Upon hearing of the 2010 Tour de France route when announced at the Palais des Congrès of Paris on Wednesday, Française des Jeux manager Marc Madiot was delighted to see the return of the pavés to the Tour in a substantial way for the first time in 25 years. The 207km stage three from Wanze - Arenberg Porte du Hainaut will not feature the section of cobblestones named after Madiot, but the stage could prove decisive in the overall classification.
In 2004, Robbie McEwen took the yellow jersey in Wasquehal following a stage that was a light version of Paris-Roubaix with just 13.2km of pavés including 11km in the last 30 kilometres.
Speaking of next year's stage three, Madiot said, "It will add a lot of stress and that's exactly what everybody looks for at the Tour de France. The adrenaline we could feel at the launch today, we'll feel it even more when the cobbles approach on July 6.
"It will create a more active race. As there aren't time bonuses or a team time trial, time differences will be restricted between riders, so they'll be more eager to take their chance on a stage like number three in northern France."
Madiot, a two-time winner of Paris-Roubaix (1985 and 1991), didn't consider the addition of more pavé from the Hell of the North an exceptional move. "Every year there should be pavés on the course!" he said firmly. "At least every year that the Tour goes to the north of France."
"The Tour de France is supposed to crown the most complete rider. As there are mountains every year, there should be pavés every year."
Commenting on how the pavés might affect the favorites, he said, "I'm not sure this plays against (two-time Tour de France winner Alberto) Contador. He's pretty agile on his bike. For him, there will more stress and tension. Shall he lose some time on that, he'll have plenty of opportunities to get the time back."
Madiot was enthusiastic about the 2010 route, seeing its potential for an exciting race. "This goes against the scenarios written in advance."
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