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Tour De France 2012 Standings: Assessing the Leaderboard Heading into Stage 20

CHARTRES, FRANCE - JULY 21:  Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain riding for Sky Procycling races to first place in the individual time trial in stage nineteen and defends the race leader's yellow jersey in the 2012 Tour de France from Bonneval to Chartres on July 21, 2012 in Chartres, France.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2012

There is scant drama atop the Tour de France leaderboard as we head into Stage 20, the final stage in the annual cycling race.

Bradley Wiggins has a nearly insurmountable lead in the general classification (the one most people are familiar with), finishing Stage 19 with a 3:21 gap between him and second place Christopher Froome. The entire top five looks like this:

Rank

Name Nationality Total Time Gap

1

Bradley Wiggins Great Britain 84:26:31 N/A
2 Christopher Froome Great Britain 84:29:52 +3:21
3 Vincenzo Nibali Italy 84:32:50 +6:19
4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck Belgium 84:36:46 +10:15
5 Tejay Van Garderen United States 84:37:35 +11:04

 

True, there are large, settled gaps at the top, but there are still a couple of storylines to watch in the tour's final stage:

 

How Big Will Wiggins' Final Gap Be?

With a 3:21 lead heading into the final leg, Wiggins has a chance to make recent history with his final victory margin.

Since Jan Ullrich's dominant performance at the '97 tour, the record for victory margin (excluding Lance Armstrong victories) is 4:11, the distance between Alberto Contador and the closest competitor in 2009.

If Wiggins is able to finish 51 seconds ahead of Froome on Sunday, he can win by the largest non-Armstrong margin in the past 15 years. That's an impressive feat.

 

Can Tejay Van Garderen Finish in the Top Four?

No American who wasn't named Lance Armstrong has finished in the top four since 2007, but Van Garderen has an outside chance of doing just that.

With around three minutes separating the top four riders in the field, Van Gardenen versus Van Den Broeck (the battle of Vans!) is the highest-profile contest that could come down to the wire in the tour's final stage.

Van Garderen only needs to make up 49 seconds to best Van Den Broeck, a realistic feat considering he was 1:48 faster in Stage 19.

 

It's not the most thrilling finish the tour has ever seen, but Wiggins and Van Garderen still provide reason to watch, as does all the pageantry that accompanies the end of the race.

Here's a quick recap of Stage 19 for those who missed the action:

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