Some of the biggest names in the world of sport will descend (and ascend) on Yorkshire next week for the Tour de France. Here, is the lowdon on the four men tipped to take the glory.
Team: Team Sky
Previous Appearances (finishes in brackets): 2008 (84th), 2012 (2nd), 2013 (1st).
Stage wins: Four (2012 - stage seven; 2013 - stages eight, 15 and 17).
Froome has not been the near-unbeatable beast he was in 2013 this year and is nervous about the cobbled fifth stage. Froome won the opening two stages of the Criterium du Dauphine, but a crash contributed to his demise later in the race as he finished 12th, giving his rivals a boost ahead of the Tour.
Previous Appearances (finishes): 2007 (1st), 2009 (1st), 2010 (1st*), 2011 (5th*), 2013 (fourth).
Stage wins: Three (2007 - stage 14; 2009 - stages 15 and 18)
The double winner, stripped of the third title he won in 2010 and his fifth place in 2011 for a doping offence, is showing glimpses of his best form. Whether it will be enough to distance Froome remains to be seen.
Previous appearances (finishes): 2008 (20), 2009 (7th), 2012 (3rd).
Stage wins: None
The winner of the 2013 Giro d’Italia missed last year’s Tour after being Bradley Wiggins and Froome’s nearest challenger the previous year. A daring descender who could attack at any moment.
Previous appearances (finishes): 2005 (stage 13 abandoned), 2006 (stage three abandoned), 2007 (6th), 2008 (9th), 2012 (20), 2013 (8).
Stage wins: Three (2005 - stage 10; 2008 - stage one; 2012 - stage 17).
Valverde, another who has served a doping suspension, is touted as Movistar’s team leader ahead of 2013 Tour runner-up Nairo Quintana, who won the Giro d’Italia but is not expected to be in Yorkshire. Won 2009 Vuelta a Espana.