Cycle Life

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Tour de France Contenders: Christopher Froome

This year’s Tour might well be the most open race in years. We consider the players.

It might seem a disadvantage that Sky hasn’t brought Bradley Wiggins, who has yet to recover from flaming out of the Giro d’Italia. But the absence of the defending champ should make Froome’s job easier as he won’t have intra-team politics to distract him. And though pundits will cite Froome’s lack of Grand Tour experience as his biggest pitfall, the Brit has learned a lot in the last 12 months, finishing second in 2012 to Wiggins (and looking stronger in the mountains than his team leader along the way), taking a respectable fourth at the Vuelta a España on Tour-depleted legs, and plowing to first overall at four of the five weeklong stage races he’s entered this year (and a close second at Tirreno-Adriatico).

Froome is one of the best time trialists of the top contenders, and Sky comes loaded with another powerful team, including first lieutenant Richie Porte, who would be a contender for the win at any other squad. In short, it’s hard to argue against a repeat victory by Team Sky in 2013. But in an unpredictable race the like Tour, that’s perhaps the biggest hurdle to overcome.  

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