Following on from a poor showing at last year’s Tour, ROMAIN BARDET claims that he won’t be aiming for general classification this year, instead targeting stage wins. The Frenchman will still lead the team at the race, however, after initially aiming for the Giro d’Italia, and might end up surprising himself and bettering his 15th place in last year’s edition. This is, of course, a man who has finished on the podium twice for Ag2r, and has won them three stages across his seven Tours. With just one time trial, this could be a course that suits the Frenchman. Bardet will be supported by a strong team, with Oliver Naesen controlling things on flat stages, and climbers such as Pierre Latour, Alexis Vuillermoz and Tony Gallopin there for the mountains. If GC does turn out to be the target, the course looks relatively favourable, with just one time trial, which is uphill, and lots of mountains. If not, expect Bardet to go for stage wins and perhaps a repeat of last year’s King of the Mountains win.

All change for the French wildcard team, with Colombian star NAIRO QUINTANA signed as their big hope for general classification. Quintana was on fire before the season was interrupted, winning overall at the Tour de La Provence and the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, as well as stages at both those races, plus a stage at Paris-Nice. Arkéa will hope that he can continue this streak into the Tour, where he has won a stage in the last two editions, and finished on the podium three times. The team will be hoping that the post-Movistar Quintana is rejuvenated, giving him freedom to attack, although he will be contending with a weaker team than before. Arkéa do also have the Warren Barguil card to play, of course, with the Frenchman looking to repeat his performance of 2017, where he won two stages and the polka-dot jersey. Barguil might also be looking to finish high up on general classification, after finishing 10th last year. This certainly won’t be a boring race

A change in approach for Astana at this year’s Tour, with the explosive leading the team, riding the Tour for the first time. As their other main GC rider Jakob Fuglsang heads to the Giro,

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