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Mark Cavendish, Adam Yates, Geraint Thomas and other British prospects at the Tour de France

The Tour de France, the greatest cycling road race on earth, begins in Florence on Saturday with all eyes on the big two, Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard.

Those two Goliaths of the sport are expected to dominate but there are another 174 riders from 22 different teams taking part in the most gruelling event in cycling with a number of British stars poised to shine.

Britain enjoyed a golden six-year period between 2012 and 2018 when Chris Froome won Le Tour four times sandwiched between victories for Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas.

Thomas, now an elder statesman in the peloton, is back in 2024 heading an impressive list of British riders for whom the next three weeks could change their lives.

Tour de France

Cavendish back for one last shot at immortality

Sir Mark Cavendish will head to the start line as the first knight to take part in the Tour de France, but that isn't how the Manxman wants to be remembered.

Three years ago when Cavendish crossed the line on the run into Carcassonne on Stage 9 he celebrated his 34th Tour stage win, a joint record with the great Eddy Merckx.

Now, aged 39, that elusive 35th triumph has never happened and surely this is his last shot at Tour de France immortality.

Michael Morkov, the man who helped sling him over the line in Carcassonne in 2021, is back in the Astana Qazaqstan train to lead out Cavendish, who is 28/1 to win the Points Classification for the best sprinters and is 4/1 to win two or more stages.

Can Adam Yates take that next step?

This year's Tour de France has the most British riders in history and leading the home charge for the yellow jersey may well be Adam Yates.

Third in 2023, the only way is up for UAE Team Emirates rider Yates even though his first duty is to be part of his team's incredibly strong support for race favourite Pogacar.

Yates, though, is no stranger to yellow having worn it on the opening four days last year thanks to his Stage 1 success in Bilbao.

Pogacar hints that UAE Team Emirates may play a more cautious game this year in a bid to make sure there is still gas left in the tank for the latter stages.

But if the Slovenian star does crack, as he has done in the last two editions, then in-form Yates - 25/1 to win the race - has more than enough experience and class to take on the team leader's role.

Geraint Thomas confident of landing stage glory

Geraint Thomas, the only Welshman to win the Tour de France, has no realistic ambitions of a second triumph but he's confident another stage win isn't beyond him.

The man simply known as G is 38-years-old and aware of his role in trying to help Ineos Grenadiers' team-mate Carlos Rodriguez challenge in the general classification.

But his third place finish at the recently-finished Giro d'Italia shows there is still life in Thomas' legs and if this is the former winner's last hurrah then he would dearly love to sign off with a bang.

Thomas, who hasn't won a stage at the Tour since his victorious year of 2018, is 5/1 to win one this time.

Pidcock primed for mountain assault

Simon Yates has the pedigree and the form yet the Team-Jayco rider is 50/1 in GC betting and admits he's more than happy going into the race under the radar.

The twin brother of Adam Yates already has a Vuelta to his name - (one of only two Britons to win that grand tour) - was fourth on the Tour last year and already has a stage success in 2024 after winning the AlUla Tour in Saudi Arabia at the end of January.

Yates is one of a handful of classy Britons with their own hopes and dreams, among them Olympic mountain bike champion Tom Pidcock whose place in the Ineos Grenadiers peloton means he will be working for others, but he is 11/10 to win a stage and 80/1 to ultimately wear the polka dot jersey as King of the Mountains.

The 24-year-old Yorkshireman, first up Alpe d'Huez in 2022, is 15/2 to win the Young Rider classification, a prize compatriot Oscar Onley is 66/1 to claim.

All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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