The 103rd Tour De France will begin tomorrow at La Manche in France.
The gruelling three-week race will feature the world’s finest cyclists as they journey from the north of France through Spain, Andorra and Switzerland, finishing on the Champs De Elysees in Paris. The race has 21 stages and is a total distance of 3519km.
The Australian team Orica-BikeExchange, previously dubbed Orica-GreenEdge, includes Australian and four time Tour Down Under winner Simon Gerrans. Australia’s best hope in the general classification (yellow jersey) is Richie Porte, riding for BMC.
Stage 12 looms as an important portion of the race. The riders have to travel 184km from Montpellier to Mont Ventoux. This stage will consist of high intensity cycling with the competitors trying to establish a lead.
Chris Froome won the race last year after he took the lead in stage seven. This year the Brit will be the one to watch again. If he claims victory he will be one of eight riders to win the race three times or more.
Drugs have impacted the last decade of the great race. Cycling prodigy Lance Armstrong was stripped of all seven titles after he was accused of doping. There have also been on-going reports that cyclists have been using hidden motors in their bikes. Thermal cameras will be introduced by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to send a message to cyclists who choose to cheat.
“We are sending a clear message, which is that there is literally nowhere to hide for anyone foolish enough to attempt to cheat in this way,” UCI president Brian Cookson said.
The cyclist that wins the tournament will earn a whopping $A3,429,750 while the best team will win $A74,695. – Jesse Mullens
Photo of the Tour De France logo from the Tour De France Twitter feed.