The low down on the Le Tour for 2012 – by guest blogger Dan Manu

The low down on the Le Tour for 2012

Now that the Tour de France has kicked of for another year, you may want to impress your friends with some of the key facts about the main event.

The yellow jersey:

(Awarded to the rider with the lowest accumulated time each day)

Interest has never been higher now that there is an Australian defending champion with a pretty good shot at going back to back in the world’s most famous bike race. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 12 months, Cadel Evans became the first Aussie to stand on the top step of the podium in Paris wearing the winners yellow jersey in 2011. This years race looks to be a two horse race between the defending champion and Britton Bradley Wiggins. Make no mistake about it though, road cycling is very tactical team sport and the squads supporting these fine thoroughbreds are just as important as any other variable that may help or hinder in their quest for the yellow. Evans is the more complete rider with no real weakness who has won the Tour and knows he can do it again. On the other hand Wiggins is the form rider at the moment, he has a stronger team supporting him and is maybe marginally better suited to this years parcours (French for route).

As the 3497 kilometres would suggest this race is more of a marathon then a sprint and success or failure also rides (pun intended) on the ability to stay upright for the whole 21 stages of the race. Wiggins crashed out of the race in 2011 with a broken collarbone and will be looking to stay out of trouble now that he is a genuine contender. Evans is known as one of the best bike handlers in the peloton and will look to gain time and put the Britton under pressure especially on the fast descents. Some of the stages where we would expect to see fireworks are stages: 7, 11, 16,17 and 18, while the race is expected to be decided on the stage 19 individual time trial.

Other names to look for that may feature on the podium in Paris or could spring a surprise and take the yellow are: Vincenzo Nibali (ITALY), Levi Leipheimer (USA) Denis Menchov (RUSSIA) and Alejandro Valverde (SPAIN).

A lot will happen on the roads leading to Paris and no one can claim to have this race in the bag. The 99th edition of le tour is going to be an exciting arm wrestle between the two main protagonists as a result I will be getting very little sleep for the next month.

Enjoy the race and see you all in August!

Tour Map 2012
Cadel Evans
Bradley Wiggins 2012
Cadel Evans 2011
Tour de France Scenes

Thanks to Dan Manu please follow him on twitter @danmanu