The 2013 Tour de France: The Biggest Race in Cycling
The 2013 Tour de France is just around the corner, and this guest post from Mark at Ladbrokes provides a first look at who’s favored to win the 100th edition of this grand tour.
The Tour de France: the biggest race in cycling
It’s one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the sporting calendar and attracts millions of viewers around the world. Where many other races fail to capture the public’s imagination, the Tour de France succeeds.
Last year, a dramatic race saw the charismatic Brit, Bradley Wiggins, secure the Yellow Jersey, but what does this year have in store?
Cancellara in check
In the run-up to cycling’s marquee event, one of the in-form riders is Fabian Cancellara who recently secured an impressive victory in the Paris-Roubaix Race, his third win of the race in a row. He’s likely to be one of the major threats to Wiggins’ crown, especially as he has had victories this season at the Tour of Flanders and the E3 Harelbeke.
The Swiss ace had mixed fortunes in 2012, with an injury to his right collarbone keeping him out of some of the biggest meetings of the year. He also left last year’s tour to support his wife at the birth of his child.
However, he’s begun 2013 with a bang, and with the Tour less than three months away, it seems that he’s coming into form at the right time.
A Successful Defense?
A lot of pressure rests on the shoulders of Bradley Wiggins. After a phenomenally successful 2012, a nation of keen cycling fans expects him to at least come close to repeating his heroics this year. Despite being in a good position to retain the Yellow Jersey, Wiggins has a packed schedule.
Recently, the 32-year-old had suggested that he might compete in the Vuelta a Espana. What that could mean is Wiggins may focus a lot of his attention on that particular race having already done it on the biggest stage of all. This race is in September so Wiggins may use the Tour de France as a spring-board to work on his form.
Many believe that Wiggins is in with a reasonable chance of winning the Tour for a second year running. He’s 14/1 with Ladbrokes, though the favourite is Alberto Contador, while Chris Froome is also ahead of him in the betting. Cancellara is currently a ranked outsider at the moment you may start to see this change.
Froome Could Win
Chris Froome rides for the same team as Wiggins and will be a contender too. In March Wiggins was accused of “hiding” in the tour of Oman by fellow rider Vincenzo Nibali. After losing time on the first day he resided to helping and supporting Froome.
So far this year Froome has won the Tour of Oman and Criterium International overall, both of which he took a stage win. He also finished second overall in the Tirreno Adriatico again winning one of the mountain stages of the tour.
Alberto Contador Favourite
Despite finishing behind Froome in the Tour of Oman and Tirreno-Adriatico Contador is the favourite for the Tour de France. He has won the tour twice, once in 2007 and once in 2009. He has also been at the centre of doping scandals both in 2006, when he and his team were associated with the Operacion Puerto doping case and again after the 2010 Tour de France when traces of clenbuterol were found in a urine sample that he gave.
Another tour on the cards
While male riders have the Tour de France to look forward to, what does the future hold for their female equivalents?
Leading rider Emma Pooley is the latest big name to suggest that women deserve their own Tour de France, not to mention a busier calendar.
A women’s race would make the whole event more inclusive and it would help to showcase the depth of talent in cycling as a whole. In the meantime, fans will have at least one race to look forward to this year, but if campaigners are successful, two could take place in 2014.
About the Author
With over ten year’s worth of experience in sports writing Mark now writes for Ladbrokes.com He specializes in football journalism but covers most sports.