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LuigiVercotti

2010 Tour De France

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Next big event rapidly approaching for world sport is the 2010 Tour de France. And, some news re the man who turned Le Tour into arguably the biggest annual international sporting event, Lance Armstrong:

Seven-time winner Lance Armstrong has announced next month’s Tour de France will be his last.‘‘And yes, this will be final Tour de France. It’s been a great ride. Looking forward to three great weeks,’’ the 38-year-old American wrote on his Twitter website.

Realising his tweet included several mistakes Armstrong then re-tweeted, ‘‘Doh, sorry, meant ‘‘my’’ final Tour.’’

On Saturday, Armstrong will lead his team RadioShack to begin his bid for an eighth Tour de France title.

Monday’s announcement comes just one month after the Texan found himself embroiled in new doping allegations, dismissing accusations levelled by his former teammate Floyd Landis.

Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after a positive drug test, pointed the finger at numerous cyclists, including Armstrong, and said that doping was intrinsic at the elite level of the sport. Armstrong was quick to attack Landis’ credibility.

Armstrong successfully beat cancer in 1998 to go on and win seven consecutive yellow jerseys from the world’s toughest bike race in 1999-2005.

He returned to the sport last year after a three-year ’retirement’.

Armstrong placed third at the 2009 Tour race and this year he finished second in the Tour of Switzerland and third in the Tour of Luxembourg. He crashed out of the Tour of California on home soil in May.

Armstrong will line up at this year’s race in a team which includes former Tour runner-up Andreas Kloden of Germany, and American Levi Leipheimer among other experienced stage race campaigners.

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This year's is the 97th edition of Tour de France.

Official poster :

tdfaffiche.jpg

>> The 2010 route video presentation : here

lacarte.jpg

Official website says:

The route

Running from Saturday July 3rd to Sunday July 25th 2010, the 97th Tour de France will be made up of 1 prologue and 20 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,642 kilometres.

These stages have the following profiles:

* 1 prologue,

* 9 flat stages,

* 6 mountain stages and 3 summit finishes,

* 4 medium mountain stages,

* 1 individual time-trial stage (52 km).

Distinctive aspects of the race

* le Tourmalet climbed twice,

* a hint of the Classics and cobblestones,

* 2 rest days,

* 25 level 1, level 2 and highest level mountain passes.

11 new stage towns

Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, Bourg-de-Péage, Bourg-lès-Valence, Gueugnon, Longjumeau, Pamiers, Pauillac, Sisteron, Station des Rousses, Tournus, Wanze (Belgium).

Grand Start 2010 will be in Rotterdam (The Netherlands)

Official Poster :

gd_depart_2010_01.jpg

The choice of Rotterdam, a vast urban centre with one million two hundred thousand inhabitants, is directly in keeping with the special start of the Tour in London in 2007. The proposed project – “Rotterdam and the Tour, a new energy” – seduced us. It fits into an overall policy that aims to an even bigger place for the bicycle in the city’s heart, while leaning on the popularity of the biggest cycling race in the world, the Tour de France. From the banks of the Thames to the biggest port in Europe: the same desire, the same will.

In 2010, the Netherlands, which gave the bicycle its nickname of “little queen”, will host the Grand Départ of the Tour for the fifth time. A journalist recently asked me why the Netherlands has been favoured compared to the other countries (“only” three starts each for Belgium and Germany, two for Luxembourg, one for Spain and none in Italy, for instance). Besides the geographical location, which gives the organisers every freedom to organise the route in its entirety, a large part of the answer lies in these few lines, written in L’Équipe in 1954, when the Grande Boucle decided to start outside French borders for the very first time: “All of the Netherlands seemed to have gathered on the roads of Wassenaar, Delft, Rotterdam… Tens of thousands of spectators in closed ranks, uninterrupted, for kilometres and kilometres, clapping, cheering for everything that had to do with the Tour, the cyclists, the motorcyclists, the cars that followed or that led… [in this way] they made a triumph of the first stage!”

I do not believe that I am taking any risks by stating that these words were a taste of the future. A huge party is already being prepared with all the Dutch people, including, naturally, our friends from Utrecht, who are rightly disappointed today. In Rotterdam, between the Rhine and the Meuse, the Tour will depart with its feet in the water, so to speak, for the third time in a row. After Brest with the Atlantic Ocean, the Principality of Monaco with the Mediterranean Sea, here we have the North Sea, which the route across Zeeland will allow us to admire at our leisure. However, at the beginning of July 2010, it will be the enthusiasm and the jubilation of the people because of the Tour that will blow us away.

Christian PRUDHOMME

Director of Tour de France

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Nice to see that Cadel Evans is off to a top start this year...

Cadel2-420x0.jpg

And there's been plenty of crashes to keep the casual fans excited:

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