It’s ‘le Grand Depart’ for the 2012 Tour de France

BRADLEY Wiggins and Cadel Evans start as the favourites for this year’s Tour de France, the 99th in its history.

In what could potentially be a classic Brit v Aussie clash, Wiggins, 32, will be looking to overcome the disappointment of last year’s crash which brought his involvement in the Tour to a premature end, while Evans, 35, won the Tour last year and will not give up his title lightly.

Wiggins has had a stunning season so far, being virtually unbeaten in road stages and having won Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandy and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Evans on paper is the better ‘all-round’ rider but it will be interesting if he is able to cope with the pressure.

The other contenders for the maillot jaune include Denis Menchov, Vincenzo Nibali, Levi Leipheimer and Ryder Hesjedal.

In terms of the best sprinter, Mark Cavendish is again the odds-on favourite, but will his Olympics preparation be too much of a distraction?

Watch out for Peter Sagan, Marcel Kittel, Matt Goss, José Joaquin Rojas and André Greipel, who will all be strongly competing for the green jersey.

This year’s route begins in Liege and covers almost 3,500km over the next three weeks, ending on July 22 on the Champs-Elysées.

There are nine flat stages, four medium mountain stages, five mountain stages, two individual time-trials, one prologue and two rest days.

Who do you think will win?

Will the British duo come out on top?

Leave your thoughts below.