PARIS -- Chris Froome has a chance to prove over the next three weeks what some suspected in 2012 -- that he could have won last years Tour de France if he hadnt had to give way for his teammate, Bradley Wiggins. Foyesade Oluokun Jersey . Now Wiggins is out injured and that makes the Kenyan-born Briton the favourite to triumph on a particularly mountainous route this year, one that should suit his climbing skills. The 100th edition of the Tour begins Saturday in Corsica -- Frances "Island of Beauty" in the Mediterranean -- the first time cyclings greatest race has set wheel to road in the land of Napoleons birthplace. Another key plotline: the shadow of Lance Armstrong. This the first Tour since he was stripped of his record seven victories for doping, which he finally admitted after years of denials following a detailed report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. While Armstrong will have no involvement in this years race, fans and media will have a close eye on performance-enhancing drug use in the peloton. That 198-rider peloton, or pack, is to cover 3,479 kilometres (2,162 miles) over three weeks -- 21 stages and two rest days -- before an unusual nighttime finish July 21 on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. The race spends three days on Corsicas winding, hilly roads then begins a counterclockwise run through mainland France along the Mediterranean, into the Pyrenees mountains, then up to Brittany and the fabled Mont-Saint-Michel island citadel before a slashing jaunt southeastward toward the Alps before entering the capital. Long before they knew Wiggins would be out, race organizers gave relatively short shrift to the time trial -- a race-against the clock in which last years champ excels. Theres no opening-day time-trial. The team time-trial returns to the Tour in Stage 4. Two individual time-trials in Stage 11 (33 km, 20.5 miles) and Stage 17 (32 km; 19.8 miles) will count, but the latter one comes before three days in the Alps, which may have more impact on the race outcome. Froome, the 28-year-old Team Sky leader, has ridden in two other Tours. His dazzling start to the season -- winning four of the five races he started -- and his second-place finish behind his British compatriot last year has put him on the top rung of Tour favourites. Last year, Froome was a dutiful, if not always respectful, sidekick to Wiggins. Froome injected drama into the race -- and fanned talk of rivalry -- after he repeatedly outperformed Wiggins in the mountains. At one point, he even gestured at his Team Sky leader to catch up. At the time, Wiggins acknowledged Froome had "talent," but also didnt know what it was like to feel the pressure of being the favourite. Now is Froomes chance, and so far he has seemed to manage the pressure: He won the Tour of Oman, the Criterium International, the Tour of Romandie and the Criterium du Dauphine this year. His only loss this season? Second place in the Tirreno-Adriatico. Two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador is seen as Froomes most likely challenger. The Spaniards career hit a speed bump in 2010 when he tested positive for the banned fat-burning, muscle-building drug clenbuterol at the Tour -- landing him a ban that forced him to sit out last years race. He hasnt yet revived the fear and admiration that his sharp uphill accelerations once inspired. American Tejay Van Garderen, who was a support rider for BMC leader Cadel Evans of Australia last year, will be among the rising stars to watch. The 24-year-old took home the white jersey awarded to the Tours best young rider last year. The question now is whether 2011 Tour champion Evans, now 36, will be in contention enough for Van Garderen to stay in a support role: If not, he could be cut loose. Froome, Contador and Van Garderen are potential contenders for the overall, general classification -- or GC -- victory because they fare well at both mountain-climbing and time trials, the two pillars of todays stage-race competitions. Other would-be contenders include Evans, Jurgen Van Den Broeck of Belgium, a two-time fourth place finisher, Ryder Hesjedal of Canada -- who crashed out last year -- and Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain. The route is among the most mountainous in recent years. Stage 15 on July 14 -- Frances national Bastille Day holiday -- features an uphill finish on the barren Mont Ventoux in Provence. The years "Queen Stage" comes four days later in Stage 18, with not one but two runs up the famed Alpe-dHuez. Froome said Tour planners were "bordering on sadistic" with the selection of the Alpe dHuez stage. Before then, race contenders must emerge unscathed and in contention after the Pyrenees -- including an uphill finish at Ax-3-Domaines ski station in Stage 8 -- and avoid crashes that often bedevil the flat stages. Look for nervous, jostling, and adrenaline-fueled finishes on those days, when sprinters will shine. This years sprinter crop is among the best among recent Tours, headlined by British superstar Mark Cavendish. The 28-year-old native of the Isle of Man, garnering him the "Manx Missile" moniker among fellow Britons and cycling buffs, is the best sprinter of his generation. Cavendish already has 23 Tour stage victories, putting him fourth on the all-time list. Even as cycling tries to get past the doping legacy embodied by the Armstrong saga, the plague of drugs cheats continues. In May, the Italian Giro was marred by three doping cases. Danilo di Luca, who won that race in 2007, tested positive for banned blood booster EPO -- long the designer drug for riders. Fellow Italian Mauro Santambrogio, who won a stage this year, also tested positive for EPO. Frances Sylvain Georges tested positive for Heptaminol, a banned stimulant. Froome said the Armstrong revelations were "a big hit" to both fans and riders, who are now "all being painted with the same brush" -- even if the sport is among the groundbreakers when it comes to anti-doping controls. "I am confident in the testing thats in place," Froome said. "Its up to us to use this as an opportunity to show that the sport has changed and that this is a completely different cycling to that (Armstrong) era." Deadrin Senat Jersey . Meanwhile, there were huge victories for Sunderland and West Ham over fellow relegation rivals, leaving the battle to avoid the drop up for grabs with the bottom 11 teams separated by just six points. Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres scored second-half goals to seal a fourth straight victory for Chelsea, which climbed above Arsenal and Manchester City in the standings ahead of their games on Monday and Sunday respectively. Falcons Official Jerseys . JOHNS, N. http://www.authenticfalconsshopnfl.com/ . -- Most satisfying to Russ Smith about No. COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- In the weeks leading up to the Baseball Hall of Fame induction, the prevailing theme was, Two players -- different paths. Ken Griffey Jr. was the talented wunderkind who seemed destined for greatness from the moment the Seattle Mariners chose him No. 1 in the 1987 draft. Mike Piazza was the gifted hitter whose lack of speed and defensive skill heralded little opportunity until Tommy Lasorda hounded the Dodgers into selecting him in the 62nd round in 1988.Now the two sluggers will be linked in baseball history -- most notably, in the Hall of Plaques in Cooperstown -- as members of the Class of 2016. Piazza and Griffey delivered bookend speeches before a crowd of 50,000 Sunday, and next year theyll have the luxury of returning, playing golf and enjoying the surroundings sans pressure, if they so desire.They each took roads that not many have ever traveled, said former Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Eric Karros, Piazzas best friend in baseball. Mike was the late-round draft pick with people doubting him along the way. Junior had the expectations of having a successful big-league dad. But they both did it on their own. There werent any shortcuts. I think that added a human quality to the display of emotion you saw here.For all their differences, Griffey and Piazza have spent enough time together over the past few months to discover theyre kindred spirits in many ways. Amid the plaudits and the shoutouts -- and so many cheers -- they have learned theyre more alike than their baseball résumés would suggest.Theyre both softiesAlong with Frank Thomas tear-filled induction speech and Bill Mazeroski turning into a puddle and cutting his speech short in 2001, this was among the most emotionally wrenching induction ceremony in memory. Piazza sobbed while discussing his relationship with his father, and he choked up in recalling the influence that former Dodgers coach Reggie Smith had in saving his career when he briefly walked away from the game in the minor leagues.It was a sequence of events Piazza predicted recently when he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live.Jimmy sent me a text and I said, Im gonna cry, Piazza recalled. And he said, Real men cry at funerals and when they get inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. So dont worry about it. Griffey was such a mess, he commenced crying less than a minute into his speech while thanking the Baseball Writers Association for voting him into Cooperstown. In hindsight, he violated a cardinal rule by looking down into the crowd at his sons Trey and Tevin, and his daughter, Taryn, against the advice of his fellow Hall of Famers.Thats probably the first time in a long time Ive seen Junior come out of his security blanket and lose his composure, said former Seattle Mariners outfielder Jay Buhner, Griffeys closest friend in the game. It was good to see him let his hair down, per se, and let the emotions flow. I love it. How can you not get choked up talking about your family? I got choked up listening to Piazza, too. I would have been crying like a little baby if I was up there.They have the makings of a comedy actBoth players revealed their senses of humor throughout the weekend, whether in their speeches or in dealing with the obligatory rookie hazing from their veteran Hall of Fame counterparts.They told me I had to sing with the band in the bar, Piazza said. So I started playing drums and then I went to singing, and my wife came running in and said, The bartender just said, Quick, get him back on the drums.When Wade Boggs started singing Knights in White Satin by the Moody Blues, it got a little scary and a little weird, so I knew I had to get out of there. I think Kenny got out of there, too.Griffey apparently relied on superior instincts and anticipation to avoid the indignity of singing for the established Hall of Famers.They tried it with me, but I acted like I had to go to the bathroom, Griffey said.Their challenges were different, but equally imposingThe definitive video from Piazzas formative years came when he was 15 years old, and Ted Williams visited the family home near Philadelphia to watch him hit off a machine in a batting cage. For as long as anyone can remember, Piazza was a cage rat and a grinder.I just think of the way he worked to get here, said Vince Piazza, Mikes fathher. Falcons Stitched Jerseys. If you did that today with your kid, theyd get you for child abuse. I would never let up on him. He would go to sleep at night, and Id put a gripper in each hand and he had to do 100 squeezes before he went to sleep. It was, Hey Dad, whatever you throw at me, Ill take it and do some more. He was a workaholic -- and it paid off.Griffeys smooth swing and athletic gifts obscured a love for the game and a natural tendency to hurtle into walls in pursuit of baseballs. Its a wonder he didnt spend more time on the disabled list early in his career.There was always a tug-and-pull and a responsibility to follow his fathers footsteps and live up to a reputation, Buhner said. When youre labeled a five-tool guy, especially at an early age, there are going to be some distractions. Year after year, you saw the maturity start to sink in, and you knew he was going to be a special player. I think [his wife] Melissa was his foundation. She kicked him in the ass and kept him in line.They have a kinship with their citiesWhen Griffey was a senior at Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati and it began to become clear that Seattle would pick him first in the draft, he asked his father, Ken Sr., Wheres Seattle?After breaking in with the Mariners as a 19-year-old rookie in 1989, Griffey played in the same outfield with his father, scored the climactic run in Seattles stirring 1995 division win over the New York Yankees, hit 417 home runs and made 10 All-Star teams in a Seattle uniform.Randy Johnson made five All-Star teams in Seattle and won his first Cy Young Award as a Mariner, but entered the Hall of Fame in an Arizona Diamondbacks cap. Edgar Martinez was such a dominant designated hitter that baseballs top DH award is named after him, but he has yet to surpass 43.4 percent of the vote in a year. So the honor of Seattles only Hall of Famer rests with Griffey, and he carries it with pride.I spent 13 years there, Griffey said. I met my wife there. Trey and Taryn were born there. I have so many friends who still live there. I came from Cincinnati, where its black and white. You go to Seattle and its a melting pot. You see everybody. My first two years, I lived downtown. They have such a warm heart there. Theres not a mean spirit. People care about each other.Even now when I go downtown, its, Hey Ken. How you doing? Congratulations. The other question is, When are you going to own the team? Piazza joins Tom Seaver, who entered the Hall of Fame with 98.8 percent of the vote in 1992, as the second player to enter in a Mets cap. Gary Carter, a big part of the Mets 1986 world championship team, went into the Hall of Fame as a Montreal Expo.Piazzas emotional ties to New York are most profound whenever clips are shown of his 2001 home run that propelled the Mets past Atlanta in the first game back from the World Trade Center attacks. Almost 15 years after the two-run shot cleared the fence at Shea Stadium, Piazza is a constant witness to the impact the moment has had on others. It was a recurrent theme on Hall of Fame weekend.The significance for me, personally, is the amount of people I see who want to talk about that moment, Piazza said. I was sitting on a plane one time with my headphones on. It was a four-hour flight, and just as the plane was landing, the guy next to me said, You know, I lost my brother on 9/11, and I was at that game and I just want to thank you for what you did. I was completely blown away. I listened to him and told him a few stories and he really enjoyed it.Piazza maintains, to this day, that the first responders, firefighters, police and families who had to move on from 9/11 were the true heroes. If entering the Hall of Fame in a Mets cap can enhance the positive feelings he provided during an indescribably low point for the city and the nation, hes on board.The way I feel about it, this is a gift to the Mets, Piazza said. Coming to the cauldron of New York after playing on the West Coast [with the Dodgers] in a more laid-back atmosphere, it was different. But it made me better. To join Tom Seaver, and everything he encompasses as such a legendary Met, is something thats very meaningful to me. Cheap NFL T-shirts Wholesale Jerseys NFL Jerseys China Jerseys NFL Cheap Cheap NFL Black Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Youth NFL Jerseys China ' ' '