In the early European afternoon on Monday, race owner Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) mistakenly published the 2012 Tour de France route on its official Tour de France website, letour.fr. For only a few minutes, the link was activated, revealing the complete listing of next year's Tour stages that were supposed to be made official only on October 18.
The first website to catch the big fish was Velopeloton.com and the news spread quickly. Cyclingnews contacted officials at ASO, who would not deny nor confirm the authenticity of the information.
"I can't tell you anything about this. We are fixing it now internally. The only person who could comment on it would be (race director) Christian Prudhomme himself," Claude Rasch told Cyclingnews.
If the information is correct, then it would be the first time in many years that ASO has not been able to keep the secret over the race route until the official presentation. Unofficial leaks have always existed in the days prior to the event held in Paris' Palais des Congrès, but this sort of large-scale error has no precedent.
2012 Tour de France stages:
P Prologue Sat 30 June Liège > Liège 6.1 km
1 Road stage Sun 1 July Liège > Seraing 198 km
2 Road stage Mon 2 July Visé > Tournai 207 km
3 Road stage Tues 3 July Orchies > Boulogne-sur-Mer 197 km
4 Road stage Weds 4 July Abbeville > Rouen 214 km
5 Road stage Thurs 5 July Rouen > Saint-Quentin 197 km
6 Road stage Fri 6 July Épernay > Metz 210 km
7 Road stage Sat 7 July Tomblaine > La Planche des Belles Filles 199 km
8 Road stage Sun 8 July Belfort > Porrentruy 154 km
9 Time trial Mon 9 July Arc-et-Senans > Besançon 38 km
10 Road stage Weds 11 July Mâcon > Bellegarde-sur-Valserine 194 km
11 Mountains Thurs 12 July Albertville > La Toussuire - Les Sybelles 140 km
12 Mountains Fri 13 July Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > Annonay 220 km
13 Road stage Sat 14 July Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux > Le Cap d’Agde 215 km
14 Road stage Sun 15 July Limoux > Foix 192 km
15 Road stage Mon 16 July Samatan > Pau 160 km
16 Mountains Weds 18 July Pau > Bagnères-de-Luchon 197 km
17 Mountains Thurs 19 July Bagnères-de-Luchon > Peyragudes 144 km
18 Road stage Fri 20 July Blagnac > Brive-la-Gaillarde 215 km
19 Time trial Sat 21 July Bonneval > Chartres 52 km
20 Road stage Sun 22 July Rambouillet > Paris Champs-Élysées 130 km