Five cyclists to watch in the Tour de France

Five cyclists to watch

Lance Armstrong

Team: Astana

Country: United States

Age: 37

Need to know: Has won the tour an unprecedented seven straight times (1999-2005).

Alberto Contador

Team: Astana

Country: Spain

Age: 26

Need to know: Won the tour in 2007; team wasn't allowed in last year because of previous members' connections to doping scandals.

Cadel Evans

Team: Silence Lotto

Country: Australia

Age: 32

Need to know: Finished a close second in the tour in 2007 and 2008.

Andy Schleck

Team: Saxo Bank

Country: Luxembourg

Age: 23

Need to know: Best young rider in last year's tour; supported former teammate and winner, Carlos Sastre.

Denis Menchov

Team: Rabobank

Country: Russia

Age: 31

Need to know: Fourth in last year's tour; won this year's Giro d'Italia.

Five days to watch

Stage 1, Saturday. Individual time trial (9.6 miles) in Monaco.

Stage 9, July 12. Saint-Gaudens to Tarbes (99.7 miles). Last of three straight days in the Pyrenees; includes the classic climb of the Col du Tourmalet.

Stage 17, July 22. Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Le Grand-Bornand (105.3 miles). Five grueling mountain climbs.

Stage 18, July 23. Individual time trial (25.2 miles) in Annecy. Scenic course around Lake Annecy likely would be decisive were it not for …

Stage 20, July 25. Montelimar to Mont Ventoux (103.8 miles). The penultimate stage ends with a daunting beyond-category climb.

Five cyclists to watch in the Tour de France 07/02/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 2, 2009 9:27pm]

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