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Tour de France

The Tour de France (French pronunciation: [tuʁ də fʁɑ̃s]) is an annual bicycle race held in France and nearby countries. First staged in 1903, the race covers more than 3,600 kilometres (2,200 mi) and lasts three weeks. As the best known and most prestigious of cycling's three "Grand Tours", the Tour de France attracts riders and teams from around the world. The race is broken into day-long segments, called stages. Individual times to finish each stage are aggregated to determine the overall winner at the end of the race. The rider with the lowest aggregate time at the end of each day wears the leader's yellow jersey on the next day of racing. The course changes every year, but the race has always finished in Paris. Since 1975, the climax of the final stage has been along the Champs-Élysées

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CYCLING

Wiggins' woes boost Froome's Tour de France hopes

The health problems that force last year's winner out open the way for teammate

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 June, 2013, 4:58am
 

The health problems that will keep defending champion Bradley Wiggins out of this year's Tour de France could be good news for fellow Team Sky rider Chris Froome who finished second in the race last year.

Despite Froome being the team's official Tour leader this year, Wiggins said that he wanted to go for a Giro d'Italia/Tour de France double.

Wiggins' comments prompted Froome to issue a statement saying he would be leading the team's challenge for the world's most famous cycling road race and not the Olympic time-trial champion.

But with Wiggins now ruled out, potential conflict between the two Sky riders will be avoided and Froome's victory hopes should be boosted.

"It's incredibly sad to have the reigning champion at Team Sky but not lining up at the Tour," team chief Dave Brailsford said. "But he's a champion, a formidable athlete and will come back winning as he has before."

In last year's race, Froome often cut a frustrated figure on the bike as he looked capable of beating his team leader.

Froome, 28, has been in good form, winning the Tour of Oman, the Criterium International and the Tour of Romandie. But he faces plenty of challengers in the Tour, with Alberto Contador among the threats.

Contador has won the race three times but was stripped of his 2010 victory after testing positive for an illegal substance.

He returned from a two-year ban to win the Tour of Spain last year and has said he deliberately did not enter the Giro d'Italia so he could concentrate on the Tour.

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