Heading into the 2012 Tour De France, one of the top competitors in the event, Spain's Alberto Contador, has been suspended for doping. Contador's suspension essentially makes the 2012 race a wide open competition, according to The New Zeland Herald.
Contador, the biggest name in cycling since the Lance Armstrong era, had one of his three Tour titles stripped in February and was banned from racing through August this year after he tested positive for the banned stimulant clenbuterol in the 2010 Tour.
Pre-race injuries and mishaps, too, have depleted the cast of contenders: RadioShack Nissan leader Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, who inherited Contador's 2010 title and is also a two-time Tour runner-up, will be at home after sustaining a spine injury this month in the Criterium du Dauphine race. Norway's Thor Hushovd, who won two Tour stages last year, is out as he recovers from a virus.
With all of the injuries and suspensions, it looks like the Tour could be in store for some fresh new faces to make a name for themselves.
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