- Title: FRANCE: TOUR DE FRANCE TEAMS OFFICIALLY PRESENTED IN PARIS CEREMONY.
- Date: 4th July 2003
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (JULY 4, 2003) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. WIDE SHOT OF HOTEL DE VILLE 2. TEAM TELEKOM CYCLE ONTO PODIUM 3. CLOSE-UP OF ERIK ZABEL IN WHITE JERSEY 4. SANTIAGO BOTERO ON LEFT 5. BIANCHI TEAM CYCLE ONTO PODIUM 6. CLOSE-UP OF JAN ULLRICH 7. CROWD 8. WIDE SHOT OF ONCE TEAM 9. CLOSE-UP OF JOSEBA BELOKI IN PINK JERSEY 10. CROWD 11. TEAM CSC ON PODIUM 12. U.S. RIDER TYLER HAMILTON AT LEFT 13. CLOSE-UP HAMILTON 14. CROWD 15. WIDE SHOT TEAM SAECO 16. GILBERTO SIMONI AT LEFT 17. U.S. POSTAL TEAM CYCLE ONTO PODIUM 18. PAN LEFT TO RIGHT ALONG U.S. POSTAL TEAM 19. LANCE ARMSTRONG AT LEFT 20. CLOSE-UP OF ARMSTRONG 21. CROWD 22. U.S. POSTAL TEAM CYCLE OFF PODIUM Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 19th July 2003 13:00
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Reuters ID: LVA6T7LQD2ECX3CKJ19NW60PUD6N
- Story Text: On the eve of the centenary Tour de France, the
official presentation of the teams took place at the Hotel de
Ville in the centre of Paris.
Thousands of people in Paris on Friday (July 4) saw the
22 teams of this year's Tour de France complete a
three-kilometre ride through the city before cycling onto a
stage outside the Hotel de Ville (city hall) for their
official presentation ceremony.
The centenary Tour begins on Saturday (July 5) with the
prologue, a 6.5 kilometre time trial in Paris.
U.S. Postal team rider Lance Armstrong looks poised to
make Tour de France history, but still insists he will tackle
the world's biggest cycling race as "just another Tour".
Business as usual for the Texan would mean a fifth
victory, a feat only achieved by four men in the past.
For the American cancer-survivor to join the elite of
world cycling on the centenary Tour would be an ideal crowning
and he has no strong opponent.
A fifth victory in succession would put him on a par with
Spaniard Indurain, the only man with five straight wins.
While Tour fans and spectators will celebrate its 100th
anniversary in countless events, exhibitions and shows around
the caravan, the race will be not be a celebration for most
Armstrong has always believed the Tour to be a tricky
event to master and a crash, sickness or a technical incident
can never be ruled out in the 20 stages and 3,247 kms of the
But it is hard to see who could really upset the U.S.
Postal team leader, even if he had a bad day or bad luck.
In Lorient last year, Colombian Santiago Botero became the
first rider to beat Armstrong in a long time trial on the Tour
since the American returned from cancer in 1999.
But Botero has also been quiet in recent months.
The Medellin rider has, however, left Spanish team Kelme
for strong German outfit Telekom and it could make a
Botero, who was fourth last year, has however always a bad
day in previous Tours and looks too inconsistent to challenge
German Jan Ullrich, the 1997 winner and four times
runner-up, has the talent to win the Tour.
But a knee injury, a doping suspension and team problems
have left him out of competition for more than 14 months and
he will only have two months' competing behind him at the
start of Saturday's prologue.
Spaniard Joseba Beloki, second last year, should again
play a leading role.
But he was nowhere to be seen this season and will have to
do without the support of compatriot Igor Gonzalez Galdeano,
who is banned from competing in France after a controversial
dope test for corticoids on the last Tour.
Basque Iban Mayo, who threatened the American in the
recent Dauphine Libere, fellow-American Tyler Hamilton, who is
one of the few versatile riders in the bunch and Italian Giro
d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni are all possible contenders.
But the Tour often sorts the men from the boys and even
though all these riders, as well as Italian Stefano Garzelli
and Vuelta champion Aitor Gonzalez of Spain, should end the
race in the top ten, they seem too soft for the peloton's
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