UAE Team Emirates' standout rider Tadej Pogacar is set to dominate the Tour de France, entering the competition on the back of a stellar season, while his chief competitor, reigning champion Jonas Vingegaard, is recovering from significant injuries. Pogacar, from Slovenia, who saw his Tour reign end with Vingegaard's rise, clinched the Giro d'Italia by a substantial margin. The UAE Emirates leader aims to be the first to achieve a Giro/Tour double since Marco Pantani in 1998. This season, Pogacar has triumphed in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Tour of Catalunya, and Strade Bianche, winning almost every race he entered except for a third-place finish in Milan-Sanremo. The 25-year-old, twice a Tour de France winner, will be supported by a strong team including climbers Adam Yates, Pavel Sivakov, Joao Almeida, Marc Soler, and Juan Ayuso. Vingegaard, on the other hand, lacks competitive readiness and faces challenges as his key mountain support, Sepp Kuss, withdrew due to ongoing recovery from a Covid infection. The Danish rider, winner of the last two Tours, sustained fractures to his collarbone and rib, along with a collapsed lung in a crash at the Tour of the Basque Country. Despite this, his team director, Merijn Zeeman, confirms Vingegaard's fitness but notes the difference between being fit and competitive. The race kicks off with a demanding first stage featuring seven categorized climbs, moving from Italy to France where the high mountain stages commence. The initial stages traverse hilly, potentially hazardous terrain. Marc Madiot, Groupama-FDJ manager, anticipates an early decisive move by Pogacar to prevent Vingegaard from regaining form. Behind these leaders, Primoz Roglic, now with Bora-Hansgrohe after leaving Vingegaard's team, aims for a podium finish, as does Belgian talent Remco Evenepoel, who makes his Tour debut after winning the Tour of Spain in 2022. The race commences in Florence and, uniquely, concludes not in Paris but with a time trial between Monaco and Nice, ahead of the Olympics. Mark Cavendish, aiming to surpass his shared record of 34 stage wins with Eddy Merckx, delays retirement for one last season.