Press Centre

Tour de France 2015

  • Episode: 

    1 of

  • Title: 

    102nd Tour de France
  • Transmission (TX): 

    Sat 04 Jul 2015
  • TX Confirmed: 

    No
  • Time: 

    1.00pm - 5.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 28 2015 : Sat 04 Jul - Fri 10 Jul
  • Channel: 

    ITV4
The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing into the public domain until Tuesday 30th June 2015. 
 
ITV4 will bring viewers extensive live coverage of the 102nd Tour de France, which begins on Saturday 4 July in Utrecht, in the Netherlands.
 
Presenter Gary Imlach and reporters Ned Boulting and Matt Rendell are joined by cycling legend Chris Boardman, commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen for the 21-stage race, which spends three days crossing through the Netherlands and Belgium before entering France and ends at its traditional home, the Champs-Elysees in Paris, on Sunday 26 July.
 
It is the sixth time ITV4 has screened daily live coverage and extended highlights of the Tour, with a total of 66 hours of live cycling to be shown during this year's event. It is part of ITV’s deal to show cycling’s showpiece event until 2019.
 
Alongside TV coverage, viewers can watch all the live action and highlights on the ITV Player, and the @ITVCycling Twitter feed will keep fans up-to-date with the latest developments.
 
This year’s Tour covers 3,360 kilometres and visits the Alps and the Pyrenees before finishing in Paris.
 
The 2013 winner Chris Froome goes into the event as a favourite after winning the Critérium du Dauphiné, also shown on ITV4, and sprint specialist Mark Cavendish - the third all-time stage winner at the Tour with 25 wins - will be hoping to go further than in 2014, when he crashed at the end of the first stage in Harrogate, forcing him to pull out.
 
This is a VSquared production for ITV4.
 
CHRIS BOARDMAN
 
1) Who do you think will win this year's Tour, why and how?
 
“The win will be a four way battle between Froome, Contador, Nibali and Qintana. Nibali is still to come to form but I think after having seen him in the Dauphiné, I’ll lean towards him although it looks on paper as if it's going to be the closest Tour for years.”
 
2) What do you think will be the key stage in this year's Tour?
 
“Time trialing makes up just 1.2 per cent of this years race and most of that is a team affair, making stage nine’s team time trial critically important. As it finishes on a climb and the time will be taken on the 5th rider across the line, the team leader’s fate really will rest with his team on this leg of the race.
“Apart from the obvious five summit finishes, the other potentially race altering day is stage four to Cambrai with its seven sectors of cobbles. Nibali faired well on this terrain last year, Chris Froome never even made it on to the stone.”
 
3) Chris Froome's form looks good going into this year's Tour - what do you think his chances of winning are?
 
“Of the four favourites, only Chris Froome has truly shown us his form in the run up to July. He also looks to be mentally tougher than he was last year when he was outright favourite and didn’t cope well with early misfortune.”
 
4) How do you think the rest of the British contenders will do this year?
 
“I’m very excited to see if Simon Yates can build on his fantastic performance in the Dauphiné. On stage six he went in pursuit of the lead group and in doing so, rode the final few mountainous kilometres faster than anyone in the race (in fact a minute and a half faster than Nibali and eventual winner Costa) He finished a tough week fourth overall in august company.”
 
5) Can you give us an insight into life behind the scenes with ITV4's coverage? What will be your personal highlight?
 
“Finding a pizza van in the Pyrenees at the end of a long transfer day is always a joy.”
 
6) Do you have any hot tips for outsiders, underdogs or other contenders you think might do well?
 
“Again, I’d tip young Simon Yates to become a contender, although it might be a year too early for him to flourish in a three-week race.”
 
GARY IMLACH
 
1) Who do you think will win this year's Tour, why and how?
 
“It’s harder than usual to predict the way the Tour might pan out. In Contador, Froome, Nibali and Quintana the race has its strongest and most closely-matched line up of genuine contenders for decades. I’ll say Quintana. He’ll survive the cobbles of the first week better than some people expect then ride away from his rivals in the mountains. Colombia will erupt in national celebration.”
 
 2) What do you think will be the key stage in this year's Tour?
 
“The race is packed with candidates for key stage, but I’m really intrigued by stage nine (Vannes to Plumelec). It’s very late for a team time trial, it comes after a tough first week and it’s a difficult course with an uphill finish. There’ll be teams that have already lost riders by that point and some that will struggle to get five riders across the line together to stop the clock. It could really disrupt the standings before the race hits the mountains.”
 
3) Chris Froome's form looks good going into this year's Tour - what do you think his chances of winning are?
 
“Froome has a very good chance of winning and seems to peaking at the right time. Sky need to put in a better team time trial performance than they did in the Tour warm-up race, the Dauphiné, to ensure that he doesn’t head into the Pyrenees and Alps trailing his rivals. His major difficulty - the major difficulty for each of the big four - will be the quality of the competition.”
 
4) How do you think the rest of the British contenders will do this year?
 
“Geraint Thomas is a fabulous rider who’s still improving. He’ll be too tightly yoked to his position in the train of Sky locomotives pulling Chris Froome to do much for himself in this race, but it would be great to see him out front on the stage four cobbles. 
 
“Mark Cavendish never lacks motivation, he’s a perpetual motivation machine, but he’ll be especially wound up for this Tour after his crash on stage one last year. I expect him to win stages and edge closer towards the all-time Tour record - how many might depend on the health of Marcel Kittel who’s struggling to be fit enough to compete.
 
“The Yates twins are both riding for Orica Greenedge and could do great things in the mountains. Simon was sensational in the recent Critérium du Dauphiné.”
 
5) Can you give us an insight into life behind the scenes with ITV4's coverage? What will be your personal highlight?
 
“Imagine the longest driving holiday you’ve ever been on, without the holiday. People think it’s the world’s greatest bike race, it’s actually the world’s biggest car chase. The highlight is usually finding a roadside chip wagon open late at night in some Pyrenean village just when we’ve given up hope of finding something to eat.”
 
6) Do you have any hot tips for outsiders, underdogs or other contenders you think might do well?
 
“He’s not really an outsider, but the Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin could finally end the time trial dominance of Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara in the Tour by winning the opening stage and taking the first yellow jersey of the race. It’s the Tour’s only individual time trial, so they’ll all be focused on it.”
 
NED BOULTING
 
1) Who do you think will win this year's Tour, why and how?
 
“Alberto Contador. He's just smarter, in a race, than the rest. That might count for a lot.”
 
2) What do you think will be the key stage in this year's Tour?
 
“The attritional effect of all the summit finishes will most likely determine the win. But there are two stages that might sink a favourites chances before they get to the mountains. The Team Time Trial could set one of them back by as much as a minute, or even more. And stage two, if the wind blows (which it will), could do all sorts of damage.”
 
3) Chris Froome's form looks good going into this year's Tour - what do you think his chances of winning are?
 
“Good. Not, perhaps 2013 good, but excellent nonetheless. He has the great advantage of having done it before, though, unlike Quintana. But so too have Nibali and Contador.”
 
4) How do you think the rest of the British contenders will do this year?
 
“Mark Cavendish may well find himself reaching Paris with multiple stage wins. The sprinters' field is very open, with the dominant figure of Marcel Kittel still to decide his participation (check this - announcement to be made this week).
 
“Otherwise, look to Simon Yates to ruffle feathers. He showed on the Dauphiné that he fears no one and is unfazed by the rarified air he finds himself breathing. He demands respect from the race, and he will get it.”
 
5) Can you give us an insight into life behind the scenes with ITV's coverage? What will be your personal highlight?
 
“Yes. It's about as glamorous as a car boot sale in Dunstable. My personal highlight was when Chris Boardman was mistaken for me last year in Leeds. Normally, it's the other way round.”
 
6) Do you have any hot tips for outsiders, underdogs or other contenders you think might do well?
 
“There is a lot of justifiable excitement about the young French talent Julian Alaphilippe. He seems to be capable of almost everything. He climbs, he attacks, he even sprints. But the secret is out, and people will be watching out for him. 
 
“So, I'll pick another Frenchman. I think this will be the year when the prodigiously quick sprinter Nacer Bouhanni gets his maiden Tour [stage] win. He's won twice on the Giro d'Italia, and twice on the Vuelta a Espana. But to his home public, it will only count if he can do it in France. I expect him to get stronger as the race goes on.”