Since 2001, the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), the organiser of the Tour du France, is involved in the development of the Tour du Faso, the major cycling competition of the African continent. The Tour du Faso will take place this year from October 24 to November 2. ASO's mission is to involve different sides (riders, journalists and others) and to respect the spirit of this competition. ASO is especially keen to share its knowledge and competence with the Burkina organisers.
French State Secretary for Cooperation and Francophonie, Alain Joyandet, will visit the Tour du Faso this year. Joyandet will be at the riders' presentation and the first stage between Kokologo and Boromo. Very sensitive to the initiatives led by both, the European and African structures, Joyandet will be able to see for himself the way the ASO teams work with the services of the Burkina Ministry for Sports and the Burkina Cycling Federation (FBC) to organise the biggest cycling event on the continent. A decent amateur, he will also have the opportunity to go from theory to practice by being among the pack on a part of stage one.
The European teams, mainly selected for their sporting profiles, are also encouraged to lead actions in favour of the development of Burkina Faso, whether it concerns school material supplies or the development of exchange programmes. This year the organisers have been approached by the different cycling schools that had benefited from a great deal of equipment during the "1000 vélos pour le Faso" (1000 bikes for Faso) operation in 2005. The educators witnessing problems to replace their material (tire tubes, chains, etc) have asked the European teams if they could come and collect material in order to function on a regular basis. Total material of over a ton and a half was shipped over and will be distributed via the FBC.
Herman Beysens, a former teammate of Eddy Merckx in the seventies, developed a new passion by becoming a team manager during the Tour du Faso. Since 1997, he has taken part in every edition of the event. He is a supervisor at the same time to humanitarian projects, such as drilling for drinking water supply in the villages. "I promise that until I die, I will come to make six drills every year in this country", he had declared in 2006. The "Burkina-Belgian” is still around for this 2008 Tour.