Tour de France shorts: Armstrong is back, an Alpine Etape du Tour

Nibali could earn 15 million Euro with Astana contract extension

In the absence of Alberto Contador and Chris Froome, 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali was the biggest name at the presentation of the route of the 2015 race.

After talking briefly on stage about how winning the Tour had changed his life and responding to questions from the media in the mixed zone, Nibali headed to the offices of L'Equipe for a major sit down interview. After talking about the Tour de France and Astana's recent doping problems, the Sicilian indicated that he hopes to stay with Astana beyond his current contract that ends in 2015 and revealed his outline race programme for next season.

L'Equipe suggested that Nibali could earn 15 million Euro in a possible four-year deal with Astana for 2017-2020.

“I'm under contract until the end of 2016 and the sponsors consider me a kind of symbol for the team. In November, they'll come to Italy to consider the future, there's plenty of time to talk about it again...” Nibali is reported as saying.

Gazzetta dello Sport suggested that Nibali is keen on riding both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in 2015 but he listed a different race programme according to L'Equipe.

“I'd love to ride Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Criterium du Dauphine. There's also the Tour of California but that's not sure, I suffer with jet lag and so it's not really compatible with preparing for the Tour,” Nibali said.

Armstrong back in the Tour de France record books

Italian website Tuttobiciweb has noticed that Lance Armstrong's name is back in the list of Tour de France winner published by ASO in the 2015 route information given out after the presentation in Paris.

Armstrong's name had been cancelled from the record books and he was banned for life after the USADA doping investigation.. Now his name is crossed out in the seven edition of the Tour de France he won between 1999-2005, with an asterisk leading to an explanation.

Equipe reporters tip Quintana to win the 2015 Tour de France

The cycling reporters at the L'Equipe sports newspaper have tipped Nairo Quintana to win the 2015 Tour de France. Each of the cycling reporters were asked to select their top-three predictions and give the riders seven, six and five points.

Quintana scored a total of 57 points. Alberto Contador was second with 53, Chris Froome was third with 43 and Vincenzo Nibali was a close fourth with 42 points. Thibaut Pinot was the best placed Frenchman in fifth, with 32 points.

Etape du Tour to cover stage 19 to La Toussuire

The Etape du Tour sportif ride will cover the route of stage 19 of the 2015 Tour de France from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to La Toussuire.

The professionals will cover the Alpine stage on Friday July 24. The thousands of sportif riders cover the same 142km route on Sunday July 19. The ride includes the Col du Chaussy, the Col du Glandon, the Col de la Croix de Fer, the Col du Mollard and the climb to the finish at La Toussuire.

According to the official website, registration will open on November 6.

Le Tour in numbers

L'Equipe dedicated the opening four pages of Thursday's newspaper to the Tour de France, breaking down the race with several key numbers.

3: 2015 will be only the third time the Tour de France wraps up with a major mountain stage the day before the last stage to Paris. In 2009 the riders faced Mont Ventoux as the last mountain stage and last year rode to Le Semnoz before transferring to Paris on Sunday morning.

14: The distance in kilometres of the opening and only individual time trial in the 2015 Tour de France. It is the lowest distance since the introduction of time trials in 1937. The stage is considered a time trial stage and not a prologue because it is longer than eight kilometres.

5: Mountain finishes. The 2015 Tour has seven mountain stages and five mountain finishes divided between the Pyrenees and the Alps. The five mountain finishes are: stage 10 to La Pierre-Sani-Martin, stage 11 to Cauteret, stage 12 to Plateau de Beille, stage 17 to Pra-Loup, stage 19 to La Toussuire and stage 20 to L'Alpe d'Huez.

3344: The overall race distance in kilometres of the 21 stages of the 2015 Tour de France.

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