The ultimate prize at the Tour de France, the yellow jersey or 'maillot jaune', is awarded to the rider who has the least elapsed time over the 21 days of racing. It almost always goes to a climber, with the stages in the mountains the most decisive in a normal edition of the race.
What the experts say
SBS's Tour de France panel of experts weighed in with their say on who will win the Tour de France.
Who's going to win?
David McKenzie, SBS Cycling Analyst - Geraint Thomas
Bridie O'Donnell, SBS Cycling Analyst, commentator - Tadej Pogačar
Matt Keenan, SBS Cycling commentator - Primož Roglič
Mike Tomalaris, SBS Tour de France Host - Richie Porte
Robbie McEwen, SBS Cycling expert commentator - Tadej Pogačar
David McKenzie - Tao Geoghegan Hart
Bridie O'Donnell - Richard Carapaz
Matt Keenan - Richard Carapaz
Mike Tomalaris - Jack Haig
Robbie McEwen - Rigoberto Urán
All eyes will be on defending champion, 22-year-old sensation Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) after his stunning come from behind victory in last year’s Tour. Pogačar produced the ride of his life in the individual time trial to end Primoz Roglič’s (Jumbo-Visma) 11-day reign in yellow and take it for himself for his first French Grand Tour crown. He looks to again be a force to be reckoned with after a successful warm-up campaign, taking top honours at the Tour of Slovenia earlier this month.
Roglič certainly won’t have forgotten the sting of last year and will be looking to take the maillot jaune back from his fellow countryman. Opting for a focus on recovery, the 31-year-old has taken a two-month break from racing in the lead up to the Tour, his last action coming at Liège–Bastogne–Liège in late April. Sure to have fresh legs at the Stage 1 start line and one of the best supporting crews in world cycling in Jumbo-Visma, Roglič will be right up there in the battle for yellow.
Outside of the Slovenian duo looms a rejuvenated INEOS Grenadiers outfit boasting several candidates who could make a serious run at the yellow jersey.
2018 Tour winner Geraint Thomas is back in the fold after missing the 2020 race and is one of the favourites to take the helm as team leader. Alongside him, Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz is looking the goods after a strong performance at the Tour de Suisse where he took overall honours.
And back in familiar colours after a five-year stint with Trek Segafredo comes Aussie darling Richie Porte, off the back of a career-best third-place finish at last year’s Tour. In the absence of 2019 champion Egan Bernal, team director Dave Brailsford will have a difficult choice to make for who will lead INEOS in their quest for French glory.
Spanish climber Enric Mas (Team Movistar) and look to improve on his fifth-place finish in 2020, while a return to form at the Tour of Suisse has Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) looking for more stage wins and days in yellow in 2021.
Along with Alaphilippe, the host nation will have Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) to hoist their GC hopes on, the former stepping up in the absence of injured countryman Thibaut Pinot.
Aussies Lucas Hamilton (Team BikeExchange), Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) and Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroen) all look to be handed lead duties for their respective teams after seeing their stocks rise with impressive recent performances.
Rounding out the contenders, Canadian Michael Woods will lead the charge for Israel Start-Up Nation in an interesting appointment, considering four-time champion Chris Froome will also ride for the team following his switch from INEOS.
Every moment of the 2021 Tour de France will be live on SBS, with the ŠKODA Tour Tracker app, SBS TV and the SBS Cycling Central the place to be to catch all the pulsating action from France from June 26 to July 18.