Reigning Tour de France champion Cadel Evans believes that this year's race for the yellow jersey is not a straight duel between him and Bradley Wiggins.
The Australian has identified the likes of Alejandro Valverde, wily Italian Ivan Basso and Denis Menchov over the next three weeks as potential maillot jaune threats.
The 35-year-old revealed, "There are 198 people in the race. Eight of them are my team-mates and everyone else I'll have to beat. Wiggins is one of those.
"The more people concentrate on one or two riders it creates opportunities. We have a lot of other Grand Tour winners in the race. They've done it before, they can possibly do it again.
"When you have that experience in your legs, but also in your head, it's a big help."
In terms of his own mind frame, he added, "It makes it all a bit easier, you don't have this 'maybe I can win it, maybe I can't'. Two times second, hopefully I can cancel them out with two times first. That would be a good average.
"Repeating the process the basics are the same, but it's a different course with different competitors. There are a few more unknowns than last year, from what I can tell at this point. It might make luck come into it a little bit more."
Team Sky leader Wiggins is the form horse coming into Le Tour and Evans declared, "This year Sky and Wiggins, their results speak for themselves, certainly in the week long stage races - they've been the best team and Brad's been the best rider. They've really lifted their level.
"We'll see how they perform here at the Tour over three weeks. I've never gone head-to-head with Wiggins over a three-week Tour. I'm guessing we'll be in for a good battle."
Saturday's opening prologue in Liege is the first test of Evans' aspirations to retain his title. He explained, "I've been a bit more concentrated on time-trialling this year.
"It may play out to be more important in the race. It may completely win or lose the race. We'll see when we get there."
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