Tour de France 2019: A century in yellow, British domination to continue?
The 100th anniversary of the yellow jersey will be celebrated in a 2019 edition that will include a new name for the dominant team but potentially the same story.
A century since Eugene Christophe donned the most famous jersey in cycling, Team INEOS duo Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas are the leading contenders to be wearing yellow on the top step of the podium in Paris on July 28.
Thomas was crowned champion last year in what was the final Tour before Team Sky were taken over, the Welshman dethroning team-mate Chris Froome - who misses out this year due to injury.
Jakob Fuglsang is among the riders expected to mount a strong challenge when the most prestigious Grand Tour race gets under way in Brussels for the second time on Saturday.
Here, we look at some of the key Opta facts on the eve of the Tour.
- This will be the 106th edition of the Tour de France. French riders have won the race 36 times, with 18 coming from Belgium and 12 from Spain.
- The rider donning the yellow jersey after the stage finish at La Planche des Belles Filles has always then gone on to win the race. (Bradley Wiggins in 2012, Vincenzo Nibali in 2014 and Froome in 2017).
- The Col du Tourmalet will host a stage finish for only the third time. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume won the first one in 1974 and Andy Schleck the second in 2010.
- Six of the past seven editions have been won by British riders (Wiggins 2012, Froome 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and Thomas last year).
- France have not had a winner of the Tour since Bernard Hinault 34 years ago. The last French wearer of the yellow jersey was Tony Gallopin in 2014 on stage 10.
- Since 1971, only two riders have won both the general classification and the mountain classification in the same edition of the Tour: Carlos Sastre in 2008 and Froome four years ago.
- Bernal, 22, has won three World Tour stage races (Tour of California 2018, Paris-Nice 2019 and Tour de Suisse 2019), more than any rider born in 1994 or after.
- Fuglsang has finished in the top six in each of the five stage races he has taken part in this year, including a win at the Vuelta a Andalucia and at the Criterium du Dauphine.