July 2nd see's the start of 103rd Tour De France in Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy.
21 stages covering 3,535km (equal to 2,197 miles) leading to Chantilly and the climatic Champs-Élysées sprint in Paris on the July 24th.
22 teams will participate, with Sky's Chris Froome and Tinkoff's Alberto Contador each competing for his third Tour title respectively. A win for either will place them alongside luminaries such as Thys, Bobet & LeMond and is a truly staggering feat.
That said, they would need to pedal a little further to catch the Tour greats such Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault & Indurain who each have 5 wins respectively; Indurain taking his consecutively between 1991-95.
While each and more are undoubted legends and have their stories, here we pay tribute to three that we have shortlisted in our countdown that hold notable records and, as cyclists and fans ourselves, stand out as our particular favourites.
Enjoy. And to all riders.. pro, club, weekend, commute, leisure; we salute you.
Jacques Anquetil. France. 'Monsieur Chrono'.
The first rider to win the Tour 5 times.
Not only did Anquetil win the Tour five times, in 1961 he gained the yellow jersey on day one and wore it all the way to the podium.
Anquetil was a young talent who in 1956 won the 'early' hour record. It was in the following year (1957) at the age of only 23 and in his first ever Tour that he took his first TDF victory. It took four years for him to return to Tour glory in 1961.
Particularly strong as an individual time trial-list the '61 Tour saw him crush his opponents in the TT winning those valuable minutes that would take him to victory. Over subsequent Tours as the number of TT stages were reduced he showed his class as an all-rounder continuing to take 3 more Tour titles; in '64 winning both the Giro and the Tour.
TDF wins: 1957, 1961-4.
Eddy Merckx. Belgium. 'The Cannibal'.
Very possibly the greatest rider of all time.
Spanning an 18 year career Merckx achieved a truly phenomenal and breath-taking record that is (arguably) never likely to be surpassed. Picked from a list as long as your arm.. Winner of all five Monuments of Cycling. Winner of the Tour 5 times. Winner of the Giro 5 times; including (and we did say breath-taking) the Triple crown in 1974 - a feat only equalled by Stephen Roche in 1987.
TDF wins: 1969-72, '74.
Bradley Wiggins. GB. 'Wiggo'.
First British rider to win the Tour de France.
Sure, over the lifetime of the Tour, Grand Tours and Classics other riders can claim bigger records. All the same, in this sport of super-human endeavor let's not overlook our own and pay tribute to what a legend this man is and continues to be. From track to road, now back to track again, Sir Bradley Wiggins CBE…
7 Track World Championship Gold Medals, 4 Olympic Gold Medals, Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie, Criterium du Dauphine, 2014 RWC Gold TT, 2015 hour record.
TDF win: 2012
See our Stylists Edit page on dressing for the tour!