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Who are the nine British riders at the 2017 Tour de France?

Defending champion Chris Froome, 30-time stage winner Mark Cavendish and British champion Steve Cummings among Brits on Dusseldorf start line

Nine British riders will be on the start line for the 2017 Tour de France in Dusseldorf on Saturday (July 1), including defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky), 30-time stage winner Mark Cavendish and British champion Steve Cummings (Dimension Data).

That is one more than last year’s race, which saw eight Brits start, and with Scott Thwaites making his Tour de France debut with Dimension Data it takes the number of Brits to have ridden cycling’s greatest up to 67.

Chris Froome is one of nine Brits on the startline for the 2017 Tour de France (pic – Sirotti)

British riders ruled the roost at last year’s Tour too, winning seven of the 21 stages between them before Adam Yates bagged the white jersey of best young rider to join overall winner Froome on the final podium.

– Brits on Tour: all 67 British riders to have started the Tour de France –

So which Brits are heading to Dusseldorf this year, and what can we expect from them between there and Paris?

Here are the nine British riders starting the 2017 Tour de France…

Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Defending champion Chris Froome leads the list of nine British riders at the 2017 Tour de France, rolling out with dossard number one on his back as he targets a third consecutive Tour win.

Second behind Bradley Wiggins in 2012, Froome won for himself in 2013 and, after crashing out in 2014, has been unstoppable in the last two years.

Chris Froome heads a Team Sky line-up containing three Brits for the 2017 Tour de France (pic – Sirotti)

The Team Sky man, who also claimed the King of the Mountains title in 2015, could be in line for a Tour de France-Vuelta a Espana double this year, having finished second in the latter for the third time last year.

– Who will win the 2017 Tour de France? –

The yellow jersey is by no means a foregone conclusion, however – with his rivals in top form, and Froome without a win in 2017, this could be his toughest challenge yet…

Tour de France starts: six
Best result: Winner (2013, 2015, 2016), King of the Mountains (2015), seven stage wins

Luke Rowe (Team Sky)

Welshman Luke Rowe will be at the Tour de France for the third consecutive year, having been part of Chris Froome’s successes in 2015 and 2016.

The 27-year-old is charged with controlling the front of the peloton on the flatter stages and onto the lower slopes of the climbs and heads to the Tour in good form.

Luke Rowe will ride his third consecutive Tour de France with Team Sky (pic – Sirotti)

Rowe bagged his first win since 2012 at the Herald Sun Tour, before finishing third in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

He has since been honing his form at Paris-Nice and the Criterium du Dauphine. While the Welshman is an integral part of Froome’s line-up, however, he is unlikely to have the freedom to pursue any individual opportunities.

Tour de France starts: two
Best result: 136th (2015)

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)

Once again, there will be two Welshmen in the Team Sky Tour de France line-up, with fit-again Geraint Thomas the third and final Brit in the British WorldTour team’s nine-man team.

Thomas started the year focussed on the Giro d’Italia, but after a brilliant start to the race, which left him second after Mount Etna, a crash caused by a police moto eventually saw him drop out after stage 12.

It was a bitter blow for the 31-year-old Welshman, who arrived at the race in great shape following a stage win at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of the Alps.

Geraint Thomas will ride the Tour de France after abandoning the Giro d’Italia due to the injuries he suffered in a crash on Blockhaus (pic – La Presse-RCS Sport)

But, after returning to action at the Route du Sud, Thomas will now turn his focus to supporting Froome in the mountains having been a part of all three of his previous Tour victories.

Thomas has finished 15th in each of the last two editions himself too, and was on for even better at the 2015 race until a spectacular crash into a telegraph pole, caused by Warren Barguil overshooting a descent, during the final week.

Tour de France starts: seven
Best result: 15th (2015, 2016)

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)

With a route packing plenty of opportunities in for the sprinters, Mark Cavendish would have been relishing this year’s Tour de France but his build-up has been anything but smooth.

Cavendish was not even certain of making the Dusseldorf startline after glandular fever kept him out of the peloton for three months, seriously hitting his hopes of adding to his 30 stage wins.

Mark Cavendish has overcome glandular fever to get to the start line of the 2017 Tour de France (pic – Simon Wilkinson-SWpix.com)

The Manxman is second in the all-time list of Tour stage winners, four behind Eddy Merckx, and will be hunting stage wins again this year.

He also pulled on the yellow jersey for a stage last year, for the first time, and won the green jersey back in 2011.

But with very little racing in his legs, the expectation levels have been lowered – only time will tell if we will get to see Cavendish with his arms in the air again at this year’s Tour.

Tour de France starts: ten
Best result: 128th (2011), points classification winner (2011), 30 stage wins

Steve Cummings (Dimension Data)

After winning both the British time trial and road race titles last week, Steve Cummings will ride in the blue, white and red stripes of British champion at the Tour de France.

He will showcase his new skinsuit for the stage one time trial in Dusseldorf, before switching to the iconic jersey – unless he manages to shock home favourite Tony Martin and wear the maillot jaune for the first time instead.

Double British champion Steve Cummings will showcase the red, white and blue jersey (pic – Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com)

Cummings proved his form in style at the National Championships but, like Cavendish, he almost missed the Tour after spending ten weeks off the bike following a crash at the Tour of the Basque Country.

Once fit, however, his place was never in doubt – he has won a stage at each of the last two races for Dimension Data, and will bid for more success this year.

Tour de France starts: four
Best result: 86th (2015), two stage wins

Scott Thwaites (Dimension Data)

The third British rider in the Dimension Data line-up, Scott Thwaites will make his Tour de France debut and, in doing so, becomes the 67th British rider to start the Tour.

The Yorkshireman, 27, made his Grand Tour debut last summer at the Vuelta a Espana but is better known for his form on the cobbles, where he is hoping his switch to Dimension Data will give him more chance to shine in the Classics.

Scott Thwaites will make his Tour de France debut in 2017 (pic – Sirotti)

Thwaites got himself into a few breakaways at the Vuelta last year, and will no doubt be aiming for similar this time out.

He has already told RCUK how much he benefited from that experience, and he and his fans will hope for a similar outcome from his Tour debut.

Tour de France starts: debut
Best result: N/A

Simon Yates (Orica-Scott)

Simon Yates will ride his third Tour de France with Orica-Scott, bidding to become only the second Brit to win the white jersey of best young rider – one year after twin brother Adam became the first.

Yates was not scheduled to ride the Tour this year, focussing instead on the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, but injury to team leader Johan Esteban Chaves forced a rethink.

Simon Yates is targetting the white jersey (pic – ASO)

Now the 24-year-old will hope to continue the form he showed in bagging stage wins at Paris-Nice and the Tour de Romandie – finishing the latter in second place overall.

– Can Simon Yates win the Tour de France 2017 white jersey? –

He proved his Grand Tour potential with a stage win and sixth overall at last year’s Vuelta a Espana, having ridden his first two Tours for experience rather than with a GC target.

Now the expectation levels have risen, and he will hope to pick up where his brother left off 12 months ago.

Tour de France starts: two
Best result: 89th (2015)

Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates)

When Ben Swift last rode the Tour de France, there had never been a British winner of the maillot jaune.

But the Yorkshireman, 29, is reaping the rewards of his switch from Team Sky to UAE Team Emirates – returning to the Tour for the first time since 2011, and hunting for stage wins.

Ben Swift is back at the Tour de France, six years after his only other appearance (pic – Sirotti)

Swift suffered an injury-disrupted career with Team Sky, but proved his form for his new team when he finished second on Alpe d’Huez at the Criterium du Dauphine.

Swift was also active at the British National Championships, and will be keen to grab a first Grand Tour stage win – and first win of the season in the process – by continuing that form.

Tour de France starts: one
Best result: 135th (2011)

Dan McLay (Fortuneo-Vital Concept)

Completing the British contingent for the 2017 Tour de France is sprinter Dan McLay, who rides for the second year after impressing on debut last year.

Riding for French wildcard invitees Fortuneo-Vital Concept, McLay enjoyed a string of top-ten finishes in the sprints in the opening week of last year’s race and rides as his team’s number one guy in 2017.

Dan McLay is riding the Tour de France for the second consecutive year (pic – Sirotti)

Still only 25, he kicked off his 2017 season with victory at the Trofeo Palma, but has not won since.

Nevertheless, he showed what he can do at last year’s Tour, and will hope to mix it with the big-name sprinters again this time out.

Tour de France starts: one
Best result: 170th (2016)

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