Tour de France 1903
With the Tour being conceived as part of a newspaper war, we continue our
series in how the English speaking press reacted to this year's launch. We have
already established that William Fotheringham from the United Kingdom's Guardian
saw the race in its historical sense in his excellent “sowers of energy”
article. It is an article of depth and fact. “The first checkpoint in the 1903
Tour was in Nevers and the town on the banks of the Loire will host the finish
of stage five” is a near perfect sentence in cycling reporting terms.
Meanwhile the Reuters piece by Gilles Le Roc’h kept an historical theme while
also referring to next year's race. “The American, hoping to win his fifth Tour
in succession, will have to master two individual time trials, over 60 miles in
all, and seven mountain stages," which is complemented by, "For the
centenary we could not avoid going to l'Alpe d'Huez, a memorable finish which
crowned Fausto Coppi as its first winner (in 1952)," Leblanc said.” A near
perfect balance between the Tour in its full historical sense and a very telling
quote. For Leblanc to pick out an Italian rider with such respect will certainly
raise a few ironic grins from Italian Team managers whose teams have been
excluded from the TdF in recent years at the expense of teams of lower stature.
Full reports and photos can be found here -
to read part one
Father of the tour Desgrange
Press writer Michael McDonough covered the launch from the perspective of Lance
Armstrong - not surprisingly his report was widely syndicated through out the
USA press including the Washington Post. Unlike the previous two articles the
sense of tradition is seen from Amstrong’s viewpoint -"It enhances how historic
an event it is." - while the main thrust of the article concentrates on the
The article also makes reference to the case of Rumsas and also clarifies the
team selection process.
Armstrong ponders on the tour route
Route Unveiled for Tour De France
By Michael McDonough
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, October 24, 2002; 3:06 PM
PARIS –– Lance Armstrong doesn't think his bid for a record-tying
fifth straight Tour de France will be any easier next year.
Even though the route for next year's 100th anniversary race features more
stages in the mountains – where Armstrong has taken control and dominated since
1999 – there are fewer grueling uphill finishes.
The 2003 route could probably have been "a lot more complicated," Armstrong
told The Associated Press on Thursday, the day Tour officials announced the
itinerary. But he's pleased.
"There's enough uphill finishes. I would not try to say I'm disappointed," he
said in a phone interview. "It's a traditional Tour, it's fine."
Four riders have won the world's toughest cycling race five times. Only
Spain's Miguel Indurain captured five back-to-back. Armstrong is the only
American to have won more than three Tours.
The three-week Tour is usually decided in the mountains, and Armstrong sealed
his fourth straight victory in July by crushing rivals in six mountain stages. A
year earlier, there were five legs in the Alps and the Pyrenees.
Next year's Tour, which starts in Paris on July 5 and ends in the French
capital July 27, has seven mountain legs. The most difficult is expected to be
the 130.82-mile eighth stage from Sallanches to L'Alpe d'Huez.
director Jean-Marie Leblanc believes the new route could benefit Armstrong.
"I don't think Lance Armstrong has anything to worry about in this
itinerary," Leblanc said. "There is scope for him to impose his superiority, if
there is a superiority (next year)."
Armstrong said there are five major peaks in the 2003 Tour he has never
climbed before. He will attempt the imposing Col de l'Izoard mountain pass from
a different side for the first time. He plans to make each climb at least once
before next year's race begins.
"We won't change a thing from our M.O.," Armstrong said.
Even though next year's event will mark the 100th anniversary of the Tour, it
will only be the 90th edition. The race was canceled during both World Wars.
"It's a milestone," Armstrong said. "It enhances how historic an event it
At 2,109.55 miles, 20-stage race will be the seventh shortest in Tour
Organizers have made the event less punishing in recent years to reduce the
incentive for using endurance-boosting drugs. Leblanc said stopping drug cheats
would be a priority again next year.
"The fight against doping has improved year after year," Leblanc said. "It
isn't perfect, but will it ever be?"
On the last day of this year's Tour, the wife of Lithuanian Raimondas Rumsas,
the third-place finisher, was stopped by customs officials with suspected doping
products in her car.
Rumsas' wife, Edita, was jailed for more than two months as part of a probe
that is still ongoing. Raimondas Rumsas passed all his drug tests in the Tour
and has said the products in his wife's car were for his mother-in-law.
None of the stages starts or finishes outside France, although the 14th leg
in the Pyrenees crosses briefly into Spain. There are two rest days, three
individual time trials including the prologue, and one team time trial.
There will be 22 teams in next year's race, compared to 21 this year, with
nine riders in each team. The top 14 squads in the International Cycling Union's
end-of-year rankings qualify automatically, and Tour organizers will hand out
eight wild cards.
Sunflowers , the Tour and Miguel Indurain
report widely syndicated was the United Press International report which focused
on the previous winners of the Tour and Greg LeMond in particular. The report
has keeps to its “sentimental" theme, mentioning “Leblanc said all of the
surviving winners will march down the Champs Elysees on July 27, and ceremonies
will be organized at different points of the route to pay tribute to racing
legends.” while also looking towards the race itself with Lemond full of praise
Tour de France plans sentimental journey
PARIS, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Officials of the Tour de France announced
Thursday next year's event will be conducted over a course that traces the route
of the first race 100 years ago.
A galaxy of former champions, including five-time winner Bernard Hinault,
Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurain, American Greg Lemond, Marco Pantani and Jan
Ullrich, joined four-time defending champion Lance Armstrong at the announcement
is no ordinary Tour we have organized," Director Jean-Marie Leblanc said.
The 2003 race, from July 5-27, will involve 22 teams and cover 3,350
kilometers in 20 stages.
It will visit original Tour cities Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux,
Nantes and Ville d'Avray as well as Sedan, Troyes and Bayonne.
For the first time in 50 years, the race will start in the heart of Paris
with a seven-kilometer individual time trial on July 5 and end, in keeping with
a century of tradition, on the Champs Elysees three weeks later.
On start day, the teams will mass in Stade de France before setting out from
the cafe Reveil Matin just as the first Tour riders did.
The centenary race will have seven mountain stages -- three in the Alps,
including ascents of the col du Galibier and Alpe d'Huez, plus four in the
"This is the 100th anniversary of the most famous cycling race in the world,
and we want to make it a fantastic and popular celebration for all cycling
fans," Leblanc said.
The greatest of them all - Eddy Merckx
said all of the surviving winners will march down the Champs Elysees on July 27,
and ceremonies will be organized at different points of the route to pay tribute
to racing legends.
"We want it to be as similar as possible to the race in 1903, especially
going in a clockwise direction and crossing the big cities of the 1903 Tour --
Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes," Leblanc said.
"We have to make it a memorable celebration. We want the magic of the
competition to go on. This is a great privilege for us all to be part of
Lemond admitted to being moved by Thursday's ceremony. He became the first
American to win the Tour in 1986, but was shot in a hunting accident a year
later, suffering 60 shotgun pellet wounds.
took two years to fight his way back to full health and astonishingly won the
Tour again in 1989 and 1990.
"This gathering of so many champions is fantastic and very moving," he said.
"We have to pay tribute to them all as well as to the race itself. I feel
Fellow-American Armstrong beat testicular cancer in 1998 before his quartet
"Lance is one of the greatest champions the Tour has ever had," Lemond said.
To be continued...
Photos thanks to http://www.alpedhuez.com, Daily Peloton, BBC, CBS, Belgacom.