With less than two days to go before the first rider rolls off the Tour de France start ramp, there's plenty happening in Utrecht. Here are the juiciest bits of gossip from today.

Interviews with riders, sneak peeks at new bikes and gear, and increasingly rampant speculation characterises the few days leading up to the start of the Tour de France. This year is no different. Here are today's hottest bits of gossip in brief.

Thursday 2 Jul 2015

Chris Froome has admitted that he is worried about surviving the first week of the Tour de France intact.

"From the GC rider's point of view, you have to get through those first six, seven days before you can even enter the race," he said in a video interview with GCN.. "You can't even begin to think about how you are going to ride in the mountains - you could be minutes down, you could be out of the race.

"It's so action-packed, those first few days. It's basically a different Classic every day."

The early stages feature a number of cobbled sections, an ascent of the infamous Mur de Huy and a high chance of crosswinds as the race traverses the northern coasts of the Netherlands and France.

Check out the full interview below.

 

Flamboyant Tinkoff-Saxo team owner Oleg Tinkov has suggested his team might boycott next year's Grand Boucle if ructions between Tour owner ASO and the sport's governing body over calendar reforms continue to escalate.

"I obviously understand that ASO is powerful because it has the Tour de France but I believe that the teams have more power, especially when they come together like with Velon. If the teams decide to come up with an ultimatum and not go to the Tour, what is ASO going to do? They can't do anything," Tinkoff wrote in a lengthy blog for Cyclingnews.

"I'm ready to boycott the 2016 Tour de France to make them understand that things have to change. It's not such a big deal."

It remains unclear whether Tinkoff-Saxo would boycott the Tour as a solo protest or only if other teams also chose to miss the race.

 

 

Cannondale-Garmin manager Jonathan Vaughters has tipped Nairo Quintana to take a maiden Tour victory in an interview with VeloNews.

"I’ve already stated that Quintana is my race favorite. I think he’s good in the crosswinds, he’s an excellent bike handler, he’s good in any conditions," Vaughters said. "If it’s hot, he’s good, if it’s freezing cold and snowing, he’s good. He only takes risks when he needs to, and he’s really good when he needs to be."

Vaughters downplayed his own team's overall chances, saying main GC hopeful Andrew Talansky was only now starting to show signs of life after a rough year.

He added that Dan Martin would focus on stage wins while expectations for Ryder Hesjedal depended on how well the Canadian recovers from the Giro d'Italia.

 

 

Need a handy reference point for those times in the office when you're being peppered with questions about the ins and outs of Le Tour? Check out Team Sky's handy desktop background, which features such useful tidbits as the maximum speed logged on a mountain descent (93km/h, although we suspect Cavendish will insist he's gone faster) and the total calories burned over 21 stages (70,000, apparently - we presume that's per rider).

Download the correct resolution for your screen from the Team Sky website.