The first Saturday in July . . .

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Jun 30, 2017, 09:17

Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays apart, the first Saturday in July is always my favourite day on the calendar every year.

Quite apart from the fact that it's the crucial second test between the All Blacks and the British Lions tomorrow, it's also the start of my two favourite races in sport . . . The Durban July Handicap and the Tour de France.

One is just over two minutes and the other is 3 weeks, but they both get me very excited!

I'm backing a horse called Black Arthur tomorrow in the Durban July and I also like a roughie called Horizon who only got into the race because of a scratching. I have a hunch he may just continue to ride that luck!

In the Tour, I think this could be Chris Froome's toughest race because there's not a lot of time trialling involved which will bring the likes of Quintana and Bardet a lot closer and there are only three summit finishes which negates Froome's ability to accelerate in the final stages of a climb.

I'll be shouting for Froome nonetheless and I'll also be supporting South African hope Louis Meintjes . . . but the rider I'll really be rooting for in the General Classification is the skinny little Frenchman, Romain Bardet. I'm a big fan. He may not have the time-trialling ability to win a Grand Tour but he has a lot of guts and I love watching his daredevil descending.

In the sprints I'll be supporting Mark Cavendish and Team Dimension Data but Cav has only just started racing again after suffering from glandular fever so I'm not sure if he'll be that sharp in the first week.

Come on the Lions, Come on Black Arthur, and Come on Froome, Cav, Meintjes and Bardet!

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