Richie Porte re-signs with BMC ahead of Tour de France

Three times Tour de France victor Chris Froome has signed a contract extension that will keep him at Team Sky until the end of 2020, Sky said on Friday.

"This is the biggest race and this is the big goal", Porte said. Sniffer dogs will be used to locate any explosives and patrol in departure and arrival villages.

Nairo Quintana is confident he has the form to win the Tour de France this summer after falling short in the first half of his ambitious Giro-Tour double.

As for how unsettling it has been to his own preparation, Froome says: "It's not actually featured as highly on my radar as much as people might think as I've been so focused on getting ready for July, plus I've then got an 18-month-old at home".

Victory in four Tours or more is so exceptional, in fact, only four riders - Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurain, Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil - have achieved that since the race began in 1903.

This year I think the real key stages are going to be the Izoard mountain top finish, which is the biggest mountain top finish in the Tour this year at over 2000 meters. In 1954, the Tour had its first non-French starting point - known as le Grand Départ - in that cycle-mad city, Amsterdam.

The second most important stage on the list is Stage 20, the final time-trial, which this year is a 22km test around Marseille. The German brings a wealth of experience to the table and will relish racing his first Tour de France since 2012 on the back of a resurgent 2017.

What are the Tour de France 2017 stages?

"Maybe it's a bit less favourable than other years", he said.

Today, Froome said that it had been "an easy decision" to secure his future with Team Sky.

Former world champion Mark Cavendish has confirmed he will be racing in this year's Tour, following a bout of glandular fever, and will hope to add to his record tally of 30 stage wins in the race.

Porte revealed the nine-man team had trained for just about every scenario after being plagued by bad luck in recent years, most noticeably the disastrous stage two puncture in last year's Tour that cost him a podium spot. "We really look forward to the future of professional cycling and we have only started our project and we have a lot more to go". 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. The world-famous bicycle race will depart from Dusseldorf, Germany on 1 July and finish on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on 23 July.

  • Santos West