From Porto-Vecchio to Paris

Mike Tomalaris

cycling, Tour de France, Mike Tomalaris, SBS
Former Tour de France winners Cadel Evans (L) and Alberto Contador (R) will be two of the riders to watch (Getty)

Some may be surprised with the following confession, but I'm kind of disappointed Bradley Wiggins won't be lining up at the Corsica start to defend the Tour de France title he won last year.

Is Cadel too old at 36? Maybe so, but he has constantly shown he will never go down without a fight, a trait clearly evident at the Giro where he climbed on to the podium after finishing third overall.

It would have been an ideal opportunity to prove last year's success was no fluke especially given the fall-out from his demise at the Giro d'Italia.

Even more puzzling is Wiggo's recent admission he's is never likely to race the Tour again.

When was the last time you heard a former Tour winner complaining about the sacrifices that must be made in order to overcome the pressure-cooker environment the three week race serves up.

It's obvious last year's brutal schedule has physically and mentally drained Britain's only Tour success story and right now he looks like a rider in crisis.

Either way, here's hoping Wiggo is has a re-think about his future as a Tour de France rider, without his often eccentric personality the race just won't be the same.

However, one man's downfall is another man's opportunity and if the season's form guide is an indication, the Tour centenary edition is one for Chris Froome to lose.

What a year it's been for Froomey already. He's finished no worse than second in every stage race he's appeared in.

From the Tour of Oman in February to the Criterium International, the Tour of Romandy and the Dauphine, Froome has been unbeatable and that's the reason for his short-priced favouritism in France.

The Sky squad of nine is a strong one despite the surprising non-selection of a Colombian, and it's a particular delight to know Richie Porte will deputize for Froome with the view of stepping up as a potential team leader if his captain keels over.

So who can stop Team Sky and where will the competition likely come from?

Look no further than Saxo-Tinkoff.

What a team of dedicated Spanish soldiers Alberto Contador has at his disposal, and of course there is Michael Rogers who will play a similar role for Bertie as Porte is expected to for Froome.

Two Aussies carrying the weight of responsibility for the Tour's top guns.

During the race the dedicated team at SBS will be working around the clock in order to produce quality television and an online service that will be difficult to rival anywhere else in the world.

The SBS Tour coverage will again focus on the remaining Australians and the hopes of Cadel Evans repeating his history-making achievements of 2011.

Is Cadel too old at 36? Maybe so, but he has constantly shown he will never go down without a fight, a trait clearly evident at the Giro where he climbed on to the podium after finishing third overall.

And what of the fortunes of Orica-GreenEDGE?

After missing out on a stage success in 2012, there's mounting pressure for the Aussie registered team to deliver this time with all eyes on Matt Goss.

But is it possible for Goss to challenge for the sprints against the likes of Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and Andre Greipel? Or will he be forced to target medium mountain stages in order to dislodge the cork from the champagne bottles?

The depth within the team means that should Goss falter then Simon Gerrans, Simon Clarke and Cameron Meyer are all capable of returning stage results.

All these questions and more will be answered prior to the Tour's historic twilight finish in Paris on July 21.

Join us for all the action. Vive  Le Tour!

SBS will broadcast all stages of the Tour de France live.



cycling central-latest /Videos

ADVERTISEMENT
PROMOTION