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Nothing, inside or beyond the sport of cycling, can truly compare to the Tour de France. The Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España may, like the Tour, be annual three-week races, and each year the Monuments and other one-day Classics, like the Tour, invariably spark huge interest and intrigue. But the Tour de France is simultaneously the biggest annual sporting event on the planet, a vital piece of the host country’s national heritage, and above all, a gruelling, heroic spectacle that captivates hundreds of millions of viewers across the world: as such, le Tour eclipses them all.

This year the Tour’s main narrative could hardly be more captivating: former double champion Tadej Pogačar, all-conquering in the first half of the 2023 season until a crash and broken wrist injury wrecked his final Classics race of this April, will be targeting the third maillot jaune of his career. But last year’s Tour winner Jonas Vingegaard represents a colossal obstacle for the Slovenian. And having beaten the arch-favourite Pogačar so decisively in the high mountains last July, the Danish star will surely be determined to do so again.

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