Tough Pyrenean stages will be crucia
By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Paris
"After all that happened in 2006 we really believe cycling deserves a second chance," said Patrice Clerc, President of ASO, today at the unveiling of the 2007 Tour de France. At the presentation in Paris, Clerc was alluding to the problems of this past year while delivering a classical and challenging 2007 parcours. "We think that these problems also bring a lot of hope for solving the problem of the doping in cycling. ... 2007 will be a fantastic start in the great capital of London and a great expression for a renewed Tour de France."
Today, Thursday afternoon, La Grand Boucle was revealed to included 3547 kilometres of riding over 20 stages, starting in London and ending in Paris. There will be a total of 11 flat stages, 2 individual time trials and 6 mountain stages, with three being mountain top finishes. There is only the standard two rest days but the riders will note the lack of long transfers, allowing the focus to be on the actual racing.
As referenced to earlier in the day by Cyclingnews, the 2007 route will take the peloton in a clock-wise motion; hitting the alpine stages before the Pyrenees. Here, near Spain, more focus has been given this year, where there are three serious mountainous tests, with a rest day scheduled in Pau before the third. The two hard days, followed by the rest day, will surely produce a stunning shake up when the riders arrive, after 218 km, on the top of the Col d’Aubisque.
Following the Pyrenees, the race will offer the standard weekend finale: Saturday will be a time trail in Cognac and Sunday the flat dash into Paris.
Please stay tuned more to follow.