Chris Froome will win the Tour de France, says Jens Voigt

Tour de France veteran Jens Voigt is backing Briton Chris Froome to win the 100th edition of the race this year.

Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first British winner in 2012, but will not defend his title because of injury.

German rider Voigt, who will take part in his 16th Tour at the age of 41, said: "Like Bradley last year, Chris has shown consistent form all season.

"Froome is going to win, Alberto Contador will finish second and I think Tejay van Garderen will finish third."

Team Sky rider Froome, 28, finished second behind Wiggins last year, when Spain's two-time winner Contador, 30, was absent because of a doping suspension.

Jens Voigt - the old man and hardman of the peloton

Jens Voigt

Name: Jens Voigt Age: 41

Born: Grevesmuehlen, in the former East Germany

The man: Berlin-based father of six, renowned for his catchphrases and entertaining interview style

The rider: A 'rouleur' or all-rounder, not strong enough in the mountains to be a contender to win the Tour but known for his many breakaway attempts

Team: RadioShack Leopard Trek

First Tour de France: 1998

Total Tours: 16

Tour stage wins: 2

Days in yellow jersey: 2

Total race or stage wins as a pro: 66

American Van Garderen, 24, finished fifth, ahead of his BMC Racing team-mate Cadel Evans, the 2011 Tour champion, who will be another of Froome's main rivals for overall victory this year.

This year's Tour starts in Corsica on 29 June and ends in Paris on 21 July after 3,479 km (2,161 miles) of racing, over 21 stages.

Voigt, a long-standing and popular member of the peloton known for his aggressive and attacking style of racing, will be a support rider, or domestique, for 2010 winner Andy Schleck's RadioShack Leopard Trek team.

And the Tour stalwart believes that Froome's form in 2013 makes him favourite to reach the Champs-Elysees wearing the race leaders' yellow jersey.

"Right now, I think it will be Froome, Contador and Van Garderen. I might end up looking like a prophet, or I may end up looking like a fool - but that is my podium.

"Chris just looks like Bradley last year, the same things - he is strong, a dominant rider and a solid leader.

"He is good in time-trials and uphill and he is absolutely the man to beat, with a solid team to back him up too. Yes, Bradley is out but [Team Sky domestique] Richie Porte is looking pretty strong and promising."

Froome has won four out of the five stage races he has entered this year - the Tour of Oman, Criterium International, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine.

His climbing abilities will be crucial in this year's Tour de France with the race visiting iconic mountains such as Alpe d'Huez and Mont Ventoux, and Voigt believes the race could be decided early in its second week.

Voigt and his team-mates scouted some of the Tour's mountain stages at the end of May, and he feels the first day in the Pyrenees on stage eight will prove decisive.

It includes a 2,001m climb up the Col de Pailheres and ends with a mountain-top finish on the 1,375m Ax 3 Domaines.

"That night, we will know who will be on the podium in Paris," Voigt said.