Tour De France 2012: Cycling's Greatest Race Begins June 30

CAMBRAI FRANCE - JULY 07: The riders prepare for the start of stage four of the 2010 Tour de France from Cambrai to Reims on July 7 2010 in Cambrai France. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

The 2012 Tour de France is almost here. On June 30, the world's greatest cyclists will begin competition for the most coveted prize in the sport.

The most well-known and prestigious race in the world of professional cycling is indisputably the Tour de France. The 2012 edition will begin on Saturday, June 30 and will last for the better part of a month, finally wrapping up on Sunday, July 22.

The grueling 20-stage race begins in Liege and finishes along the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Cadel Evans of Australia will be returning to defend his 2011 title, but he will need to deal with a very deep talent pool that includes Bradley Wiggins, a British cyclist who is on an absolute tear in stage races this year.

Although the big names of the past like Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador will not be participating, the competition will be fierce, with Giro d'Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal and Tour of California winner Robert Gesink will be in the mix.

For all news and information regarding the 2012 Tour de France, please stay tuned to this StoryStream. For all things cycling, please visit Podium Cafe.

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