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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Tour De France 2019 Edition

The 2019 version of the summer classic bike race kicked off on Saturday without Chris Froome and without a clear favorite.

106th Tour de France 2019 - Stage 4 Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.

This Saturday, the 2019 Tour de France kicked off in Brussels, Belgium. This year’s race brings many changes to teams, especially the top team of the last several years, Team Sky. The team is now sponsored by Ineos, a multinational chemical company in the UK, and for the first time in many years, will be without four-time GC winner Chris Froome.

Last year’s winner, like the previous three, came from this UK team in the form of Geraint Thomas, who followed three straight TDF victories by Froome. Thomas would have to be considered one of this year’s favorites, although not in a Froome-type way, as he’s not clearly the best rider in the race.

Podium Cafe, SB Nation’s excellent professional cycling site, has some of this year’s riders to watch for the GC. Some of my favorites that I’ll be watching this year are:

  • Nairo Quintana - He just keeps getting better, and is always among the top riders.
  • Peter Sagan - A long-time favorite who is the world’s best point-getter, but needs to challenge for the GC win. Few believe he can, but he’s always a great one to watch as he’s always around the action.
  • Vincenzo Nibali - Another perennial challenger who is about due. He is particularly fun to watch on the mountain stages.
  • Tejay Van Garderen - The US rider who has been at the top of his team for several years. He’s 30 now, but Thomas didn’t win until he was 32.
  • Adam Yates - Along with brother Simon, this rider for the Michelton-Scott Australian-based team is always among the leaders, but rarely the winner. Still, his form is good and he is fun to watch.
  • Alejandro Valverde - One of the “old men” of the Tour at 35, he loves to mix it up

With so little going on in sport this time of year, spending some time with the Tour de France is an easy way to scratch that itch, and see some of the most beautiful and historic scenery in the world in the process.

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