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Tour de France Cycling News for October 27, 2005

Edited by Anthony Tan

Le Tour 2006: no team time trial, and no (memory of) Armstrong
- American's reign a 'very long chapter'

By Gerard Knapp, with additional reporting by Tim Maloney in Paris

The old and the new:
Photo ©: AFP
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Missing from the 2006 Tour de France will be a couple of rather contentious characters, the aesthetically pleasing and popular team time trial (TTT), and Lance Armstrong.

The exclusion of the TTT will leave the title of this event safely in the keeping of the Discovery Channel team, hat-trick victors from 2003-05, until the organisers decide to re-introduce the flat-chat burn along French roads that tended to favour the super-squads.

So, Bjarne Riis and Team CSC - and Dave Zabriskie - may now have to live with the biggest 'what if?' of their careers. Like, what if Dave Z didn't lose it on the final corner in last year's TTT, costing CSC a likely victory over Discvovery Channel.

Zabriskie in 05 (CSC)
Photo ©: Sirotti
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The TTT could put the lightweight climbers' teams out the back even before a serious mountain was scaled, but that was until the race organisers effectively neutered its impact on GC by imposing an almost anti-competitive time-loss minimisation scheme. Still, it was a major 'bragging rights' stage that the crowds (and the teams' sponsors) loved. It's unfortunate that cycling fans won't see a CSC versus T-Mobile showdown in the 2006 Tour, as it's likely that the Danish squad would have done a very special time.

But it could be said that the presentation of the 2006 route did more than turn its back on Discovery Channel, the American super-squad. In an extraordinary mission statement by Amaury Sport Organisations's deputy managing director Jean-Marie LeBlanc and director of cycling Christian Prudhomme, the pair said in their introduction to the 2006 event:

"On the 24th of July we turned the page on a long, very long chapter in the history of the Tour de France. And one month later, current events made it clear to us that it was just as well that this was so."

It could only be a reference to seven-time Tour winner Armstrong, and the subsequent doping allegations published in the ASO-owned L'Equipe newspaper that came out one month later (see report).

They continued: "Does this justify closing the entire book and erasing all the emotions that, for so many years, the Tour and its champions have provided us with?

"Taken as a whole, judged on its lifelong worth - like an artist or a poet - and in particular on its future productions, we want to believe that the Tour de France deserves a better fate. The dream that it embodies, the values that it is capable of generating mean that it has a duty to be able to hold its head up in pride."

The jersey winners:
Photo ©: AFP
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While much of this will be subject to wide interpretation, Cyclingnews reporter Tim Maloney said Discovery's director sportif Johan Bruyneel was extremely annoyed at the references, and also the apparent snub of Armstrong in the visual imagery used during the presentation of the 2006 Tour route, with the seven-time winner largely ignored in the video presentation.

Further comments made during and after the presentation were also somewhat inflammatory. It would appear that the race organising arm of the French conglomerate, ASO, has joined with its publishing sister to condemn a seven-time winner.

Cyclingnews will have a full report on reactions to the Tour - and the presentation itself - in a later bulletin.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net

Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews.com

  • Skoda will be back as Tour de France sponsor in 2006, but Cristian Prudhomme will take over the #1 car of Jean Marie Leblanc next year.
  • Gentleman farmer Bernard Hinault, a key member of Le Tour's PR team was nicknamed "Le Blaireau" (The Badger) as a racer due to his temperment, but the Breton has mellowed with age.
  • 1962 World Champion Jean Stablinski explains how he took his World Title to some adoring French fans.
  • Still France's most popular rider, Richard Virenque is retired but still does public relations work for sponsor Quick.Step
  • Davitamon-Lotto team directors Marc Sargeant, Henrik Redant and PR manager Filip Demyttenaere (L-R) like what they hear about the 2006 Tour De France. Well, at least Sargeant and Redant; Demyttenaere is not sure...
  • Tour favorite Ivan Basso (L) and two time Giro winner Gibo Simoni (R) are two of the most stylin' riders in the peloton, on and off the bike.
  • Rabobank's sport director Erik Breukink (L) and team manager Theo De Rooy (C) are engrossed in conversation about the 2006 Tour De France, while CSC bossman Bjarne Riis (R) has that cat-that-ate-the-canary look. Does the daunting Dane know something we don't? Bet on it.

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

Images by Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us

Le Tour 2006
Photo: © ASO
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The Stages

Prologue - July 1: Strasbourg ITT, 7 km
Stage 1 - July 2: Strasbourg - Strasbourg, 183 km
Stage 2 - July 3: Obernai - Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), 223 km
Stage 3 - July 4: Esch-sur-Alzette - Valkenburg (Netherlands), 216 km
Stage 4 - July 5: Huy (Belgium) - Saint-Quentin, 215 km
Stage 5 - July 6: Beauvais - Caen, 219 km
Stage 6 - July 7: Lisieux - Vitré, 184 km
Stage 7 - July 8: Saint-Grégoire - Rennes ITT, 52 km
Stage 8 - July 9: Saint-Méen-le-Grand - Lorient, 177 km
Rest Day - July 10: Bordeaux
Stage 9 - July 11: Bordeaux - Dax, 170 km
Stage 10 - July 12: Cambo-les-Bains - Pau, 193 km
Stage 11 - July 13: Tarbes - Val d'Aran/Pla-de-Beret (Spain), 208 km
Stage 12 - July 14: Luchon - Carcassonne, 211 km
Stage 13 - July 15: Béziers - Montélimar, 231 km
Stage 14 - July 16: Montélimar - Gap, 181 km
Rest Day - July 17: Gap
Stage 15 - July 18: Gap - L'Alpe-d'Huez, 187 km
Stage 16 - July 19: Le Bourg-d'Oisans - La Toussuire, 182 km
Stage 17 - July 20: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne - Morzine, 199 km
Stage 18 - July 21: Morzine - Mâcon, 193 km
Stage 19 - July 22: Le Creusot - Montceau-les-Mines ITT, 56 km
Stage 20 - July 23: Antony (Parc de Sceaux) - Paris Champs-Elysées, 152 km

The mountains

Stage 10 - July 12: Cambo-les-Bains - Pau, 193 km

Km 50

Col d'Osquich

500 m

6 km at 5.3 percent

Km 101.5

Col du Soudet

1,540 m

14.7 km at 7.3 percent

Km 148

Col de Marie Blanque

1,035 m

9.3 km at 7.7 percent


Stage 11 - July 13: Tarbes - Val d'Aran/Pla-de-Beret (Spain), 208 km

Km 76

Col du Tourmalet

2,115 m

18.4 km at 7.7 percent

Km 106

Col d'Aspin

1,489 m

12.3 km at 5.2 percent

Km 137

Col de Peyresourde

1,569 m

9.5 km at 7.1 percent

Km 162

Col du Portillon

1,320 m

7.9 km at 8.4 percent

Km 205


1,860 m

13.5 km at 5.4 percent


Stage 15 - July 18: Gap - L'Alpe-d'Huez, 187 km

Km 86

Col d'Izoard

2,360 m

14.2 km at 7 percent

Km 134

Col du Lautaret

2,058 m

12.1 km at 4.4 percent

Km 187

L'Alpe d'Huez

1,860 m

13.9 km at 7.9 percent


Stage 16 - July 19: Le Bourg-d'Oisans - La Toussuire, 182 km

Km 45.5

Col du Galibier

2,645 m

42.8 km at 4.5 percent

Km 127.5

Col de la Croix-de-Fer

2,067 m

22.7 km at 7 percent

Km 147.5

Col du Mollard

1,638 m

5.8 km at 7 percent

Km 182.5

La Toussuire

1,690 m

18.4 km at 6 percent


Stage 17 - July 20: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne - Morzine, 199 km

Km 82

Col des Saisies

1,650 m

14.9 km at 6.4 percent

Km 108.5

Col des Aravis

1,498 m

5.9 km at 7.3 percent

Km 133.5

Col de la Colombière

1,618 m

11.8 km at 5.9 percent

Km 160.5

Côte de Châtillon

735 m

5.1 km at 4.9 percent

Km 187

Col de Joux-Plane

1,700 m

11.7 km at 8.7 percent


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