Bienvenue Le Tour

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Tomorrow sees the start of the 2011 Tour de France and any number of marketing promotions to encourage you to spend your cash on cycling related products over the next three weeks. I hope that the bargains are compelling but most of all I'm hoping for an exciting and clean race. I've expressed my concerns about certain aspects of the race this year but I'm still a fan and I hope it's as good as race as we can get. For us fans and for the sport of Pro-Cycling – we really need and deserve a good one.

No doubt the French teams will be in the breakaways a lot, much like the Italian ones are in the Giro – which is all good and part of the fun. There will also be a bunch of outsider stage winners and Contador, the Schlecks and Cadel Evans will all feature strongly in GC. The race will be decided in the mountains and I hope not a time trial (just as it's my least favourite type of stage). Mark Cavendish is bound to bag a good handful of stage wins – but I'm not sure he'll end up in the green jersey in Paris (although I wish him well).

I'm really looking forward to the fantastic TV spectacle it makes full of wonderful French scenery and some epic riding.

The one thing I'm hoping for most of all is no failed dope tests but I couldn't put money on it. I certainly have my fingers crossed on that one.

I'm off now to set my video recorder to record the whole race and let the most famous grand tour of them all commence (well tomorrow anyway). Here's a little highlights video to get you in the mood: