Track record: Doping issues and financial problems have made for a decidedly chequered history but Alberto Contador was a regular yellow jersey wearer in his Astana days, including on the podium at the end of the 2009 Tour.
Leader: Most hopes rest on 2013 Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali, who will hope to improve on his third place finish in the 2012 Tour. His consistent performances have earned him a ranking alongside Chris Froome and Alberto Contador at the very top of the sport.
Changes since 2013: Nearly everyone with Dane Jakob Fuglsang, who finished seventh last year, the only rider to retain his place. The return of flagship rider Nibali is one of eight changes, while Dmitriy Gruzdev and Valentin Iglinskiy fly the flag for Kazakhstan.
Target: Nibali is out to get at defending champion Froome with overall victory in mind and has a crack team of climbers to help him.
Full nine: Vincenzo Nibali (Italy), Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark), Andriy Grivko (Ukraine), Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan), Valentin Iglinskiy (Kazakhstan), Tanel Kangert (Estonia), Michele Scarponi (Italy), Alessandro Vanotti (Italy), LIeuwe Westra (Netherlands).