomplishments such as king of the mountains and being the overall top sprinter in the event. Whilst a question mark hovers over Geraint Thomas plans to act as Sky's Plan "B" for the overall classification after a hard build-up to July, the Wirral's Steve Cummings will be gunning for another breakaway win like the one he took in such superb style at Mende airfield in last year's Tour.

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