There is a lot of optimism in the air over the 2014 Tour de France with many people believing Chris Froome will win again, but will he be able to hold off Alberto Contador?
The 2013 champion has been in good form so far this year already winning the Tour of Oman and the Tour de Romandie but after failing to finish in the top 10 of the Criterium du Dauphine doubts have been raised about his Tour de France chances.
Froome was second going into the last stage but finished just over five minutes behind team-mate Mikel Nieve who won the stage.
Although the Brit did crash in an earlier stage of the race and it was clear for the remainder of the stages that he was struggling with the pain.
Contador will feel pleased with his overall Criterium du Dauphine performance and with the Tour de France just over a couple of week away I think he may go into the event as the race favourite.
During the last two stages of the Criterium du Dauphine Contador seemed to find it easy to get away from Froome, who couldn't answer any attacks that the Spaniard tried. In some ways Contador seems to be a bit fitter at the moment.
The worrying thing for Froome is that on the stage that he did beat Contador on, he only won by a wheels length as he couldn't shake him off his back wheel.
The former Tour de France champion let Froome do all the work on the steep climbs and didn't seem to be under any sort of pressure.
Froome will need to dig deeper than last year if he is going to win the Tour as Contador certainly seems a stronger rider and with a good team behind him I'm sure it will be very close.
The only slight advantage Froome has on Contador is his time trialling abilities as the Brit on paper is better than the Spaniard. However usually there isn't much in it.
I believe Team Sky will be celebrating their third Tour de France win but I think if Sir Bradley Wiggins had been named in the team it would have highly increased their chances of winning as it would have taken some of the pressure off Froome.
A ridden with Wiggins' abilities shouldn't be left out of any major race as he is one of the best riders in the World at the moment.
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