By Mark Zalewski
With the 2007 Grand Départ announced for London, as well as subsequent stages, the organisers of the Tour de France, Amaury Sports Organisation, have announced an addition to the race -- a 55km time trial from Cheriton in Kent, the United Kingdom, to Coquelles near Calais in northern France, utilizing the middle access tunnel of the Channel Tunnel or 'Chunnel.'
"It is really a matter of economics," said an organisation representative. "It's just a lot easier to move the race back to France this way -- having the riders race the distance on their bikes instead of loading everything and everyone onto TGV trains."
Some critics of this move include the television media, which say their aerial coverage via helicopter will be limited. But organisers responded saying the intricate network of closed-circuit security cameras along the 50km section of tunnel will be made available to broadcasters. "Besides, the time trial is rather boring," said the same representative. "All that really matters is the start and finish, which will be outside of the tunnel entrance and exit."