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Tour de France

Great Britain to reign over 2012 Tour de France

By Matthieu Boisseau

From Saturday 30th June until Sunday 22nd July 2012


The Grande Boucle is back on Saturday with a 6-kilometer prologue along the streets of Liege, Belgium. On the starting line: some 189 racers in 21 teams competing in a gruelling 21-day, 3 497-kilometer race. Same old story? Not really, as this year’s Tour de France could result in a British tour de force. Stage-race specialist Bradley Wiggins appears as the most promising opportunity to become Britain's first-ever winner, while  Mark Cavendish wants to become the Tour's most successful sprinter of all time.

Never in the history of cycling has a British rider seemed in a position to win the Tour de France. But Bradley Wiggins has enjoyed an incredibly successful 2012, winning the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine, will travel to the Tour start in Liège next week as the favourite.



Tour de France 2012 - map
Tour de France 2012 - map

Last year, Wiggins was already a favourite but he had to withdraw early, as he crashed and broke his collar-bone. But 2012 could be the year of revenge for the Ghent-born rider. 

The British Sky team – the best squad in the world - has been entirely built around him, and the 32-year-old three-time Olympic gold medallist can be confident in his bid for wear the yellow jersey on 22nd July during the final stage on the Champs-Élysées.

It looks all the more likely as the 2012 route, which includes a total of 96 km of racing against the clock, looks perfect for a Wiggins win, as he is a time-trial specialist.

Last year’s winner Cadel Evans is the only one who can prevent Wiggins from being the first British winner of the most prestigious cycling event in the world.


Bradley Wiggins
Bradley Wiggins

If Wiggins fails, there is no doubt British fans will find consolation with reigning world champion Mark Cavendish, who has won 20 stages of the Tour de France.

 ‘The Manx Express’ will not be aiming to keep the Green jersey, given to the best sprinter, as he is planning to use theTour De France as preparation for the Olympics. But that does not mean Cavendish will not win between 4 and 6 stages, as he has done in the last 4 years.

Icing on the cake : the Sky ‘dream’ team as a whole can also take home a victory in the team classification, which is calculated by adding the times of the three best riders of each team per stage.


What about the French riders ?

There’s little chance last year’s Maillot Jaune ten-day wearer and national hero Thomas Voeckler can be in top condition, as he suffered a knee problem one week ago. He will focus on stage hunting, like Sylvain Chavanel (Omega-Pharma Quick-Step).

France's best chance at crashing the top 10of the final overall ranking are young but brilliant riders Voeckler’s teammate, Pierre Rolland, and Saur-Saujasun’s leader Jérôme Coppel. But they may lack experience to compete with Wiggins and Evans. Fans will have to wait a bit longer to find a successor to lBernard Hinault, the last winner of the Tour.


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