Tour de France 2018: When, where, how to watch and main contenders

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The super summer of sport continues on Saturday when the 2018 Tour de France gets underway on the island of Noirmoutier.

Chris Froome is the defending champion after clinching a third-straight tour win 12 months ago.

The Team Sky rider currently holds all three of the Grand Tour titles and will be bidding for a fifth Tour de France success over the next month.

We’ve provided a lowdown with all of the key information ahead of Froome’s latest quest for glory…

What is it?

The Tour de France is a 21-stage bike race run over a 23-day period covering 3,351 kilometres.

It was first established in 1903 and has grown to become the most significant and prestigious event of its kind.

There are several mini competitions within the tour excluding the general classification for the overall winner.

Sprinters contest the points classification over flat stages, mountains classification (King of the mountains) is for climbers, young rider classification for those under-16 and team classification for the fastest overall teams.

The leaders and eventual winners of these individual classifications can be identified by the distinct jerseys that come with the title. The overall leader of the tour each day wears the famous yellow jersey.

Who are the main contenders?

Four-time champion Chris Froome was cleared to compete in the 2018 event earlier this week after allegations of excessive use of an asthma drug during last year’s Vuelta a Espana were dropped. He’s the 13/8 favourite.

Former Team Sky rider Richie Porte is next best at 4/1 after taking home the yellow jersey in the Tour de Suisse last month.

Nairo Quintana has finished in the top-three in three of the last five years. He’s 7/1 to top the pile time around. Spaniard Mikel Landa finished fourth last year and is 9/1 to win outright in 2018.

British hopeful Simon Yates burst onto the scene with a tremendous fourth-place finish in 2016. He finished seventh in 2017 and is 16/1 to win the tour at his fourth attempt.

Manx missile Mark Cavendish is 18/1 to add to his 30 stage victories and finish top of the points classification.

When is it on?

The Tour de France gets going on Saturday 7th July and runs almost daily until Sunday 29th July. Each stage will begin at around 11am and conclude between 4:00pm and 4:30pm.

There are two rest days on this year’s tour on Monday 16th July and Monday 23rd July.

Chris Froome Tour de France route

2018 Tour de France route

Where can I watch it?

UK viewers can watch the Tour de France in two places.

ITV4 will be screening 70 hours of the world’s most famous bike ride for a fourth successive year on Sky Channel 120. This will switch to the main ITV channel for the final stage.

Their coverage is fronted by Gary Imlach and three-time yellow jersey wearer Chris Boardman. Commentary comes from Ned Boulting and four-time stage winner David Millar.

Eurosport will also be providing live coverage through the tour with a four-pronged commentary line-up including Carlton Kirby, Rob Hatch, Sean Kelly and Brian Smith.

Jonathan Edwards is in charge of presenting duties, while there’s also a highlights-cum-talk show on every evening called Tour de France Today.

Eurosport Player and ITV Hub will also have online coverage.

Click here for all our Tour de France odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the University of East Anglia where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper Concrete. He also supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Other passions include darts, cricket, speedway and horse racing.