The Spaniard seeks another yellow jersey, despite pending court appeals claiming his ineligibility after testing positive for clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour. Contador denies the allegations, attributing the minuscule traces of the drug to contaminated meat.
2 of 10Imago/ZUMApress.com
Last year's Tour was heartbreaking for Andy Schleck. The eventual victor, Alberto Contador, ignored cycling etiquette and accelerated to a 39-second lead while Schleck was sidelined due to a slipped chain. Contador would win by that same margin. A year later, Schleck, riding with team Leapord Trek, is Contador's top contender.
3 of 10Laurent Cipriani/AP
The Briton's discouraging 24th-place finish in the 2010 Tour de France pales in comparison to his other feats: two gold medals in track cycling at the Beijing Olympics, fourth place in the 2009 Tour de France and, most recently, champion of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine. This Saturday, Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky have all the credentials for an intimidating opponent.
4 of 10Francois Lenoir/SI
After placing second at the Criterium du Dauphine, Cadel Evans, who will lead BMC Racing, isn't settling for anything other than the top spot. Says Evans, "I'm not going to ride for second place."
5 of 10Presse Sports/US PRESSWIRE
Frank Schleck and his younger brother, Andy, lead the newly-formed and highly-anticipated team Leopard Trek. Although most eyes will be on Andy and rival Alberto Contador, Frank's potential to pull ahead is not to be overlooked. Last year his race was cut short due to a collar-bone-breaking crash during a treacherous cobblestone section of the third stage.
6 of 10GUY DE VUYST/Landov
Ivan Basso won his native country's tour, the Giro d'Italia, twice (2006, 2010), but this year he decided to pass up defending his title in order to prepare for the Tour de France. He will lead team Liquigas-Cannondale. Basso has not placed in the top three of the Tour de France since 2005.
7 of 10GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO/EPA/Landov
Jurgen Van Den Broeck
Belgium's Jurgen Van Den Broeck placed fifth in last year's Tour de France and won the first stage of this year's Criterium du Dauphine. He will lead the Omega Pharma-Lotto team.
8 of 10Vincent Curutchet/DPPI/Icon SMI
Robert Gesink will lead Rabobank this year after the team's former leader, Denis Menchov, left to race for Team Geox. Gesink placed sixth in the 2010 Tour de France, and Rabobank plans to use all of their resources to help advance their new leader to a podium finish.
9 of 10Bas Czerwinski/AP
Canada is ready for another surprise after native cyclist Ryder Hesjedal unexpectedly placed seventh in last year's Tour. It was the best finish for a Canadian since Steve Bauer in 1988. Hesjedal races with team Garmin Cevelo.
10 of 10Ian Langsdon/EPA/Landov
Olympic gold medalist Samuel Sanchez and team Euskaltel Euskadi still have a bitter taste in their mouth from last year's Tour. The team finished with zero stage wins and their leader, Sanchez, narrowly missed a third-place finish. Determined not to repeat any mistakes, the team will focus on winning stages and Sanchez will ride toward the podium with full-team support.
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