PORTO VECCHIO, Corsica — Britain's
Among the other contenders are 2011 Tour winner
Andy Schleck, who inherited the 2010 title stripped from Contador, said this year's mountainous course would have suited him under normal circumstances. But he's coming off a rough year, including a crash injury to his lower back that kept him out last year.
"The Tour's always full of surprises," said
This is the first Tour since
Armstrong made himself an uninvited guest at the Tour on Friday as he told Le Monde that it was "impossible" to win the Tour without doping in his era. Then, he said doping was "part of the job."
Contador predicts an action-packed race. The 30-year-old Spaniard was stripped of his 2010 Tour title and missed out last year because of a doping ban. He could be the biggest challenger for Froome. Both riders excel in mountain climbs that are featured heavily this year.
Cavendish, who is considered one of the finest sprinters of his generation, has won other coveted prizes in his sport. In 2011, he took both the green jersey given to the best Tour sprinter and the rainbow-striped jersey awarded to cycling's road-race world champion.
The yellow jersey, however, has eluded his grasp.
"To be able to wear that for at least a day in your life, it's a thing to make any rider's career," Cavendish said of the yellow jersey. "It would be a beautiful thing."