SAN DIEGO, June 29, 2012 – One of the world’s greatest athletic competitions, the 99th Tour de France cycling race, will roll out from the starting line in Liege, Belgium on Saturday, June 30. Over the course of 23 days until the finish in Paris on Sunday, July 22, the world’s elite professional bike riders will cover a total distance of 3,497 kilometers, or 2,148 miles. That’s the distance from Houston to Pasco, Washington; or from Wilmington, North Carolina to Tucson, Arizona; or Salt Lake City and Richmond, Virginia.
Riders will fly over the first three miles Saturday in the Prologue time trial, a race against the clock known as “The Race of Truth.” It will tell Tour fans who’s in good form and among this year’s favorites to win the coveted yellow jersey.
Will it be current champion Cadel Evans of Australia? Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain, who has won three straight stage races and seems to be in superior form? Tour of Switzerland winner Rui Costa of Portugal, or Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal of Canada? Americans Levi Leipheimer, Chris Horner, or Tom Danielson could be in the hunt too.
Swiss time trial powerhouse Fabian Cancellara will be favored to win the first stage “maillot jaune” or yellow jersey in this quick opening stage of the race on the streets of Liege in Belgium. He won on this exact same course in 2004 in his first Tour de France, beating Lance Armstrong by just two seconds. German rider Tony Martin will be nipping at Cancellara’s heels, and the two overall contenders Evans and Wiggins are sure to duel.
So put the Champagne on ice, and get ready for an exciting month of competition starting Saturday morning, provided by some of the world’s most well conditioned athletes, through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Join Communities writers Gayle Falkenthal, Catherine Poe, Jacquie Kubin, and our sports team for commentary and breakfast. We know it’s early, especially on the West Coast. Put some French roast coffee on and join us. Vive le Tour!
Your Tour de France moderators are:
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.