The Tour de France is easily the most celebrated race in all of cycling, and there are a few names that stand above the rest as favorites to celebrate a victory in it this year. Every participant wants to be able to say they won the 100th edition of the Tour de France. These three competitors have the best chance to do so.
When you consider Chris Froome finished second to only Team Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins last year at the Tour de France, he has to be a favorite in 2013. Factor in the fact that Wiggins cannot race this year due to a knee injury, and Froome is arguably the top favorite.
Froome is the unquestioned leader for Team Sky in this year's race and has proved himself in other races already this year. So far, he has taken first place at the Tour of Oman, Criterium International, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine.
There's plenty of reasons to be high on Froome's chances this year, and he is the most likely to throw on the yellow jersey when all is said and done.
Cadel Evans won't be the youngest cyclist pedaling through France this year, but he's still a name worth remembering. The 36-year-old won the 98th edition of the Tour de France in 2011. Evans has also won three other races since 2011 and took third in this year's Giro d’Italia.
Evans' manager Jason Bakker told John Stensholt of The Australian Financial Review the Italian race base beneficial for his client, saying: "He got what he wanted, in terms of preparation, from racing in the Giro, and he’s very happy with the composition of his [BMC] team."
The native Australian does have younger cyclists like 28-year-old Froome and BMC teammate Tejay van Garderen at age 24 to worry about. Still, Evans' age gives him experience and he's not far removed from his first Tour de France victory.
Alberto Contador has won La Grande Boucle twice in his career, in 2007 and 2009 respectively. He did not get a chance to try his luck last year due to a doping ban. This year, he'll be trying to grab his third Tour title in six years as the leader of Saxo-Tinkoff.
Contador has already taken home some race victories this year, winning the Vuelta a Espana for the second time in his career as well as the Milano-Torino. His issue has been consistency, which is something Contador knows is vital during the gauntlet that is the Tour de France.
If the Saxo-Tinkoff rider is able to channel some of his previous glory, there's a good chance he can challenge for the yellow jersey. Contador will need to put together his best race of the year, however, and get past the recent hot-and-cold trend.