- Title: FRANCE: TOUR DE FRANCE PREVIEW.
- Date: 29th June 2000
- Summary: POITIERS, FRANCE (29 JUNE 2000) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. SIGN FLAGGING THE TOUR DE FRANCE OUTSIDE PRESS CENTER 2. TOUR DE FRANCE CARS GETTING FINAL TOUCHES 3. BICYCLES BEING PREPARED (VARIOUS) 4. TOUR DE FRANCE DIRECTOR JEAN-MARIE LEBLANC AND JACQUES GRANDON INAUGURATING PRESS CENTER 5. (SOUNDBITE) (French) TOUR DE FRANCE DIRECTOR JEAN-MARIE LEBLANC, SAYING: "After two years of suffering in cycling, the horizon opens up with the measure that you know, this UCI decision to implement, anyway, the EPO detection, even a posteriori. It will be, I think, a strong deterrent, thanks to the political courage of President Verbrugen." 6. CUTAWAY 7. (SOUNDBITE) (French) TOUR DE FRANCE DIRECTOR JEAN-MARIE LEBLANC SAYING: "The tests will take place. Things are very simple. If I understood well, there will be in the Tour de France, as always since 1968 until now, antidoping controls and urine controls. These samples will be kept, in the cold, for four or six weeks, maybe a bit longer, and once the validation method of French professor De Ceaurriz is officially approved, we will take out the test tubes and we will carry out the tests. If any traces of EPO are found, the UCI will impose sanctions, very strict sanctions." 8. CYCLISTS UNDERGOING MEDICAL TESTS (VARIOUS) 9. LANCE ARMSTRONG ARRIVES FOR TESTS 10. LANCE ARMSTRONG UNDERGOING TESTS (VARIOUS) 11. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LANCE ARMSTRONG SAYING: "It is always a bit of a circus at the medical checks. But I feel good. Im ready. This is part of the preparations, part of the hysteria. We are ready." 12. LANCE ARMSTRONG LEAVING ROOM Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 14th July 2000 13:00
- Location: POITIERS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Reuters ID: LVAECWURXRY6DH7Z1NFQPL2QC3MZ
- Story Text: Cycling fanatics from around the globe are preparing
themselves for the start of the Tour de France, the most
prestigious cycling race in the world.
The three-week cycling race of the Tour de France will
start on Saturday (June 1) with a 16 km time trial in the
Futuroscope -an appropriate setting for the Tour to launch
their first race of the millennium-, with the peloton starting
the race in Loudun on Sunday (July 2).
About 3630 km later at the final stage in Paris, riders will
make their way past the Arc de Triomphe on the way to the
finish line along the Champs Elysees.
As riders intensify their training in the last days
leading up to the start day, many questions about the future
of the annual race remain unanswered. Two years after a doping
scandal overshadowed one of the worlds oldest and most
romantic institutions, cycling authorities have accepted
radical measures to fight the use of performance enhancing
Their failure to bring in a new test to detect the banned
hormone eyrthropoietin in time for the Tour was only a
temporary rebuke. The International Cycling Union finally
decided that riders would still be tested on the Tour, using
the new procedure, and that samples would be kept and analysed
only once the test is formally approved.
The decision should prove a strong enough deterrent,
especially as the 180 riders at the start will also have blood
tests for the killer drug PFC and urine tests for corticoids.
If any traces of EPO are found, said Tour Director Jean-Marie
Leblanc, the UCI will impose sanctions, very strict
American Lance Amrstrong, who won last years tour after
recovering from a near-fatal cancer, is again amongst the
favourites to win the contest this year. Also in the leading
group are two returning past winners: German Jan Ulrich, the
1997 winner, and the Italian climber Marco Pantani, who was
unable to defend his 1998 crown last year after failing a
blood test on the eve of winning the Giro. Ullrich is regarded
as a superior time trial specialist and could profit from the
characteristics of this years itinerary, while Pantani, at his
best, is unstoppable on the mountains.
Armstrong himself is more worried about Swizz Alex Zuelle,
second last year and in 1994, who is, like himself, an
all-rounder, at ease both in time trials and on the climbs.
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