Tour de France preview: Are you ready?

Six days from now 198 riders will take it in turn to set off around the short prologue course in the Belgian city of Liege to complete the first 6.4km of 3,497km of the best-attended annual sporting event on the planet, in search of a skin-tight yellow jersey. Have you got Yellow Fever yet? If not, here are a few videos to whet your appetite as the first instalment of our week of previews of the 2012 Tour de France.

The route

A quick visual fly-through of this year’s parcours:

2011 race recap

How the 2011 race was won – in three minutes. [The caption suggests these are highlights of the 2012 race – do they know something we don’t? – Ed]:

Cadel Evans

A fan tribute to Cadel Evans‘ historic yellow jersey, as he became the first rider from the southern hemisphere to win the Tour:

Cavendish wins the green jersey

HTC-Highroad’s Mark Cavendish (now with Sky, of course) finally clinches the green jersey by winning for the third consecutive year on the Champs Élysées. Here is the final kilometre and his post-stage interview with ITV:

As well as providing the first two videos above, the official letourdefrance YouTube channel also includes highlights of previous races (back to 2002), a look at the geography of key stages and an overview of the stage towns, with content in multiple languages. Well worth a look!

For the next best thing to be there, visit Cycling the Alps’ interactive stage-by-stage fly-throughs here.

Watch out for more in-depth previews of the 2012 Tour de France this week on VeloVoices, with full in-depth race coverage and analysis to come throughout the race.

Link: Tour de France official website

Giro shorts: Stage 1 preview

Stage 1: Herning to Herning, 8.7km individual time trial

Stage profile: An 8.7km individual time trial around the streets of Herning, the home-town of Saxo Bank team owner Bjarne Riis. The first part of the course is twisty and technical, suiting strong bike-handlers and explosive riders comfortable with continuous hard accelerations. The stop-start nature may also dull the legs of the more traditional time trial specialists, preventing them from fully using their power to exploit the more flowing second half of the course. The fastest finishers should duck just under 11 minutes. Continue reading