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TDF News Flash for October 26, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown

2007 Tour offers a modern yet classic parcours

Landis snubbed as ASO unveils route where tough Pyrenean stages will be crucial

By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Paris

Le Tour 2007
Photo: © ASO
Click for larger image

"After all that happened in 2006 we really believe cycling deserves a second chance," said Patrice Clerc, President of ASO, today at the unveiling of the 2007 Tour de France. At the presentation in Paris, Clerc was alluding to the problems of this past year while delivering a classical and challenging 2007 parcours.

"We think that these problems also bring a lot of hope for solving the problem of the doping in cycling. ... 2007 will be a fantastic start in the great capital of London and a great expression for a renewed Tour de France."

Today, Thursday afternoon, La Grand Boucle was revealed to included 3547 kilometres of riding over 20 stages, starting in London and ending in Paris. There will be a total of 11 flat stages, 2 individual time trials and 6 mountain stages, with three being mountain top finishes. There is only the standard two rest days but the riders will note the lack of long transfers, allowing the focus to be on the actual racing.

As referenced to earlier in the day by Cyclingnews, the 2007 route will take the peloton in a clock-wise motion; hitting the alpine stages before the Pyrenees. Here, near Spain, more focus has been given this year, where there are three serious mountainous tests, with a rest day scheduled in Pau before the third. The two hard days, followed by the rest day, will surely produce a stunning shake up when the riders arrive, after 218 km, on the top of the Col d’Aubisque.

Following the Pyrenees, the race will offer the standard weekend finale: Saturday will be a time trail in Cognac and Sunday the flat dash into Paris.

(A more detailed report with more reactions to follow. Meanwhile, Cyclingnews has already taken a lap of the prologue course in London - see our report.)

Landis - the mirror cracked

By Gerard Knapp

Christian Prudhomme (TDF Race Director) in front of grand Tour
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
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The presentation of this year's route was not without its controversial moment, as the traditional eight-minute film that is shown during the presentation - reviewing the most recent Tour and other great moments in the race - ended with the American winner of the 2006 Tour, Floyd Landis, on the winner's podium, but then the image then changed to become a cracked mirror.

Landis, who failed a doping test taken during this year's Tour, was not invited to attend Thursday's presentation. He strenuously denies the doping charge and is mounting a spirited defense. While there has been no official change to the results - as this cannot be done until the legal process involved in suspending an athlete has runs its course - it appears that ASO no longer considers him to be the champion.

"The deception we felt was capital," said Tour de France race director, Christian Prudhomme. "Doping is the number one problem in sport." But Prudhomme said he felt deceived by the American. "We got hit over the back of the head by what happened," he said.

ASO seems unaffected by Landis' claim that he did not use testosterone - or any other illegal performance enhancing substances - to win the 2006 Tour. Landis' position should be resolved in still-to-be-announced hearings to be held by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Floyd Landis (Phonak)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Landis has mounted a spirited defense and engaged leading lawyer, Howard Jacobs, at considerable expense to prepare his case, which has included a PR offensive (see report), such as publishing several documents claiming to show inconsistencies in the tests that allegedly detected synthetic testosterone in his urine samples from the now-infamous stage 17 of the 2006 Tour, where Landis put in what was said to be - at the time - one of the greatest solo rides in Tour history. (See the Cyclingnews report analysing the documents Landis has published as part of his PR offensive.)

"The events of the summer have left their mark," Prudhomme said. "Indeed, not all of them have been resolved," he said in reference to the ongoing issue. "But if the spirit present in Strasbourg at the end of June (where favourites such as Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso were withdrawn from the race due to allegations contained in the Spanish Operacion Puerto investigation) is indeed the expression of a staunch and shared commitment to fight against doping, then not only do we have nothing to fear in the future, but everything to hope for."

Prudhomme pointed to the support of the Tour shown by London Mayor, Ken Livingstone. "When you have the major of the financial capital of Europe saying he wants the Tour to be in London ... that is very seductive," he said. "In 2007 the Tour de France will be long awaited, closely watched, observed."

Indeed it will. Cyclingnews will continue its coverage with more reactions to follow.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Luc Claessen/www.ctm-images.com

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Brecht Decaluwé/Cyclingnews.com

  • Compiégne the typical start town of Paris-Roubaix

Images by Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com

The Stages

Prologue - July 7: London - London, 8 km
Stage 1 - July 8: London - Canterbury, 203 km
Stage 2 - July 9: Dunkirk - Gent, 167 km
Stage 3 - July 10: Waregem - Compiègne, 236 km
Stage 4 - July 11: Villers-Cotterêts - Joigny, 190 km
Stage 5 - July 12: Chablis - Autun, 184 km
Stage 6 - July 13: Semur-en-Auxois - Bourg-en-Bresse, 200 km
Stage 7 - July 14: Bourg-en-Bresse - Le-Grand-Bornand, 197 km
Stage 8 - July 15: Le-Grand-Bornand - Tignes, 165 km
Rest Day - July 16: Tignes
Stage 9 - July 17: Val-d’Isère - Briançon, 161 km
Stage 10 - July 18: Tallard - Marseille, 229 km
Stage 11 - July 19: Marseille - Montpellier, 180 km
Stage 12 - July 20: Montpellier - Castres, 179 km
Stage 13 - July 21: Albi - Albi, 54 km
Stage 14 - July 22: Mazamet - Plateau-de-Beille, 197 km
Stage 15 - July 23: Foix - Loudenvielle - Le Louron, 196 km
Rest Day - July 24: Pau
Stage 16 - July 25: Orthez - Gourette - Col d’Aubisque, 218 km
Stage 17 - July 26: Pau - Castelsarrasin, 188 km
Stage 18 - July 27: Cahors - Angoulême, 210 km
Stage 19 - July 28: Cognac - Angoulême, 55 km
Stage 20 - July 29: Marcoussis - Paris Champs-Élysées, 130 km
Total Length: 3547 km

The Mountains

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Stage 7, Bourg-en-Bresse - Le-Grand-Bornand, 197 km
Km 35: Côte de Corlier, 5,9 km at a 5,5%
Km 122: Côte des Petits-Bois, 7,1 km at a 4,4%
Km 134: Côte Peguin, 4,3 km at a 4,1%
Km 183: Col de la Colombière, 16 km at a 6,7%

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Stage 8, Le-Grand-Bornand - Tignes, 165 km
Km 15: Col du Marais, 3.8 km at a 4.1%
Km 21: Côte du Bouchet-Mont-Charvin, 1.6 km at a 7.6%
Km 46: Col de Tamié, 9.5 km at a 4%
Km 99: Cormet de Roselend, 19.9 km at a 6%
Km 137: Montée de Hauteville, 15.3 km at a 4.7%
Km 163: Le Lac (Tignes), 17.9 km at a 5.5%

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Stage 9, Val-d’Isère - Briançon, 161 km
Km 15: Col de l’Iseran, 15 km at a 6%
Km 99: Col du Télégraphe, 12 km at a 6.7%
Km 122: Col du Galibier, 17.5 km at a 6.9%

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Stage 14, Mazamet - Plateau-de-Beille, 197 km
Km 9: Côte de Sarraille, 9 km at a 5.2%
Km 146: Port de Pailhères, 16.8 km at a 7.2%
Km 197: Plateau-de-Beille, 15.9 km at a 7.9%

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Stage 15, Foix - Loudenvielle - Le Louron, 196 km
Km 27: Col de Port, 11.4 km at a 5.3%
Km 98: Col de Portet d’Aspet, 5.7 km at a 6.9%
Km 114: Col de Menté, 7 km at a 8.1%
Km 159: Port de Balès, 19.2 km at a 6.2%
Km 184: Col de Peyresourde, 9.7 km at a 7.8%

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Stage 16, Orthez - Gourette - Col d’Aubisque, 218 km
Km 81: Col de Larraut, 14.2 km at a 8%
Km 132: Col de la Pierre Saint-Martin, 14 km at a 5.2%
Km 175: Col de Marie-Blanque, 9.3 km at a 7.7%
Km 218: Col d’Aubisque, 16.4 km at a 6.9%

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