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Qatar: Last race for Leblanc

Jean-Marie Leblanc at the Tour of Qatar

Jean-Marie Leblanc at the Tour of Qatar (Image credit: AFP)

Tour of Qatar race director and former head of the Tour de France, Jean-Marie Leblanc is currently doing the job for the last time in the Middle Eastern Emirate. The French man will be taking his retirement from Grand Tour organiser ASO officially on January 31. The Tour de France organiser had already given him great honours at the 2006 Grande Boucle, but Leblanc is happy to wave the start flag out of his official car for the last time in Qatar.

"I'm very happy that my last race is here in Qatar, a symbolic place for ASO," he said. "The Tour of Qatar has always meant the opening to the world for ASO." The French race management company has been organising the event for years.

Leblanc, who was a professional bike racer from 1966-1971, became Tour de France director in 1988 after a successful career as a journalist. The 62 year-old will now turn to his other passion - music. Indeed, Leblanc is a very gifted Clarinet player, and has been performing modestly with a jazz ensemble in Paris for some years.

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