Newly crowned French champion Arnaud Demare makes his Tour de France debut with even more pressure on his shoulders than the French champions usually face in their home Grand Tour.
Having been selected at the expense of Giro d’Italia points winner Nacer Bouhanni, Demare has the faith of the team management to repay.
Stage three, in particular, will be a target having blasted to victory on the Mall already at last year’s RideLondon-Surrey Classic. In the colours of French champion, he will also be keen to win in front of his home crowd – and with seven victories to his name this season is certainly capable.
Questions remain, however, as to whether he is capable of mixing it with the big riders – his points classification victories on sprint friendly courses at the Four Days of Dunkirk and Tour de Picardie came against lesser opposition than the likes of Cavendish and Sagan.
Though he has experience of winning points classifications, targeting stage wins may be the better option for Demare.