The Tour de France for most riders is the biggest race of the year but who will be in contention to win the prestigious event?

Chris Froome: First off it's hard to look past the 2013 winner and 2012 runner up as he has continued his good form throughout this season, most recently winning the Tour de Romandie and Tour of Oman.

With the potential of having such a strong team behind him including Sir Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour in 2012, it's hard to see how Froome will not be fighting to retain his yellow jersey from last year and continue Team Sky's dominance in the Tour de France.

Froome is the ultimate all rounder who can win any mountain stage as well as any individual time trial which puts him in my eyes just ahead of his main rivals.

Alberto Contador: Another rider with past Tour de France victories. Contador won the Tour de France three times in two years between 2007 and 2010 but his last victory was taken away from him after he was found to have traces of the drug clenbuterol in his urine.

In recent times though Contador has consistently placed highly and has two General Classification wins to his name this year. One came in the Tirreno-Adriatico where he also won two stages, and the other came in the Tour of the Basque Country where he won another stage.

Contador is always somewhere near the top of the overall leader boards and he will be one to watch as he is an excellent climber and is good at time trials.

Vincenzo Nibali: The Tour de France's yellow jersey is the only jersey to have escaped Nibali's grasp and this year he will certainly be challenging for the ultimate prize.

Last year Nibali won the Giro d'Italia and came a respectable second in the Vuelta a Espana, an event that he did win in 2010. He also made up the podium in the Tour de France in 2012 where he finished third behind Wiggins and Froome.

Nibali is another rider who is an excellent climber and will look to challenge the likes of Froome and Contador in the mountain stages of the Tour. 

Alejandro Valverde: The Spaniard finished eighth in the Tour last year but could have easily challenged for a podium spot if it wasn't for a mechanical that lost him almost 10 minutes.

Valverde has a lot to offer in the race so I wouldn't be surprised to see him somewhere near the top at the end.

This year Valverde has won the Vuelta a Andalucía, Vuelta a Murcia, Roma Maxima, GP Miguel Indurain and La Fleche Wallonne.

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