Live Coverage of Tour de France Countdown - Day 1
More from Contador earlier today. The Spaniard confirmed that this would not be his last Tour de France but wouldn't say much on where he would be headed next season.
"I’ve also decided that this is not my last Tour. I’ll continue.It will be a unique Tour and it’ll be very tough from the start but for me the last week will be the most important of the race, because the race will be open until the end, because the Queen stage is on the last day in the mountains.
“Things are still open, things are going well but noting is closed at the moment. But I’m really calm about it all. I’ll probably be here for two more years but now the most important thing is to concentrate on the Tour. I’ve worked hard to win it. Tinkoff is now my tam and has been since 2012. The team has always supported me. This is the last year and so the best thing I can do is to win the Tour and pay Tinkov back for everything.
We have some more bike stuff for you. Earlier to day our very own Josh Evans got close up and personal with Ian Stannard's Pinarello Dogma F8. You can see the pictures here.
Tour de france organisers the ASO have said that three bikes a day will have cameras capable of sending live images. Something that we've seen tested in recent races.
And this is what Sagan had to say about his own ambitions: "I want to try win some stages, take the green if possible and help Alberto Contador go for yellow, I think that’s the bigger goal we have.
"I tried to be in yellow for four years, so it is never what happens. I think it’s better not to try, so maybe it will happen. My idea is that if things happen they come along, if you look for them, they don’t happen…"
A little from Contador earlier on sharing the leadership role with Peter Sagan at the Tour de France: "I feel fortunate that I can share the team with Peter. I think he’s one of the classiest riders I’ve seen during my career. He can do everything and he can make the difference in a tactical situation and so its not a problem to be in the same team as Peter, it’s a privilege."
Dimension Data is the last team to be holding a press conference today. Theirs got underway at the Tour's press centre just five minutes ago.
The announcements and new things keep flying in today. BMC has unveiled a new paint job for their Team Machine. Instead of the 'naked carbon' look, they have opted to go white for the Tour de France.
Sagan has been linked to a move to the Bora-Argon 18 squad for next season but during their press conference earlier today, the team dismissed that idea saying that he was too expensive for them.
Alberto Contador has departed the Tinkoff press conference and it is now Peter Sagan sitting in front of the press.
As expected, Bora-Argon 18 have unveiled Hansgrohe as a new spsonsor.
Hansgrohe are a bathroom products manufacturer with previous involvement in cyclo-cross, recently sponsoring the Superprestige series.
And click here for the full story on Cannondale-Drapac.
"This year the level of competition is higher than ever"
Cyclingnews Editor Daniel Benson's report on Froome from the Sky presser is here.
Bora-Argon 18's press conference is about to get underway.
The German Pro Continental team, which hopes to get a WorldTour licence next year, is set to unveil a new sponsor of its own.
We've just spied the Cannondale team bus, which has also had a Drapac update.
Some context to that quote...
Drapac, a property funds management business, describes itself as having a "holistic philosophy" and the new team will place an emphasis on riders' well-being away from the framework of the sport itself.
"Together with Crossing the Line, an organization designed to assist athletes transition out of professional competition, the pro team will offer workshops, individual counseling services, mentoring, and robust educational support to its riders. It is the first program of its kind at WorldTour level," reads the press release.
"Michael Drapac and I have been friends for some time. I have always been impressed with his entrepreneurial vision and understanding of markets. However, what piqued my interest in partnering with Michael is his passion for helping athletes find their way through life in a healthier way,” says Slipstream Sports CEO/Cannondale team manager Jonathan Vaughters said.
“Although it’s seldom acknowledged, most professional cyclists have given up everything in order to pursue excellence in their sport. While commendable, this leaves them very vulnerable to an ever more complex world.”
Drapac is a Pro Continental Australian team but they'll join forces with the American-registered WorldTour quad to form Cannondale-Drapac in 2017.
Both squads continue as normal for the rest of the season, but the Drapac logo will feature on Cannondale's lime green jerseys throughout the Tour.
The headline news that kicks off the Cannondale presser is the announcement of a merger with the Drapac team.
Cannondale's press conference coming up in 5 minutes
As promised, here's the story on Cancellara's bike, with an explanation of this latest custom paint job.
Our reporter Stephen Farrand has just written this initial story from the Team Sky press conference, with quotes from Froome, Brailsford, and Thomas.
Tinkoff's press conference is coming up this afternoon and we're happy to welcome their charismatic - is that the best word? - team manager Oleg Tinov back as a Cyclingnews blogger for the Tour de France.
His latest blog has just landed in our inbox and so you'll be able to read his thoughts on the site very soon.
New bike for Cancellara!
Trek-Segafredo's pre-Tour press conference is tomorrow but today they've unveiled yet another special edition bike for star rider Fabian Cancellara. We'll have a story on Spartacus' latest steed shortly.
A note on that Brailsford/England football angle...
He dodged the question but did say something about sport being a 'small world'. Obviously he wouldn't become the manager, but it's not inconceivable to see him taking up some kind of role to help the national team out of its current mire. Some aspects of sports management are transferable and he did give speeches to the players a couple of years ago, and has in the past expressed his interest in getting involved in the sport...
Who are best riders not picked for the Tour?
As part of our run of countdown features, we've put together a full nine-man team, and we think it's pretty strong. What do you reckon?
We'll be heading over to the Cannondale hotel next - their press conference gets underway at 1pm CET.
After Brailsford is asked about the England football manager job, Sky's press conference wraps up and the riders exit stage left to get ready for a nice training ride in the pouring rain.
"We’ve just had our first son and so it's been good to spend more time at home and ease into racing," says Froome of the changes to the structure of his season.
"It’s been good to change it up a bit, to have a different focus and trust the training with Tim [Kerrison] that I’d reach best condition even while not winning races since February. I’m glad we took that approach and I hope it will carry me better into the third week. That’s a personal goal, to be stronger in this edition of the Tour."
Froome is asked about the scrutiny, negativity, and downright abuse he famously faced last year - and whether he's worried about going through it all again.
"Hopefully it's the same way we were received at Dauphiné two weeks ago, with a great atmosphere," he says. "This is the biggest race for us of our calendar. We love being here and we love being in France."
The team is holding their press conference at their hotel near Omaha Beach, where the finish is on Saturday. The mechanics were busy at work when Cyclingnews arrived and Mikel Landa's bike was on show.
More from Chris Froome this morning: "This is a climber-based route. Even the two time trials, one is uphill and the other has two climbs on it. The amount of climbing does outweigh previous editions. Everyone here can go uphill, including Stannard."
Here are Team Sky talking to the press this morning.
Chris Froome has spoken highly of the team that is there to support him but know's that he can't count his chickens just yet.
"I’ve got all my bases covered with the guys we have here. I’m ready for this year’s Tour but I know we can’t take anything for granted but we’ve got the potential to get the job done. This is the toughest challenge of my career," he says.
Team Sky's press conference got under way, present is defending champion Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas. Dave Brailsford is also in attendance.
More contract news out this morning with FDJ confirming that Thibaut Pinot has signed for another two years. That will bring him to eight years with the French squad.
There is also some contract news this morning with BMC Racing announcing Amaël Moinard will remain with the team for a seventh season.
Team Sky's press conference will be held at 10am this morning with Chris Froome the man of interest for the world's cycling press
At the FDJ press conference, it has been announce overall contender Thibaut Pinot has extended his contract for a further two seasons
The biggest news of the morning though surrounds German Pro-Continental team Bora-Argon 18, who have reportedly added German bathroom products manufacturer Hansgrohe as naming rights sponsor and signed world champion Peter Sagan. For more on the story, click here
Bora-Argon 18 are holding its pre-Tour press conference later today at 1:45pm when team manager Raph Denk is expected to confirm the announcement.
Orica-GreenEdge, who will now be known as Orica-BikeExchange, revealed its new kit earlier today. The Australian team have changed from a predominately white jersey, to blue and added the BikeExchange logo to the chest. For a closer look at the kits, click here
The Tour de France begins in just two days' time. We'll bring you all the build-up ahead of the start in Mont-Saint-Michel on Saturday.
Today, Lotto Soudal, IAM Cycling, Team Sky, Cannondale, Bora Argon 18, Tinkoff and all Dimension Data are all set to host their pre-race press conferences. Bora-Argon 18 and Cannondale will have major sponsorship announcements.
And in the evening, the team presentation will take place where our reporters will bring you all the news you need to know!