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Sport


With the drama of the Giro d’Italia still fresh in our minds we look ahead to the Tour de France, which celebrates its 100th edition this year


between Team Sky’s Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome. Celebrating its hundredth edition, le Tour will take the riders and viewers on a challenging 3,360km route, which for the first time in the past decade will remain entirely within France’s borders. After the Grand Départ in Corsica, it will visit a number of the country’s natural and historical wonders before reaching its dramatic climax at the Champs-Elysées. “Te 100th Tour de France will be the Tour of the whole of France, of every kind of France, of every French people too,” says Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France. “And while the race will not spread over the French borders, for the first time since its centenary in 2003, the event will largely extend beyond the race itself. “Te course between Corsica and the Champs-


R


Elysées will be far more than a showcase for the number one tourist destination in the world. Tanks to the images of France Televisions, it will bear witness to the love for a race which, while not a World Heritage site like the Mont St Michel or the Calanques de Piana, is still a national treasure,” adds Prudhomme. Providing a fitting backdrop to one of the


world’s biggest annual sporting events will actually be a number of UNESCO World


unning from 29th June to 21st July 2013, this year’s Tour de France looks set to be the best yet – and we are not just talking about the battle


Heritage listed sites this year, including the Calanques de Piana, the gardens of the Château de Versailles and the historical centre of Lyon. In addition, riders will also travel alongside the


four biggest rivers in France and shores of the Serre-Ponçon and Annecy Lakes. Six stages, including Nice, Marseilles, Saint-Malo and Mont- Saint-Michel, will also finish at the seaside. Te racing will certainly be a sight to behold


too, with a range of terrains chosen to challenge all types of riders. Team Sky, in particular, will be looking to build on last year’s victory, while Omega Pharma-Quickstep rider Mark Cavendish will be looking to follow up his Giro success with a few sprint finishes in Marseilles, Montpellier or Saint-Malo. Prudhomme adds: “Tis Tour will be the Tour of all the beauties of France, but also the Tour of everyone involved in it. Te riders of course, who will write with their sweat the 100th chapter of a long saga and will be greeted in Paris by all the giants who showed them the way. “Local authorities as well, who host the greatest


free show on the planet and will display the beauty of the Tour in an exhibition on the gates of the French Senate at the Jardin du Luxembourg. And finally spectators, who will cheer by the millions on the roadside but will also be called to ride on the course on 15th June, for a Fete du Tour turning everyone into a Tour rider.” As part of this Fete du Tour, two weeks before the Grand Départ, gatherings and grand fondos will be held in all of the towns holding stages in


the 100th Tour. Everyday cyclists will be able to follow their champions by tackling the whole of a stage course or enjoying shorter rides between 10 to 50km. If that wasn’t enough, this year, for the first time, the competitors will cover the last stretch of the 100th Tour on the Champs-Elysées in the evening, allowing the public to ride the streets of the French capital and be part of this historical sporting moment earlier in the day. Adorned in their very own yellow jerseys, thousands of cyclists will be encouraged to get on their bikes, mountain bikes or Velibs as part of the Tour Grand Fondo on Sunday 21st July. Following this, the Tour’s three weeks of racing


will finish at around 9.45pm after 10 laps of the Champs-Elysées, which will for the first time include a lap around the Arc de Triomphe. After the podium ceremonies, the riders will also enjoy a lap of honour before a lightshow draws the celebrations to a close. Christian Prudhomme concludes: “Te race


survived all the hardships of the world and the sport. But its longevity has a simple secret: passion. And it will again be the key word between the Isle of Beauty and the most beautiful avenue in the world.”


For more information on the Tour de France 2013, please visit www.letour.fr


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