Bernard Hinault (Tour de France winner in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985): "It's the riders, not the route that have made the Tour de France such a great race. I think that next year's course is a well-balanced one, which may help Armstrong to equal the record number of victories".
Eddy Merckx (Tour de France winner in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1974): "I think Armstrong can win again. As long as he'll be at the startline, he will not have any trouble in matching attacks from his rivals".
Miguel Indurain (Tour de France winner in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 e 1995): "It's an interesting route, appropriate to a complete rider".
Greg LeMond (Tour de France winner in 1986, 1989 e 1990): "I think the route is well-balanced, but it has always been that way. But whichever route they draw, it's the strongest rider that always wins. And should Armstrong be in the same condition as the past years, finding a serious rival for him would be a hard task".
Ferdi Kubler (Tour de France winner in 1950): "Getting back to the towns which hosted the Tour in its 1903 first edition was a magnificent idea. With 1600 kms. less and better roads, things are easier for riders today than they were when I was racing".
Richard Virenque (five-time winner of the KOM competition): "I'll try to win a stage and wear the polka-dot jersey for the sixth time. As to my retirement from cycling, I'll make a decision at the end of the next season, according to my form at that moment and the results I may have gotten".
Laurent Fignon (Tour de France winner in 1983 and 1984): "It's a complete and gruelling Tour de France, featuring several climbs. But the Mountain Top finishes come too many days before the end of the of competition. I'd like to see more people attacking in flat stages".
Bernard Thévenet (Tour de France winner in 1975 e 1977): "It's a complete course, but in the Gap stage, the one encompassing Izoard and Rochette, the finishing line is located a bit distant from the climbs".
Claudio Corti (Team Manager of Saeco-Longoni Sport): "I guess we won't have the same troubles as last year, so I think we'll find a place in Le Tour this time. I can't see 22 cycling teams currently better than us. Simoni will be taking part in both Giro and Tour, Di Luca will be racing the Tour de France only".
Vincenzo Santoni (Team Manager of Acqua&Sapone-Cantina Tollo): "We chatted with a few TdF organizers, but not Leblanc in person. We had positive impressions, but not yet the certainties of taking part in the race. I believe that if we field a competitive team, we'll succeed in getting there anyway. We are currently ranked 18th in the UCI Classification, so we are not among the teams automatically earning a place, but we've got the World Champion in our roster. And I don't think they'll leave Cipollini aside this time too".
Part Two (focused on reactions from Spanish riders and Team Managers ) to come soon ...