The route for the 2007 edition of the le Tour was unveiled last week. As usual, Le Grand Depart was finalized long ago: London July 7. With two world capitals as bookends, I was anticipating a special course. However, I was disappointed on two counts in particular:
-There were rumours of a trip up the Puy de Dome, perhaps even making it a time trial, but this mountain has been excluded again.
-No team time trial. This makes the second year in a row they have excluded the bullet trains. This is one of the most exciting disciplines in cycling and brings focus to how team oriented the sport is – especially for new fans (and cycling could always use new fans).
Still, there appear to be some gems in next year’s lap of the hexagon. Most importantly it appears challenging. They get to the mountains sooner, meaning the ante will be raised for the sprinters, and the GC men will be into the fray quickly. Further, they visit some of the classic climbs that make the race so great.
My early call is that stage 9 and 14 will decide the winner, but keep in mind not to count out stage 16. Finally, I smirked when I read the distance to be covered: 3,547km. The UCI wants grand tours under 3,500. The UCI and the grand tours are not getting along. “Here’s an extra 47km, just to stick it to you.”
“London to Paris” sounds exciting, sounds worldclass. The disappointments aside, I like the looks of it, and am hopeful it will be a Tour to remember for what happens on the road.
In other words:
-I will post on non-cycling stuff very soon, just wanted to get this one out of the system, and hey, maybe turn some of you on to this great sport.
-While it may have been legal to give Saiz a ProTour licence, it was also just plain stupid.
-Contemplating going with my own domain name… hmmm… thoughts?