Tour de France analysis: Rating the four main GC contenders

The 2015 Tour de France promises to be thrilling four-way battle between a richly talented elite group of riders: Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana.

It could be one of the most open and exciting General Classification battles ever seen at the Tour. Ahead of Saturday’s Grand Depart in the Dutch city of Utrecht, Luke McLaughlin assesses the main contenders.

Contador: the perfect Grand Tour rider? His racecraft is unmatched.

Credit: PA

Brits on Le Tour 2015

Chris Froome.

Credit: PA

The 2015 Tour de France, which begins in Utrecht on Saturday (watch live on ITV4 and ITV Player), features no less than ten British riders, with 2013 winner Chris Froome and 25-time stage winner Mark Cavendish leading the charge from across the Channel.

Here we look at all the riders carrying British hopes on the long road to Paris:

CHRIS FROOME

Age: 30

Team: Sky

Previous appearances (finishes in brackets): 2008 (84th), 2012 (2nd), 2013 (1st), 2014 (DNF - withdrew stage five).

Stage wins: Four (2012 - stage seven; 2013 - stages eight, 15 and 17).

Froome was imperious in winning the 2013 title but three crashes in two days resulted in his withdrawal on the cobbles 12 months later. He won the Criterium du Dauphine in June of this year to prove his condition ahead of his bid to reclaim the yellow jersey, and with a very powerful team at his disposal, he is the bookies' favourite to do so.

Bouhanni makes Cofidis 2015 Tour team

Despite crashing out heavily at the end of France's national road race championship on Sunday, Nacer Bouhanni has been declared fit (just) to ride for Cofidis in Le Tour.

Bouhanni suffered bruising to the cartilage in his chest, relatively good news after he initially tweeted his fear of a rib fracture.