Tour de France partners with Dimension Data to leverage machine learning, analytics

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Chris Froome will kick start his Tour de France title defence tomorrow when the race starts with stage 1 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The British team were clearly intent on showing a united front to a public which has grown increasingly sceptical of their methods since the last Tour. The Tour travels well, but it does not leave France without an eye to the bottom line.

It's expected that over three billion data points will be created and analysed over the 21 stages of the Tour, up from 128 billion past year. "I understand his disappointment and we're going to have to go head to head again". I can't just rely on what I did the year before.

This year he finished second at the Paris-Nice, but only managed to place 11th at this month's Dauphine.

Whilst today's opening flat time trial stage will likely see few gaps between the favourites, an initial opportunity for Froome to re-stamp his authority will come as soon as Wednesday's first summit finish.

Racing his first Tour de France in Team Sky colours on the back of a triumphant first half of the season, Kwiatkowski is in some of the best form of his career. I think the route really suits a rider like Bardet, and he showed a year ago that he has to be taken seriously. This year he has claimed two overall race wins and four stage triumphs, as well as second spot at the Criterium du Dauphine, making him a serious threat in the general classification.

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Heading up the challenge is John Reeve who lost his son Tim to acute lymphoblastic leuakaemia in 2005 when he was just 23.

You have to go back to 2011 for the last time the Slovakian failed to finish top of the pile - but then he did not make his debut in the race until the following year. "I don't know what will happen this year but my sensations are good and this race is always good for me and my characteristics".

In lining up for this year's Tour you chose to aim for a fourth Tour de France victory.

The biggest star should be Peter Sagan of BORA-Hansgrohe, who has dominated the battle for the green jersey for years and will tackle a course that appears tailor-made for the Slovak to show his many talents. Sky's team boss, Dave Brailsford, has faced repeated calls for his resignation and as a result of the turmoil, Froome and his team-mates could well face another slab of scrutiny and questions. "I see it like a Tour without any script".

"I'm very well and very much looking forward to taking part in my fifth Tour de France".

This unit will consist of two teams, one road-based with the other working in helicopters. That might be crosswinds or a really short climb to the finish where a lot of teams will think they have an opportunity.