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Tour de France 2017

Tour de France 2017

Dusseldorf- Sky team principal Dave Brailsford claimed he and his team have maintained their credibility despite a series of scandals over the a year ago.

The Briton - who famously ran up the last stretch of Mont Ventoux on the way to prevailing in the 2016 Tour - would in fact become only the fifth rider to win the race on four or more occasions, having also taken the honour in 2013.

Froome will use the stage he won in 2012 to try to seize the lead.

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

"This year at the Tour de France I will live a new experience, because I'll have the freedom of taking my opportunities", said Swift, 29.

"I think riding smart every day and creating opportunities could be a way to win the Tour de France this year; obviously the three mountain finishes are really important but every day will be very important, the tension will be very high, and we will have to be focused".

"It's a long road to the Tour but I'm motivated more than ever". France have not had a victor of the Tour de France since Hinault in 1985, 32 years ago. However, he did win the final stage time trial at this year's Giro, so he will most definitely be a contender for stage honors.

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Froome, who is seeking a fourth win in five years and third in a row, said he is "exactly where I need to be".

More long-standing challengers like Alberto Contador, the Spanish veteran Tour de France victor, or Nairo Quintana - who beat Froome in last year's Vuelta a Espa├▒a - have not gone away.

Boardman explained: "With six climbs and a double-kick finish (there's a little descent with 5.5km to go) anyone attacking on the penultimate ascent over the Col de Peyresourde will be hard to pull back, particularly if it's wet". Of course he is exhausted after the Giro but I think in those 33 days we've achieved what we wanted.

Froome, who has also been asked questions about an investigation that has centred on the delivery of a "jiffy bag" to former team mate Bradley Wiggins in 2011, said he had "no trust issue with Team Sky".

Geraint Thomas is one of the most tenacious riders I know.

For the first time, the 2,360-metre Col d'Izoard will host a finish of a stage although it has featured on the Tour 34 times since 1922, building up a fearsome reputation.

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