Richie Porte tipped to win Tour de France 2017

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Briton Froome is aiming for a fourth Tour title having won already in 2013, 2015 and past year, while Porte, his former Team Sky domestique, is looking to deliver on his strong pre-Tour form. I've beaten him in the races I've done so far, but that doesn't count for anything once you get to July 1, that's another level.

If he wins his fourth title this year, Froome would trail only Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain - who all won five Tours.

Porte races for the USA registered BMC Racing Team and was dubbed by the British defending Tour champion Chris Froome on Wednesday as "the man to beat".

With a limited number of high mountain summit finishes and only 36.5km of time-trialling, Australian Porte says the other stages will be a "free for all" that could "turn the race upside down" while Froome insisted it will "favour more aggressive riders".

"The podium in Paris is the goal and we've got the right team to get there", Porte said.

Asked about being described as the favourite by Froome and Team Sky, Porte replied: "It's just one of the games they play". To be selected for the squad, and having the defending champion in your team, and a pre-race favourite – that makes it really special and motivates me even more to give my best and arrive in the best possible shape for the race. "Of course, winning helps build confidence but I felt the Dauphine was a great step forward and I got the intensity I was missing". I haven't done as many race days as I have in previous seasons. He's also won some minor stage races in the Tours of Poland, Sardinia and California, while claiming stage victory at the Tour seven times. "It actually made me tougher, I challenged myself", he said.

"I take a very modest approach, I will rely on my strengths and the final placing does not matter".

"We've learned from past seasons and I've struggled to hold form in the last week of the Tour".

Hot off riding to second in the Giro d'Italia, the two-time Tour runner-up said this year's atypical course also means that he will have to race in a different way if he hopes to become Colombia's first Tour victor.

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"And that support has grown from a year ago".

Despite having already won three Tours and having become a father since his last success, Froome insists he hasn't lost any of the desire that took him to the top in the first place.

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"It's a massive opportunity for me", the Tasmanian told reporters inside a huge conference hall alongside the River Rhine, not far from the site of Saturday's Grand Depart.

"I like aggressive racing".

Every Tour de France is a different race.

His best Tour finish since being stripped of a third win in 2010 for doping was fourth in 2013. "We will do our best".

"It's a very hard Tour de France, with insane competition, every day you have to be concentrated".

"Fighting for the green jersey is not boring".

Is Cavendish fit enough?

But opinions vary on whether he has a stage win to his name.

But Cavendish, who missed three months this year through glandular fever caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, admits he may not be at peak fitness.

"I don't think about it".

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