Tour de France: Cycling's greatest race

Updated 0903 GMT (1703 HKT) July 1, 2016
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Just the 3,500 kilometers to negotiate over the next three weeks for the riders competing in this year"s Tour de France ... ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images
The favorite to win the 2016 race is Team Sky's Chris Froome, who is pictured at the back. Tim de Waele/Corbis Sport/Corbis via Getty Images
Froome is pictured powering to victory on stage 15 of the 2013 Tour de France on the climb to the Mont Ventoux summit. He is race favorite this year. Bryn Lennon/Getty Images Europe
Colombia's Nairo Quintana and last year's yellow jersey winner Froome are expected to battle it out again for race honors in this year's Tour de France. JEFF PACHOUD/AFP//Getty Images
The rugged and unforgiving landscape on Mont Ventoux has seen it nicknamed the "Bald Mountain" with its slopes of just rock and scree. JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images
Tour organizers are also promising to tackle motorized doping with thermal imaging techniques and other unspecified measures as they try to keep the race clean. THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Mark Cavendish wins the stage on the Champs Elysees in 2012, his fourth straight in the French capital. He is hoping to wear yellow for the first time by taking the first stage in Normandy. Getty Images
Andre Greipel (right) wins the second stage of the 2015 Tour ahead of Peter Sagan (center) and Fabian Cancellara (left). Greipel and Sagan will again be battling it out for the green jersey. JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images
The powerful Marcel Kittel of Germany enjoyed a superb 2014 with victories in the Tour de France and here on the second stage of the Giro d'Italia. The German is another contender for green. Bryn Lennon/Velo/Getty Images
Alberto Contador will be bidding for his third victory in the Tour de France. LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images
Mass pile ups in the peloton are an occupational hazard of a professional cyclist's life -- but it still hurts. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Amid the pain, there is beauty as well for the riders to appreciate as they battle it out over 21 stages in cycling's greatest race. A.S.O.
Over enthusiastic fans can pose a risk to riders and here a Colombian supporter is pulled aside by a gendarme during the 2015 race won by Froome. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
A spectator takes a photo of the Tommy Simpson memorial on Mont Ventoux. British cyclist Simpson died on the mountain during the 1967 Tour de France. Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images
Daniel Teklehaimanot of Eritrea and MTN-Qhubeka made history when he became the first African to hold the polka dot jersey for best climber during the 2015 Tour. He is targeting stage wins this year. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Tour organizers have stepped up security and the police presence ahead of this year's race with the promise to deploy over 23,000 officers, including members of the French Special Forces, on the route. THOMAS OLIVA/AFP/Getty Images
Tour de France race director, Christian Prudhomme, announces that next year's Tour will start in Dusseldorf in Germany. The 2016 edition largely stays in France with a brief visit to the principality of Andorra and also Spain and Switzerland. PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images