Tour 2010: all will be unveiled tomorrow
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tour 2010: all will be unveiled tomorrow

by Conal Andrews at 1:52 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 

With less than 24 hours to go to the announcement of the route of the 2010 Tour de France, suspense and speculation will soon turn to facts and figures, data and detail.

The only certainty is that the race will begin in Rotterdam and finish in Paris; apart from that, strong rumours persist about what will feature in the race. It’s hotly tipped that the one hundredth anniversary of the first ascent of the Col du Tourmalet will see the race tackle the slopes of the mountain twice, including one summit finish.

Brussels, Spa, Reims, Montargis, Morzine, Gap, Mende, Rodez, Revel, Luchon, Pau and Bordeaux are also tipped to be stage towns. The race is expected to pass through the Jura and the Massif Central.

Many of the sport’s top riders are expected to be in attendance at the launch, including the podium finishers Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck and Lance Armstrong, as well as ten-times stage winner Mark Cavendish.

Contador repeated his 2007 triumph this summer and has earned praise from Tour director Christian Prudhomme. “He may still have surprises in store for us, but with a second Tour de France triumph, Alberto Contador has moved up a gear,” he wrote on the Tour’s website. “In statistical terms, he has joined the exclusive club of the great riders. On the road, he dazzled all his rivals with his talent in all domains, all the while keeping a decent margin of safety.

“Contador pulled off his performance in a highly competitive context which he handled serenely. All this at the tender age of 26 years, an age at which Miguel Indurain still could only boast a 10th-placed finish on his CV.”

The Frenchman emphasises a big difference between the two riders. Indurain was a mathematician, someone who calculated his efforts and rarely went on the attack in the mountains. Contador, he says, is different.

“In his body language and temperament, he is first and foremost a showman, as shown by the appreciation of the huge crowds along the road-sides, which was also a demonstration of the popular success enjoyed by the Tour de France in 2009. What's more, faced with his superiority, his rivals are not resigned to defeat, whether they are called Schleck or even Armstrong. The promise of forthcoming exciting battles, which will also be contested by new up-and-coming outsiders, is enough to give you goose-bumps.”

While the race route will be the focus of attention, the sad death of Frank Vandenbroucke will also dominate conversation as directeur sportifs and older riders reunite. ‘VDB’ only rode the race twice, finishing 50th in 1997 and then retiring in 2000. But if anything, this serves to further emphasise that his was an abilty which essentially shone brightly but burned out quickly.

VeloNation will have full details of the 2010 Tour route tomorrow.

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