Tour de France 2012: Bradley Wiggins All But Wraps Up Victory

The 2012 Tour de France, the 99th edition of cycling's legendary endurance race, kicks off on Saturday, June 30 and lasts through Sunday, July 22.

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76 Total Updates since June 23, 2012
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Tour de France 2012: Bradley Wiggins Becomes First British Champion

Bradley Wiggins finished the 2012 Tour de France on Sunday in a place no British cyclist ever has been before: on top.

Wiggins coasted to the finish in the traditionally laid-back final stage of the Tour, finishing 3:21 ahead of Sky teammate Chris Froome in the final general classification rankings and becoming the first Briton to win the event, in its 99th running. Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas finished in third, 6:19 behind Wiggins, as the only other rider besides Froome within 10 minutes of him.

Mark Cavendish, Wiggins' Sky teammate, won the final stage's final sprint with assists from Wiggins and Froome, beating out Peter Sagan and Matthew Goss, among others, in the last stretch of the Tour on the streets of Paris. Cavendish was dominant in sprints all Tour long, and became the first reigning world champion to ever win its final stage.

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The 8 Most Memorable Tour de France Crashes

The Tour de France highlights some of the most amazing feats of athleticism in all of sports. We aren't here to talk about that. We're here to talk about when cycling goes horribly wrong.

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Tour De France 2012: Frank Schleck Drops Out After Failed Drug Test

For the second time in his cycling career, Frank Schelck is taking an early exit from the Tour de France, but this time is a bit more crippling to his image.

Schleck, who hails from Luxembourg, tested positive for the substance Xipamide, a diuretic, on Saturday, according to the International Cycling Union and reported by the New York Times. One might infer that Schleck was looking to increase his rate of uriniation to flush out an additional banned substances from his system.

Anti-doping bylaws do not specify that a rider must be suspended if he tests positive for a diuretic, but the decision to remove Schleck from the Tour de France came from his Radioshack-Nissan-Trek team.

So, basically, this could be a sort of self-imposed sanction as a means of preventing more damaging penalties.

In 2010, Schleck exited Le Grande Boucle early after breaking his collarbone. Last year he finished third in the race, and was currently in 12th place in the 2012 Tour de France, sitting just under 10 minutes behind leader Bradley Wiggins.

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2012 Tour de France Results, Stage 12: David Millar Wins, Bradley Wiggins Still In Yellow

David Millar has captured his fourth career stage victory in the Tour de France, defeating four other riders in a sprint at the end of Stage 12. Bradley Wiggins' Team Sky and the rest of the peloton allowed the five-man breakaway to stay away, and Millar defeated Jean-Christophe Peraud at the line to take the stage. It's the fifth stage win of the Tour for Millar's team, Garmin-Sharp.

Matthew Goss finished in sixth place, beating Peter Sagan at the line in a sprint when the peloton reached the finish line. That helped Goss gain on Sagan in the race for the green jersey, but Sagan still holds a significant lead of 56 points.

The stage featured two Category 1 climbs, but they came at the beginning of the stage. Because there was such a long period of relatively flat riding between the second climb and the end of the stage, it wasn't worthwhile for Wiggins' main competitors, Vincenzo Nibali and Cadel Evans, to launch an attack. The three finished with the same time, nearly eight minutes behind Millar, along with Wiggins' second-placed teammate Christopher Froome.

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2012 Tour de France, In Pictures, From Liège To Besançon

As the riders in the 2012 Tour de France take a much-deserved rest day on Tuesday, we're taking the off day to compile the best photos from the first 10 days of one of the world's most grueling competitions.

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Tour de France Results 2012, Stage 8: Thibaut Pinot Wins, Bradley Wiggins Holds Yellow Jersey

Stage 8 of the 2012 Tour de France has come to a close on Sunday afternoon with Thibaut Pinot taking the victory on the day, finishing up the 157.5 km trek with a time of 3:56:10, 26 seconds ahead of the second-place rider. The French-born Thibaut is the youngest rider in the 2012 Tour, and was able to pick up his first stage victory.

Bradley Wiggins still holds on to the yellow jersey after Stage 8, taking hold of the crown after Stage 7 on Saturday. Wiggins finished fourth on the stage on Sunday, behind Cadel Evans and Tony Gallopin, who finished in second and third, respectively. Evans is now second overall in the race, with Vincenzo Nibali right behind him in third place overall.

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Tour de France Results 2012, Stage 5: Andre Greipel Prevails Again

For the second consecutive day, Andre Greipel was the stage winner at the 2012 Tour de France. In the race's only truly flat stage with no king of the mountains points available, Thursday was supposed to be a big day for the sprinters, but Stage 5 almost didn't work out that way.

The breakaway almost had its day in the spotlight with a great ride, but just barely failed to hold on. Pablo Urtasun accelerated away from the rest of the four-man break in the last two kilometers and went under the one kilometer to go banner with a sizable lead on both his breakaway mates and the peloton. He couldn't maintain his speed down the stretch, however, and was caught with just over 100 meters to go.

With the breakaway finally out of the way, the sprinters set up for a mad dash to the finish, with Greipel defeating the field to win his second consecutive stage. Matthew Goss came up just short in second place, while Juan José Haedo finished third and Mark Cavendish finished fourth. A crash three kilometers before the finish slowed up American sprinter Tyler Ferrar and green jersey holder Peter Sagan, who were unable to participate in the sprint.

Sagan still holds the green jersey with Goss, Greipel and Cavendish chasing him. Fabian Cancellara remains in yellow, and none of the main general classification contenders lost any time on Thursday.

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Tour de France Results 2012, Stage 4: Andre Greipel Wins In Sprint To Rouen

Andre Greipel of team Lotto-Belisol won Stage 4 of the 2012 Tour de France in a sprint to the finish line in Rouen. Team Lotto had four members leading the peloton into the final kilometer of the stage. They peeled off one-by-one, setting up Greipel for a textbook win with Tom Veelers, Alessandro Petacchi, Matt Goss and Peter Sagan at his back wheel.

A crash with 2.6 kilometers to go ruined any hopes for a stage win for several sprinters, most notably Mark Cavendish. Cavendish was able to finish with the peloton, but lost a few more points that he would have liked in the points classification.

Three riders--Yukiya Arashiro, Anthony Delaplace and David Moncoutie--led for 206 kilometers from the outset of the 214.5-kilometer race. They were consumed by the peloton with just over eight kilometers to go, setting up the final sprint.

Fabian Cancellara will hold on to the yellow jersey for Stage 5 after finishing in the peloton for the same time as the winner.

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2012 Tour de France: Fabian Cancellara Wins Individual Time Trial In Prologue

The always-impressive Fabian Cancellara made his presence felt immediately at the 2012 Tour de France on Saturday. The four-time world time trial champion proved once again what makes him so fearsome, as he blew away the other 197 riders in the Prologue stage in Liege, Belgium, besting early favorite Bradley Wiggins by a whopping seven seconds in the individual time trial. Cancellara captured the yellow jersey on opening day for the fifth time in his career and has already set the pace.

Sylvain Chavanel was the early leader for quite some time, before Wiggins just edged him out to take over the lead. When Cancellara finally set off, he began topping the checkpoint times and by the time he rounded the final corner, he had a wealth of time in hand to top Wiggins. It was a remarkable performance and a great way to kick off the biggest cycling event of the year.

Defending Tour de France champion Cadel Evans finished in 13th place.

Here are the stage results from Saturday's prologue:

Stage Results

Fabian Cancellara, RSH
Bradley Wiggins, Sky, at 0.07
Sylvain Chavanel, OPQS, s.t.
Tejay Van Garderen, BMC, at 0.10
Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky, at 0.11
Brett Lancaster, Orica GreenEdge, s.t.
Patrick Gretsch, Argos Shimano, at 0.12
Denis Menchov, Katusha, at 0.13
Philippe Gilbert, BMC, s.t.
Andriy Grivko, Astana, at 0.15

General Classification

Fabian Cancellara, RSH
Bradley Wiggins, Sky, at 0.07
Sylvain Chavanel, OPQS, s.t.

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Tour de France 2012 Route And Map: From Liege To Paris, Cyclists In For A Challenge

The 99th Tour de France begins on Saturday with a prologue in Liege, Belgium, and will end at the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, on July 22, but what awaits the riders in between those two stages? After the prologue, the first two stages of the race remain in Belgium, with the last stop at Tournai. The race in France proper begins with a medium mountain stage from Orchies to Boulogne-sur-Mer on July 3.

After the initial stage in France, the course heads to and then along the English Channel. At that point, the race heads to Rouen and begins a clockwise ride around the country. A mix of plain, medium mountain and high mountains awaits the cyclists as they travel the eastern side of France.

The race shifts to the southern coast beginning on Stage 13, but the cyclists will have a rest day before they face back-to-back high mountains on July 18 and 19 for Stages 16 and 17. The last three stages are then a move north up to Paris. An individual time trial from Bonneval to Chartres is wedged in between two plain stages.

Here is a map of the Tour de France route (via letour.fr):

Lacarte_medium

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Five for Fighting: The Yellow Jersey Rundown

Five competitors who will be vying for the yellow jersey this year, and a few predictions to go along with them.

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