Froome’s early retirement from the 2014 tour taught him to exercise patience and wait for the right moment to take the yellow jersey – in 2015 Froome waited until stage seven to wear the yellow jersey.
Team Sky closed ranks and they refused to let the lead slip for the remaining 14 stages. Froome has the right team to make history with – this makes Froome the man to beat in 2016.
Nibali has just won a brilliant victory in the Giro d’Italia, so he’s another rider with history on his mind. Nibali has Astana, a team like Sky that has strength and depth in its squad. Astana is also home to Aru, an exceptional rider in his own right, and certainly more than a Plan B.
Contador has had a strong start to the season but is no longer the threat that he used to be. Since several of his historical results no longer stand, there’s a question mark hanging over his performance.
One thing is for sure, despite Contador’s victory in the Giro in 2015, his performance in the mountains is questionable, and the 2016 Tour is all about the mountain stages.
Crowd favourite Quintana is a dark horse that shouldn’t be overlooked. He was one of the few cyclists who managed to hold Froome’s wheel in 2015’s mountain stages.
But Quintana’s performance in the closing time trial of the 2016 Basque Country tour was a sign that he’s been working on this aspect of his technique. No matter how Quintana finishes, he’s guaranteed to add some colour to Le Tour 2016.
Richie Porte is another cyclist many hope will do well, but he’s failed to impress since leaving Team Sky. With all the talk of Geraint Thomas’s rivalry with Froome, you’d hope that Porte could prove there is life after Sky.
Porte came first in the Giro del Trentino – a respectable and hard-earned victory, but it isn’t the Giro d’Italia. And it certainly isn’t the Tour de France.
If you’re sensible, you’ll bet on Froome – but nothing can be taken for granted in the greatest cycling event in the world.