|Shorter TDF next year....||HamSammy|
Oct 25, 2001 5:30 AM
BC-CYC--Tour de France,0457
Shortest ever Tour de France to save best for last
By MICHAEL McDONOUGH
Associated Press Writer
PARIS (AP) - Tour de France organizers unveiled the shortest
route ever for next year's race, with hopes of fighting drug use
and saving the suspense for the end.
The route announced Thursday covers 2,034.8 miles over 21
stages, including the prologue. This year's race was 2,141½ miles
But four of the six key mountain stages next year will take
place in the last eight days, making the outcome uncertain almost
until the finish in Paris.
This year, Lance Armstrong wrapped up his third straight title
with a whole week to go thanks to his domination in the mountains,
leaving little suspense for the rest of the race.
"We were criticized because nothing happened in the final
stages," Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc said. "(Next year) the
suspense will be maintained as far as possible until the finish."
Armstrong had been due to attend Thursday's news conference but
withdrew "because of the Sept. 11 attacks," Leblanc said. He
didn't discuss details
Leblanc also said security for the race had not been reassessed
but "We will wait to see how the situation evolves."
The race director said the 2002 Tour was made shorter to help
fight doping in what is one of the world's toughest sports events.
The endurance drug EPO was at the center of the doping scandal that
nearly wrecked the 1998 race.
"You can't say you're fighting doping and impose a heavier work
load for the riders," he said.
The 2002 Tour starts July 6 in Luxembourg and takes riders
through Germany, the flat planes of northern France, the Pyrenees
mountains, the southeastern Provence region and the Alps. There is
one more mountain leg than last year.
The race finishes with the traditional ride down the
Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 28, three days after a grueling
mountain stage between Aime and Cluses in the Alps.
Other difficulties include a 136.7-mile stretch through Provence
that ends with an exceptionally difficult climb up Mont Ventoux,
one of cycling's toughest challenges. Armstrong finished second
there in the 2000 Tour, taking a big step toward his second title.
Mont Ventoux comes after two mountain stages in the Pyrenees and
before three straight Alpine stages, with a rest day in between. A
110.98-mile leg between Les Deux-Alpes and La Plagne will be key to
deciding the winner.
Despite the changes, Leblanc said he expected an outcome similar
to this year's.
"We will have the same leading riders as this year," he said.
The shortest previous edition of the Tour, held in 1989, was
1.86 miles longer, at 2,036.7 miles.
(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
|If this year's Vuelta is any indication....||Cima Coppi|
Oct 25, 2001 5:47 AM
|Next years TdF could be a record setting tour for average speed. There are not as many mountains as in this years Vuelta, so you can count on it being fast!!
|Parcours should help...||philippec|
Oct 25, 2001 6:02 AM
|... since it appears the Ventoux is being ridden up the easy side (from the east) and the Tourmalet is only be ridden 2/3 of the way up (to la Mongie) leaving out the hardest gradients -- and this after a not-too-difficult Aubisque (from the west)-Soulor combination. Should be a fast one indeed!
|A kinder, gentler Tour||mr_spin|
Oct 25, 2001 8:05 AM
|I felt kind of sad watching Ullrich trying so hard but failing to beat Armstrong every day. I'm not kidding! With a shorter, faster Tour, empathy will be minimized!
No Flame Zone Disclaimer: This is a joke. Nothing derogatory is meant towards Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, or George Bush the Senior.
|What difference will 107 miles mean to a Pro? nm.||Dutchy|
Oct 25, 2001 10:47 PM