Tour De France 2012: Why England Is Dominating Thus Far

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Tour De France 2012: Why England Is Dominating Thus Far
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

The 99th Tour de France may be hosted by the French, but it's the British that are dominating the race thus far.

Headlined by Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins.

Wiggins, one of the heavy betting favorites entering the biggest race in cycling, already holds the yellow jersey after a dominating time trial victory on Stage 9.

The time trial is the race that often separates the real contenders from the pretenders. It's an individual race, which is different from the majority of stages. In most stages, riders can conserve energy by staying within the pack and drafting with teammates before making their moves.

In the time trials, riders have no such option, and can only rely on their strength as a rider.

The best all-around riders excel in the trials, and Wiggins dominated.

He paced the field by almost two full minutes, and really separated himself from most of the other notable yellow jersey rivals. This includes Cadel Evans, last year's Tour winner, who finished second to Wiggins on the stage and is now 1.53 minutes behind him in the overall standings. 

Wiggins, a former indoor track specialist, is now entirely focused on success in road racing and could become the first Englishman to ever win the Tour de France.

He has the speed to excel on the flat stages and the time trials, but what will determine where he finishes at the end of the race is his performances in the mountains.

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Wiggins has been around cycling for a long time. He has multiple Olympic track medals to his credit, including a pair of golds in 2008.

However, he is still a bit new to the world of road racing. He didn’t start truly focusing on the art until after 2008.

This brings into question his ability to handle the rugged stages in the Alps. These are always the most exciting stages, as the true contenders break away from the pack and push for individual glory and their rivals are forced to give chase.

Wiggins had struggled on these stages early in his road course career, but he proved his ability to handle them earlier this season winning two tune-up stages leading up to the Tour.

Wiggins has all of the talent needed to win the biggest race in cycling. If he can grind out the stages in the hills, he should be standing on the podium in Paris wearing yellow.

The British might not have been able to get it done at Wimbledon, but at least their streak in Paris will be broken.

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