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Le Tour 2001
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89th Tour de France - Grand Tour

France, July 6-28, 2002

2002 Tour de France journals

John Eustice, Tour de France International Show host

Index to all entries

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Photo: © CN

Nationality: American

New Yorker John Eustice is the host of the Tour de France's 2002 International Show, broadcasting to over 30 countries world-wide, with play by play by Phil Ligget. Eustice is covering his ninth Tour De France, his previous eight with ESPN and ABC Sports. In cycling, the 46 year old Eustice was the first-ever USPRO Champion in 1982. Originally from Ivyland, Pennsylvania, Eustice competed in the Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espana and World Cycling Championships. When he's not at the Tour de France, the father of two runs his sports event promotion company Sparta, organizers of the Housatonic Valley Classic and the Univest Grand Prix.

Stage 11 - Thursday July 18: Pau - La Mongie, 158 km

Stage 12 - Friday July 19: Lannenezan - Plateau de Beille, 199.5 km

Allez JaJa!

Laurent Jalabert announced his retirement in the Bordeaux Velodrome on the rest day, in an emotional press conference. Every rider and follower of the Tour was united in praising the career of the French champion, JaJa's professionalism, his wonderful record, and the aggressive style of racing that got him that palmares. Imagine, a sprinter, who turns himself into a world time trial champion, holds the yellow jersey twice, wins five stages, then wins the climbers title at the Tour.

I met Jalabert in 1990 when I was helping the then CoreStates race recruit its foreign contingent. JaJa was then on the Toshiba team, unknown, but you could tell right away he was a champ. He had a focus and calmness about him that was remarkable. While his teammates joked around, Jalabert always brought the conversation back to the bike, and how during every minute in Philly they could do things, and act in a way that would count towards their performance. He was second by inches in the race, and furious about it. Calm, good natured, confident, but with the pride of a champion.

Jalabert went into his retirement phase in a way that has reinforced his already powerful image. Alone, on the legendary Col d'Aubisque, climbed for the 67th time in Tour history, wearing #51, the number generally reserved for great champions, Jalabert literally brought tears to our eyes. The French talk about panache, Americans talk about balls. JaJa's balls are as big as the Aubisque is high. While Virenque and others mug for the camera and court the fans, Jalabert, in the mode of a Joe Dimaggio, races with dignity and absolute skill.

A telling point: the "grab the water bottle from the directeur sportif and hold on while he floors it a bit" trick is common in the pros, commissaires ignore it. JaJa never did it once during his entire breakaway. Champion.

Today he attacked again, as everyone reading this knows of course, and took the polka dot jersey. Once caught, he then went slowly up the last climb, purposefully losing time so he would no longer be a threat on the G.C. JaJa is now free to fly along the roads of the Tour, topping the mountains in front, and in general, performing one of the greatest farewell tours in show business history.

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