Today the Tour de France begins in Dusseldorf, Germany, starting off three weeks of grueling daily stage races. The Tour starts two days in Germany, and tomorrow afternoon passes into Belgium, and then after a brief foray into Luxembourg, enters France definitively in a couple of days.
Mark Cavendish, this space's most famous Manxman, has made a return to this year's tour with the boast that he is the greatest sprinter of all time. Now that Tom Boonen has retired, he could maybe be considered as the greatest sprinter of this time, but time, as always, will tell. Alberto Contador, perrenial powerhouse, returns to this year's Tour, along with last year's champion Chris Froome. Peter Sagan, of Slovakia, will certainly do well, along with his team, German Squad Bora Hansgrohe.
Three American Teams are featured in this year's Tour, Trek-Sangfredo, Cannondale-Drapac, and BMC Racing. Only one of them features any American riders, and all three Americans in the peloton this year ride for Cannondale-Drapac. Canada features no Canadian riders this year. Italy, which has many riders in the peloton, this year, unbelievably, has no Italian teams in the pro peloton, nor does Russia. 39 French riders begin this year's Tour.
The 2017 Tour de France starts today, July 1st, and continues in 21 stages through over 3500 kilometers, wrapping up in Paris on July 23rd. Today's stage is an individual time trial, as well as the next to the last stage, in Marseilles on July 22nd. The Tour likes to keep up suspense until the very end.