- Title: FRANCE: CYCLING: Tour de France celebrates centenary with prestige route
- Date: 24th October 2012
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (French) PRESIDENT OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE, CHRISTIAN PRUDHOMME SAYING: "Even more today, everyone has to understand, especially the managers, that they have to be the safeguard. For the last five years, there have been certain teams, the French, Argos, Shimano, a Dutch team, who have had a code of ethics which has been stricter than the international doping code, they have rules which are stricter than those of the and of WADA (World Anti Doping Agency). They have been applying them to their teams for five years, they are responsible people, magnificent people, but they were people who certain people didn't want to join - no doubt because they were scared, scared of this or that manager who could have worried them. Today they don't need to be scared any more." CROWD OF JOURNALISTS AND CYCLISTS DURING PRESENTATION (SOUNDBITE) (English) CYCLIST ANDY SCHLECK SAYING: "I think we need to draw a line, that is the past and it doesn't really help us now. I think we cannot forget what happened because it's hard, it's bad and it was kind of disgusting, what happened so we can't forget, but we have to learn out of these mistakes, not only the riders but the people behind who maybe pulled the triggers." CYCLISTS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDY SCHLECK SAYING ON LANCE ARMSTRONG: "I don't know, that's up to him if he admits or if he doesn't, he still declares he is innocent, can he hold it, I don't know. (Do you believe him?) Not any more." CYCLISTS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS (SOUNDBITE) (French) PROFESSIONAL CYCLIST THIBAULT PINOT SAYING: "It is time to get rid of this image in cycling, of this bad image of doping. It is true that we have a lot of affairs, but there are lots in other sports and it is a new era that is starting for us. (Are the sanctions enough to do this?) - I think so yes, I think taking seven Tour de France titles off Armstrong is something very strong and no one could have imagined that." CYCLISTS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS (SOUNDBITE) (English) SKY-TEAM MANAGER DAVE BRAILSFORD SAYING: "In this sport, I think there has been a recurring theme, and if you keep on doing the same thing you are going to keep on getting the same result and so unless you change something quite drastically, I think peoples' behaviour won't change. It's interesting, I strongly believe people change their behaviour when the reward is big enough or the suffering is big enough, and at this moment in time, the suffering for the cycling family as we call it is pretty damn big."
- Embargoed: 8th November 2012 12:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA4VMHO5CEBFLSE8R4EYTFDJ2EE
- Story Text: Tour de France organisers unveil a mountainous route for the 100th edition of the world's greatest cycling race.
While the sports world struggles to come to terms with the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, Tour de France organisers unveiled on Wednesday (October 24) a mountainous route for the 100th edition of the world's greatest cycling race.
The 2013 Tour, which starts from Corsica, will take l'Alpe d'Huez's 21 hairpins twice in the same stage, ascend the gruelling Mont Ventoux and end at dusk on the Champs Elysees.
But with nine of the last 14 title wins wiped out because of doping, it remains to be seen how much credibility this year's race will retain.
Seven of those titles belonged to Armstrong, who was stripped of his 1999-2005 victories when the International Cycling Union ratified the United States Anti-Doping Agency's decision to nullify the American's results from August 1998 onward.
In a passionate outburst during the ceremony, director Christian Prudhomme, said the sport will come out stronger after the ordeal.
"The Tour de France is part of our heritage, it brings together people of all ages, and all conditions, it is venerated, it has social values. The Tour de France will be stronger than doping and stronger than the cheats - which is also attacking other sporting disciplines. Doping is the enemy," Prudhomme said.
He praised the member teams of the MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling), who "have stricter anti-doping rules than the UCI and WADA".
The MPCC was created in 2007 and four teams (IAM, Sojasun, Lotto Belisol and NettApp-Endura) joined the seven existing members (French teams FDJ, Europcar, Bretagne-Schuller, Cofidis, AG2R, as well as Gamrin-Sharp and Argis Shimano) on Tuesday (October 23).
MPCC teams have pledged not to hire a rider who has been banned for more than six months over a doping offence.
Andy Schleck, Thibault Pinot and Sky team manager Dave Brailsford welcomed the sanctions against Armstrong, saying it would help rid cycling of its the reputation it had earned.
Next year's route is expected to suit top climbers with Spain's Contador and Briton Chris Froome the likely favourites, while defending champion Bradley Wiggins might find it tough to contain the attackers throughout.
The route will quickly go uphill as the peloton makes its way towards Calvi in northern Corsica.
Following a short team time trial around Nice, the Tour will visit Marseille and Montpellier en route to the Pyrenees, with two mountain stages on the menu, to Ax 3 Domaines and Bagneres de Bigorre.
The peloton will be transferred to Brittany, where the riders will battle it out on a 33 kms time trial to Mont St Michel, one of 10 UNESCO World heritage sites on next year's route.
Organisers hope the Tour will be decided in the Alps.
A couple of climbs up l'Alpe d'Huez and a summit finish on the Ventoux should sort the men from the boys before a final, gruelling and hilly time trial.
The last stage will start from Versailles palace gardens and finish on the Champs Elysees at dusk, with the podium ceremony being held at night.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None