The Tour de France kicks off in Denmark on Friday with an individual time-trial stage as Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar (8/11 Outright) seeks to win his third consecutive yellow jacket.

The 23-year-old has proven himself to be a world-class rider in the most famous cycling race of them all and will look to emulate Chris Froome from 2015-17 – the first person to successfully defend official multiple titles since Miguel Indurain won five on the bounce from 1991-1995 – by winning his third successive Tour de France.

Pogacar arrives into the Tour de France in great form – he has competed in three stage races this year in form of the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of Slovenia, winning all of them.

He is an all-rounder when it comes to the different disciplines required – he is a great climber, excellent against the clock, and has the ability to extract maximum pace during the sprint.

Pogacar is backed by a fine UAE Team Emirates squad too – Rafal Majka won two stages on the Tour of Slovenia while Brandon McNulty and George Bennett provide handy backup.

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If Pogacar doesn’t ride to his best or encounters problems then there are others who could take advantage.

Jumbo-Visma duo Jonas Vingegaard (4/1) and Primoz Roglic (4/1) are both capable riders who could look to knock the Slovenian off his perch.

Dane Vingegaard finished second in last year’s race and has the ability to go one better – he is a superb climber and if he performs strongly there then he could be a contender.

Roglic is a decorated rider having won the Vuelta a España three times while he finished on the podium of the Tour de France back in 2020.

A crash last year put him out of contention but if both he and Vingegaard work well then they should be the biggest challengers to Pogacar.

The 2018 winner Geraint Thomas (12/1) heads up team Ineos Grenadiers though there will be no Mark Cavendish at this year’s event.

The Manx rider, who equalled the number of all-time stage wins last year was not selected by the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl team – preferring Fabio Jakobsen instead.

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