Elite counter-terrorism officers to be deployed for Tour de France

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But when he rolls down the start ramp at the race's opening time trial on Saturday in Düsseldorf, three-times Tour victor Chris Froome knows he will be facing the hardest challenge of his career to date.

Porte led the 2010 Giro d'Italia before claiming its young rider classification and seventh place overall but would love to bank a stage win at one of Europe's big three races.

Brailsford said he was proud of what his team had achieved over the past seven years, adding that he still "absolutely loved" the sport and "wouldn't want to be doing anything else".

"I'm going nowhere", declared the manager.

Known for his attacking instincts, Bardet has shown steady improvement at this race and demonstrated his class with a solo triumph on Mont Blanc previous year. Rather than long time trials, one of his in-house specialities, or long spells in the mountains, where he has previously pulverized his rivals, there are few set-piece battle stages in the Pyrenees or Alps.

Knees, 36, is a veteran of 16 Grand Tours and will be a crucial member of the teams nine-man lineup.

- Sylvain Chavanel will participate in his 17th Tour de France in 2017, equalling George Hincapie, Stuart O'Grady and Jens Voigt for most entries into the race.

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The best riders are awarded with different coloured jerseys depending on the standings in four different competitions within the Tour.

BMC's Richie Porte impressed in the Tour de Romandie, and he's being backed for success by a lot of pundits.

Bardet geared up nicely for the Tour de France, which runs from July 1-23, by finishing sixth overall in the Criterium du Dauphine earlier this month, showing great form in the mountains after losing ground in the time trial. Bardet, two-time victor Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) could try to blow the stage open.

A field of 198 riders will take to the roads of Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and of course France to compete across a distance of 3,540 kilometres, spread over 21 stages. The rider who wears the yellow jersey at the end of the final stage in Paris is deemed the overall victor. "I don't know what will happen this year but my sensations are good and this race is always good for me and my characteristics". Every Tour victory has been preceded by a Dauphine win but this time he could finish only fourth. "I see it like a Tour without any script".

Last year, he won three stages, but in 2017, Sagan should like his chances of grabbing even more top spots.

"Now I'm looking forward to being a big part of Team Sky's future".

Knees is another one of those riders who works so hard for the team and who will be a massive help in making sure we have numbers up at the front of the race.