This stage preview is available in the following languages:
(We are looking for translations in ALL other languages. Please submit your translation with the stage no. and language in the subject title. If you don't see your preview posted within 12 hours then please resend your preview as an attachment if you didn't already do so because we've had problems with some inline character sets like German.)
June 29 update: The Stage 1 uphill finish in Seraing, Belgium is almost identical in length and steepness (2.4 km @ 4.7 %) to last year's opening stage easily won by Philippe Gilbert on Mont des Alouettes in France. But, 2012 hasn't been good to Gilbert after his move to BMC so it should be a closer finish. Simon Gerrans, Alejandro Valvarde and Cadel Evans, Gilbert's new BMC teammate and last year's stage 1 runner-up, are also good at these short, punchy finishes. Tour de France debutant Peter Sagan, has shown great versatility in his young career, and he'll be a favorite on any of the flat, rolling and lumpy stages at this year's Tour that end with a sprint finish of any kind.
In 1995, on a similar but less hilly Ardennes loop, Johan Bruyneel sat on Miguel Indurain's wheel for 30k in the break before passing him at the line to take the win and the yellow jersey. The next day, Miguel Indurain took revenge by winning a 54 km individual time-trial in Seraing where this year's Stage 1 finishes. Miguel Indurain also took the Yellow Jersey (photo above) that day and went on to claim his fifth and final Tour de France title. The other time Seraing hosted a Tour stage was in 2001 when Erik Zabel won a sprint finish. — Steve