At the Criterium du Dauphine race last month, Froome sent out a major warning to Nibali — and others — that he is in great form, clinching overall victory on the strength of two dashing stage wins in the mountains.
Froome, the 2013 Tour winner, is feeling extremely confident.
 yes the race between the (overall) contenders does start in that regard.
 not coming in as defending champion, I’ve got everything to look forward to.
“I’ve been out there and looked at the cobbles, and I’m quite looking forward to that stage,” said an optimistic and upbeat Froome, sitting at a pre-race news conference in the middle of his Team Sky teammates.
The race is being touted as a thrilling four-way scrap, one that should very much include Giro d’Italia champion Alberto Contador and Colombian climbing ace Nairo Quintana, the 2013 Tour runner-up.
Contador, a two-time Tour winner who was also stripped of his 2010 title for a failed doping test, hopes to become the first rider since Marco Pantani in 1998 to win the Giro-Tour double the same year.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how much he pulls up (the mountains) in the third week, seeing as he already has a Grand Tour in his legs,” Froome said.
Ending with four straight days of climbing in the Alps, including the penultimate stage up the famed L’Alpe d’Huez, it is a Tour very much for climbers.
At that race, Nibali claimed the overall lead with two days remaining following a long and rain-soaked Alpine mountain stage.
TV coverage: NBC will telecast each stage on either NBCSN or Channel: 11 Channel: 3 Channel: 8.
The fan who retrieved Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit at Yankee Stadium on June 19 gave his prized possession to A-Rod before Friday night’s game against Tampa Bay, part of a deal between the Yankees and Rodriguez that settled their dispute over a $6 million marketing payment.
Hample agreed to part with the ball in exchange for the Yankees making a $150,000 donation to a charity he supports, Pitch In For Baseball, which says its mission is to assist children around the world through baseball.
The Vice President and his wife, Jill, will cheer on the United States in the Women’s World Cup final in person Sunday at Vancouver’s BC Place.
The Bidens will lead a delegation including U.