This weekend marks the start of the greatest annual sporting event in the world, the Tour de France. And this year we are missing the winners from 2007, 2009, and 2010 in the form of Alberto Contador (still suspended) and Andy Schleck (broken pelvis in a crash at the Dauphine), leaving the podium spots fairly wide open going into the race. Defending champ Cadel Evans is here and the course definitely suits him, but he will be challenged by pre-race favorite Bradley Wiggins, who has had a year to remember, and dominated Evans in the Dauphine just a couple weeks ago. The reason Wiggins is the favorite though is the presence of 100 km of time trialing in this year's Tour, a departure from recent mountain-heavy races that only had a single time trial. Wiggins is the best overall GC contender at time trialing -- he was for years a specialist in the pursuit a la Fabian Cancellara but lost a bunch of weight to compete in the mountains and has maintained his time trial form. So even though Evans can do a mean time trial (besting Andy Schleck by enough on the final stage of last year's Tour to wrestle victory from him), he's not quite in Wiggins' league. So he will need to take time out of him in the mountains, which is not exactly Evans' strength -- he usually responds to attacks and doesn't initiate, since he always has the time trial superiority over the likes of the Schlecks and other mountain goats. This year, though, the extra 50 km against the clock has everyone picking Wiggins to win. He has the stronger team (Sky, although Evans' relative lack of support from BMC last year didn't hurt him). He's the better time trialist. And he's on the the better form. He's also British and the Brits are hosting the Olympics at the end of the month so it seems fitting. But Wiggins' best place in a Tour de France was a 4th in 2009 so he's not exactly got a lot of experience on the podium in this event. Evans had two 2nds in 2007 and 2008 before winning it all last year. He has definitely been there before. It will be a monster battle, even without Contador and Schleck. I can't wait.