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Tour de France's time trials will be key

Updated: October 19, 2011, 1:19 AM ET
By Bonnie D. Ford | ESPN.com

The 2012 Tour de France starts a week early as a concession to the upcoming Olympics, wheeling out in Liege, Belgium, on June 30 as opposed to its usual blast-off on the first Saturday of July. From there, the race seems in an unusual hurry to get to the traditional loops around the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 22.

Yes, the overall length of the race (2,160 miles) is on a par with recent editions, but there's more individual time trial mileage (just shy of 60 miles) than the Tour peloton ...

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