Cycling is about to get a much needed distraction from the latest doping scandal as they prepare to hold the 99th Tour de France from June 30, through July 22. This year’s Tour will feature 22 teams racing 2,173 miles (3,469.9 km) through the French countryside and over the Alps before finishing in Paris.
The course will cover 101.1 km in three time individual time trials along with four medium-mountain stages and five mountain stages. For the first time the Tour will go over the Col du Grand Colombier pass. The pass is one of France’s most difficult passes with a 20% grade.
2011 champion Cadel Evans will try to defend his title and is the only Tour de France champion in the field as 2007 and 2008 champion Alberto Contador is suspended and can’t start the Tour. Three-time runner up Andy Schleck, who was declared the 2010 champion after Contador was stripped of the title for a positive drug test, had to withdraw from the race due to a sacral bone fracture.
With 22 teams of racers anyone could step up and win but British racer Bradley Wiggins has been picked as the pre-race favorite by many experts. Wiggins highest finish was fourth in the 2009 Tour. The converted track racer is one of the best time trial racers in the field and the large distance in time trials this year is in his favor. Wiggins will need all the luck he can get as he has been training for the Tour de France and the Olympics as the same time. Wiggins will try to get his six Olympic Medals at the London games nine days after the Tour wraps up.
Whoever earns the yellow jersey at the end of the race, they will leave a lot of blood and sweat on the road, along with anyone else who can complete all 2,173 miles of the race. That dedication to the sport also rubs off on the fans who are some of my favorite to watch in sports because they line the roads with farm sculptures, songs, and costumes to cheer on racers for a split second. In my opinion it is easier sit back, put up your feet and just enjoy the action.
For more photos throughout the Tour de France check out Newscom.
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This entry was posted on Friday, June 29th, 2012 at 7:27 am and is filed under Sports. You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a comment, or trackback from your own site.