Cycling is, by its very nature, somewhat risky and unpredictable and the Tour de France is by no means an exception. That said, the bookies have some very clear ideas about who is going to win this year's Tour. Here are a few of the riders in the running for the win.
1. Chris Froome
Team Sky's Froome (DOB. 20/05/85, age 29) is a Kenyan-born British rider who won the Tour in 2012 and will be riding the Pinarello Dogma F8. Despite the unpredictability of the race, the best odds you will get on Froome to win are even money.
2. Alberto Contador
The controversial Spanish cyclist (DOB. 06/12/82, age 31) won the Tour in 2007 and 2009. He also initially won in 2010 but was stripped of the title having been found guilty of a doping offence. This year he is in contention for another win having served out his suspension and he will be riding the Specialized Tarmac.
3. Vincenzo Nibali
The Italian rider (DOB. 14/11/84, age 29) is considered one of the strongest stage contenders although he hasn't yet won a Tour.
4. Richie Porte
Australian Porte (DOB. 30/01/85, age 29) has never won the Tour before and is scheduled to ride as a domestique for Froome on team Sky. However, when disputing claims that Bradley Wiggins was their backup plan should Froome be injured, team Sky confirmed that Porte was in fact the rider who would take over as leader should Froome encounter any difficulties. It is a credit to team Sky that despite being a likely domestique, many people still think he could end up winning if Froome was out of the race.
5. Alejandro Valverde
Another Spanish star, Valverde (DOB. 25/04/80, age 34) is one of the older riders in contention for the win. He has had no notable results in the Tour but is on good form this year.
6. Jurgen Van Den Broeck
The Belgian rider (DOB. 01/02/83, age 31) is a time trial specialist who is on the verge of a big comeback after a crash in last year's Tour left him unable to race for six months. His form has been steadily improving since January.
7. Andrew Talansky
The American (DOB 23/11/88, age 25) caused an unexpected upset at the Criterium du Dauphine this year as he took the win, leaving Froome to pick up a disappointing twelfth place. He has proved that he is on great form and is one to watch this year.
8. Joaquim Rodriguez
Another great Spanish hope, Rodriguez (DOB 12/05/79, age 35) finished third in last year's Tour and is hoping to better that result this year.
9. Tejay Van Garderen
Another American to watch, Van Garderen (DOB 12/08/88, age 25) live and trains in Tuscany so he is no stranger to climbing.
10. Rigoberto Uran
Columbian Uran (DOB 26/01/87, age 27) has never had a notable place in the Tour but came second in the road race at the 2012 Olympics.