Cycling: Richie Porte, Sky's Plan B, primed for duty

Stage race wins all season, second in last year's Tour, the absence of Bradley Wiggins, no mishaps in the final build-up to Saturday's start and a team clearly dedicated to getting him to Paris wearing yellow: Chris Froome's status as overwhelming Tour favourite is as solid as ever. But the feeling is growing stronger that Richie Porte, nominally Sky's Plan B, could well be in the frame for a top-three placing in Paris as well.

Deals of the week: Paris, the Algarve and Northern India

Less than £200... Armed with The Independent’s latest 48 Hours in Paris, take  Eurostar from London St Pancras on 26 January for two nights in the French capital for £193 – including B&B at the two-star Hotel Americain, close to Place de la République. Upgrade the train for £104 per person.

Idowu injury worries deepen

The odds about Phillips Idowu making the 2012 Olympics – or at least making them in anything approaching medal shape – lengthened yesterday when it emerged the former world triple jump champion would be staying in London to have private treatment to "an ongoing injury" instead of attending the British athletics team's pre-Games "holding camp" at Monte Gordo in Portugal.

Travel Challenge: Half term in Portugal

Each week, we invite three companies to offer us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: a family holiday in Portugal during half term. Prices are based on two adults and two children travelling. Each package includes flights from the UK on Saturday 2 June, transfers and a week's accommodation.

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Traveller's Guide: The Algarve

It's not just sun, sand and Brits on the beach – Portugal's south coast offers dramatic countryside inland, too, says Cathy Packe