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For more than a century the Tour de France has been etched into European culture. The three week cycle race has generated many sporting traditions since 1903 when it was first held, most enjoyed by the French themselves and later shared by Italians, Dutch, Belgians, Germans and Spaniards who have now also conquered this magnificent spectacle.

However, in the 2012Tour De France we see a wave of English speaking riders now dominating the Tour, epitomised by the pre-race favourites - British hope Bradley Wiggins and Australian Cadel Evans. Throw in the arrival of Australia's first ever licensed team to appear at the Tour - Orica-Green EDGE, and the Tour's status as a global event, rather than one catering for a Euro audience, is roundly confirmed. In 2012, a record 12 Australians started the 3,500km journey from the Belgian city of Liege - with no guarantee that they would reach the Paris finish on the Champs Elysees three weeks later.

Bradley Wiggins, a multiple Olympic and world track champion, in peak form having won every race he's competed in for the six months leading up to the Tour, fronted up looking to become the first British rider to win the Tour. Cadel Evans, also a world champion, brought enviable experience having created history 12 months earlier by winning the 2011 Tour. But staying upright and healthy, and conquering the elements Mother Nature serves up, are just some of the hurdles the Warriors of the Road must endure during what is surely the world's most unique and toughest sporting event.

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