Mark Cavendish admitted his 10th Tour de France will be a step into the unknown as he played down the importance of claiming an elusive yellow jersey.
Richie Porte played down his long-standing friendship with Chris Froome as he prepares to challenge his former team-mate for glory in the Tour de France.
Porte was a key lieutenant for Froome in his Tour victories in 2013 and 2015 before leaving Team Sky in the winter.
Chris Froome is banking on a delayed start to his Tour de France preparations to help him win the yellow jersey and keep him in shape for a tilt at Olympic gold later this summer.
We spoke to our presenters Gary Imlach and Chris Boardman before the Tour to ask for a few quickfire predictions and comments on the 2016 race.
Who do you think will win this year's Tour?
Gary: I’m tempted by form and history to say Chris Froome, but I’m going to double down on last year’s prediction that Nairo Quintana would survive a tricky first week and ride away from his rivals in the mountains. He did take time from Froome in the Alps in 2015. Unfortunately for him, he’d already conceded more time on the flat in Stage 2 than he eventually lost by in Paris.
Chris: Probably Chris Froome because he’s got a very strong team but it’s not a nailed on certainty. Quintana lost last year in the first week. If he doesn’t make the same mistake again, he’s the biggest threat.
ITV will bring viewers extensive live coverage of the 103rd Tour de France, which begins on Saturday July 2 at Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy.
Check out the schedule for our coverage of the 2016 Tour de France. This year is the seventh time ITV4 has screened daily live coverage and extended highlights of the Tour, with a total of 70 hours of live cycling to be shown during the event. It is part of ITV’s deal to show cycling’s showpiece event until 2019 at least.