French team AG2R - La Mondiale is building its Tour de France roster around climber Romain Bardet.
The Frenchman is juggling racing in the WorldTour with studying for his MBA degree.
The week-long Tour de France tuneup starts Sunday with a prologue and ends with three days in the French Alps.
It has been 27 years since a Frenchman won the Giro d'Italia, and don't expect that to change this edition.
Porte, Thomas, and Bardet will be gunning for early season wins, but it's likely that Alberto Contador will win the "Race to the sun."
After getting his 2016 campaign off to a strong start in the Tour of Oman, Romain Bardet looks ahead to the Tour de France and more
The Italian wins stage 4 at the Tour of Oman atop Green Mountain, putting him in the driver's seat with two stages remaining.
Chris Froome was the big winner after taking the yellow and polka-dot jerseys, while several riders came up short of goals
AFP takes a look back at the French grand tour and highlights five key takeaways
The 24-year-old French star is relieved to notch his first career stage win, under the weight of the host nation's great expectations.