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Tour de France News for July 4, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Teams prepare for Tour

It's about the bike
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With the teams presentation due to take place later today (Friday), the various teams used Thursday as a last chance for some solid training before the prologue on Saturday. Most of the teams are staying outside of Paris, and training typically took place in the countryside east of the French capital. Getting into Paris for the medical check in and press conferences was a problem for many teams, due to the traffic congestion that has gripped the city of late.

US Postal-Berry Floor did its training ride in the morning, riding for two hours near Compiegne on their time trial bikes. Lance Armstrong had several media commitments, including his press conference, and when he arrived at the Parc des Expositions for the latter, there was the usual chaos. "It's truly my favourite moment of the Tour," he said sarcastically. After dinner on the Champs Elysées, Armstrong was a guest on the France 2 TV show at the Hotel de Ville presented by Michel Drucker, which featured several other riders.

Ag2r-Prevoyance checked out the team time trial course between Joinville and Saint-Dizier.

Team Bianchi will have its medical check and press conference today, thus could afford a little more time to train. Jan Ullrich and the team rode for four hours, and Ullrich also appeared on the Hotel de Ville TV show later.

Brioches la Boulangère did a 120 km ride near Roissy (near the Charles de Gaulle airport). They did their medical check and then quickly hit the road to test team time trial equipment.

Cofidis checked out some of Sunday's first stage between Montgeron and Meaux, and reportedly it was quite windy.
Go Stuey
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Credit Agricole did 90 km yesterday afternoon, 15 km of which was team time trial work. Christophe Moreau says he is in good form and happy to be starting the Tour without injury, unlike last year. His big objective is the time trial on July 18, between Gaillac and Cap Découverte.

FDJeux.com did 70 km on their new road bikes with the new 10 speed Dura Ace. Then they hopped on their time trial machines for another 70 km. That was followed by the medical check in and a massage.

iBanesto.com was content with a four hour ride.

Lotto-Domo rode for three hours in the morning. Rik Verbrugghe's throat is still sore and he's not thinking of the prologue, but more the second week.

The ONCE team ended up doing five hours of training, because they won't have time to train today with the medical check and the team presentation. "It's not what we wanted to do," Manolo Saiz told L'Equipe. "We would have preferred to split the training over two days."

Quick.Step-Davitamon rode in the afternoon. Later, Richard Virenque did the TV show at the Hotel de Ville.

Rabobank rode for four hours. Michael Boogerd is feeling better after not starting in the Dutch Championships due to stomach problems.

Saeco did an afternoon ride in the rain as well as the medical check. Salvatore Commesso, who crashed in the Tour de Suisse and injured his coccyx, is evidently OK.

Team Telekom saw Erik Zabel in his German champion's jersey for the first time. They spent the day testing time trial bikes.

Health checks OK

Watch where you're pointing that thing...
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The majority of the Tour peloton (save for Kelme, Gerolsteiner and Bianchi) underwent compulsory blood and urine testing on Thursday, to determine whether all riders were fit to start in the centenary Tour. The remaining teams will be tested today (Friday). So far, no riders have failed the haematocrit and haemoglobin tests.


The salary of a Tour winner

There is no question that Lance Armstrong is the highest paid rider in cycling, with his annual salary estimated at upwards of US$15 million. It may seem a lot for riding a bike, but Armstrong - like his colleagues in cycling and other top sports - is paid large sums of cash by companies to promote their products and services.

A recent report in De Telegraaf provided a simple breakdown of Armstrong's salary. It reported that his base contract with US Postal was worth US$4 million per year. On top of this was a cut of the US$3.5 million in prize money that the team won during the year. Each of his major personal sponsors: Subaru, Nike, Coca-Cola and Bristol-Myers Squibb, were worth more than US$2 million per year, in exchange for which he has to be available for 45 days of the year. Armstrong's Subaru contract alone is said to be worth US$12.5 million for five years. Finally, for US$120,000 Armstrong is available for public speaking appointments.

On the other hand, and unlike many well paid sportspeople, Armstrong also gives a lot of his time to charity. The Lance Armstrong Foundation, set up to help cancer sufferers, has raised US$23 million in funds.

Some Tour numbers

1 Departure into another country (Spain, Stage 14)
2 Rest Days (July 16 and 22)
3 Mountaintop finishes (l'Alpe d'Huez, Ax-Bonascre, Luz Ardiden)
4 Jersey types (Yellow (GC), Green (points), Polka Dot (mountains), White (young rider))
5 Hors Categorie climbs: Galibier, l'Alpe d'Huez, Izoard, Tourmalet, Luz Ardiden
6 French Teams
9 Riders per team
21 Stages, including the prologue
22 Teams
52 Categorised climbs
90th Edition of the Tour de France
100th Year of the Tour de France
102.5 km Total length of individual time trials
152 km Shortest road stage (Stage 20, Ville d'Avray - Paris Champs-Elysées)
230.5 km Longest road stage (Stage 7, Lyon - Morzine)
20 million Calories burnt by the Tour peloton during the race
15 million Roadside spectators

Historical Tour numbers

Largest time gap between winner and runner-up: 2h 49min between Maurice Garin and Lucien Pothier in 1903

Smallest gap between winner and runner-up: 8 seconds between Greg Lemond and Laurent Fignon in 1989

Nationalities of Tour winners

France: 36
Belgium: 18
Italy: 9
Spain: 8
United States: 7
Luxembourg: 4
Netherlands: 2
Switzerland: 2
Germany: 1
Denmark: 1
Ireland: 1

Shortest race: 1904: 2,388 km Longest race: 1926: 5,745 km Slowest race: 1919, 1920, 1924, 1926: 24 km/h Fastest race: 1999: 40.3 km/h Most difficult race: 1919: 85% of competitors dropped out Easiest race: 2002: 19 % of competitors dropped out

Cyclingnews Fantasy Tour Game

With prizes being added almost daily to Cyclingnews' Fantasy Tour Game, now is the time to register your team. The Major Prize on offer is a limited-edition, Giant TCR 100 composite beauty with full Campagnolo Record groupset, 2003 Campagnolo Bora wheels, Nokon cables and a host of lightweight goodies that will result in a machine coming in well under the 7kg in weight and worth 10,000 euros. In addition, there's an autographed ONCE jersey from the TdF team, as well as a Giro helmet.

We're also offering great supplementary prizes, including a full Veloce groupset from Campagnolo, team issue helmets from Giro and Bell, as well as the latest Arione saddle from fi'zi:k, a set of Speedplay Zero pedals, as used by CSC, and even more prizes to come.

For your chance to win and for full details on all the prizes on offer in the 2003 Tour de France Fantasy Game, please visit the Fantasy Game section and register to enter your dream team. The teams list is now updated with the final start list.

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