African team MTN-Qhubeka were a wildcard entry to the 2015 TdF but made headlines after Daniel Teklehaimanot became the first African rider to wear the prestigious King of the Mountains jersey and Britain’s Steve Cummings won Stage 14 on Mandela Day. A fifth place for in the team competition was a great result overall.
For 2016 the team became Dimension Data - Qhubeka and new recruit Mark Cavendish took 4 stage wins before retiring to focus on the Olympics.
Of course this year Cav's dreams came to a swift end against the barriers at the end of Stage 4. That hasn't stopped them making and impression - Englishman Steve Cummings' magnificent solo break up the Peryregoud on Stage 12 saw him awarded 'most aggressive rider' for the day though he was ultimately ridden down before the summit.
Norwegian rider Boassen Hagen is a strong sprinter and has had three podium placings so far this year but he hasn't yet managed a stage win. On stage 7 he lost to Marcel Kittel by just 6mm which must have really hurt. It's given him enough green jersey points for fifth place though it would need a fairly big upset for the riders above him to score a podium place in Paris.
We see a lot of bikes from Canadian brand Cervelo at Road Cycle Exchange. Launched in 1995 they pretty much invented the Aero category with their 2002 soloist but all of their range ride fantastically well and look great.The R series is the general purpose tool with the pro team riding the latest generation R5 frame. The R3 has a similar purpose but slightly less head down geometry.
The Aero S5 is the best known frame in the range and saw use under Mark Cavendish for the sprints until his exit at the end of stage 4.
With their time trial bike Cervelo have a chance to show off their aero expertise and the P5 widely regarded as the ultimate time trial bike.