If race favorite Chris Froome falls short in his attempts to win his fifth yellow jersey, here are five dark horse candidates who could provide an upset in the 2018 Tour de France.
The Tour de France finally gets under way Saturday after an eventful build -p which has been full of drama and suspense. Defending champion Chris Froome had reportedly been denied entry to the race.

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Twenty-four hours later, Froome was allowed to enter the race when the Uniion Cycliste Internationale publicly stated it had dropped its investigation into Froome after concluding he had done nothing wrong.

However, the real question will be what effect has this less than ideal preparation and extra scrutiny had on Froome. Team Sky and Froome are renowned for their micro-managing of every little aspect of the race.

So this pre-race drama will not have been part of the plan, which may make this Tour one of the most wide-open races we have seen for decades.

The Tour is known for providing crazy moments. In the blink of an eye the race leader can be out of the Tour. We have seen Froome running up a final climb after his bike was seriously damaged in a collision with a motorcycle.

To inflatable signs collapsing on the riders and even a team bus blocking the finish line, there is just something about the Tour de France, a race that has for a century entertained, shocked and amazed fans because anything can happen.

The peloton is full of talented riders, but for the 176 riders who start on Day 1, 90 percent of them have only the goal of helping their team leader win that coveted yellow jersey. If Froome is off the pace, who can we expect to break him and deny the Brit his fifth Tour de France title?

Here are the five dark horse candidates who could provide an upset in the 2018 Tour de France.

Dan Martin (UAE-Team Emirates)
Irishman Dan Martin has a new team for this year’s Tour de France after joining UAE-Team Emirates from Etixx-Quick Step in the offseason. Martin reportedly turned down Team Sky, as he was unwilling to be Froome’s backup in the grand tours.

Dan Martin has a wealth of Tour experience, with back-to-back top-10 finishes in 2016 and 2017. Last year Martin rode half the Tour with a fractured vertebra, showing his determination and drive just to race.

A change of team for Martin should make him more competitive this year. In his last Tour de France, the Irishman was a one-man team. Quick-Step Floors was set up for key man Marcel Kittel.

With Kittel being a sprinter, the team was a make up of lead out men who excelled in leading Kittel from the front of a speed train. This left Martin totally isolated in the mountains, as his teammates were poor climbers.

This year, the 31-year-old is the main guy and will have the team set up to help him. However, questions marks about the quality and talent his teammates have to last a full Tour are still yet to be answered.

If Martin is supported by his teammates the way Froome will be at Team Sky, the Irishman should be a real threat in the battle for the yellow jersey.

Article Source: Fansided

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