The 2008 Tour de France will be officially presented to the public on the 25th of October 2007.
At 12:30 the route will be unveiled in Paris before some 500 journalists from the international press. At exactly the same time the map and the route will be available on-line at this web site.
You will discover everything about the route that will take the riders from Brittany, where the race will start on the 5th of July, to the finish in Paris on the 27th.
The CSC team aims at a Top 3 position in the individual overall standings. Alain Gallopin also counts on Cancellara to reach the podium.
I prefer to be cautious and consider that Carlos can reasonably consider stepping on the podium. But I also went to the Giro with the ambition of seeing Schleck in the Top 10! Things can evolve. Carlos' major difficulty will be in the individual time trials where he could lose a lot of time. I must admit I would have preferred to have an individual time trial and a team time trial.
It is our first objective. Fabian Cancellara is built for the prologue and it would be a nice way to stand out. He has improved a great deal during the Giro, and his performance on the Prologue of the Tour of Switzerland was very good. So this will be the first highlight of the race, and then we need to get a rider on the podium.
Astana has the two favourites, but I think Klöden has more chances of winning the Tour than Vinokourov. He goes faster in the time trials and is stronger in the mountain stages. So he might have accepted to ride for Vinokourov, but he is growing older and he will not wait indefinitely before taking his chance. Regarding the outsiders, I believe Cadel Evans can make a nice result. And I think he is stronger than Menchov. Besides, he was the only one who could actually follow Christophe Moreau during the Dauphiné Libéré.
CSC on the Tour in 2006
Team Roster: Kurt-Asle Arvesen (NOR), Fabian Cancellara (SUI), Iñigo Cuesta (ESP), Stuart O'Grady (AUS), Carlos Sastre (ESP), Franck Schleck (LUX), Christian Vandevelde (USA), Jens Voigt (GER), David Zabriskie (USA).
The winner of the Dauphiné Libéré, who will wear the French Champion Jersey, aims at a Top 3 position in the Tour.
Of course, the recent results of Christophe Moreau make us hope for even better results. I am convinced that Christophe is capable of reaching the final podium on this Tour. In our latest chats, I felt more and more that Christophe dearly wants to reach that objective. With his results in the Dauphiné Libéré and the French Championships title, his competitors will not let him go for a breakaway. He will be flagged! So he is almost forced to be ambitious, and it would be sad not to have ambitions for someone in his situation…
He now has new perspectives and he has never been in such a great shape! Achieving good results before the Tour also helps you determine how you can position yourself in relation to your competitors. He is in great physical shape and I think he will feel no pressure at the start of the Tour. His experience will contribute to his being laid back.
Yes, everyone will try to help Christophe, in particular because Cyril Dessel has not yet reached his best level this summer. But he will be there to help Christophe in the mountain stages, with Calzati, Goubert and Arrieta. Of course John Gadret will also support him in the mountain stages. He was a bit concerned by an aching knee lately but he already felt much better at the French Championships last week. He will try to ride with Moreau and go the furthest possible, and why not even win a stage if the race circumstances allow it.
AG2R on the Tour in 2006
Team Roster: Jose Luis Arrieta (ESP), Sylvain Calzati (FRA), Cyril Dessel (FRA), Martin Elmiger (SUI), John Gadret (FRA), Simon Gerrans (AUS), Stéphane Goubert (FRA), Christophe Moreau (FRA), Ludovic Turpin (FRA).
Agritubel will be present on the Tour thanks to a wild card and will try to stand out of the pack by winning a stage as last year. One Agritubel rider will also have the mission to represent the team with dignity in the overall standings…
Of course we are very happy to be invited to the Tour again. Our task now is to prove we deserve to be part of the race. Our strategy consists in showing ours colours as often as possible. And the icing on the cake would be to achieve more, a bit like last year when Juan Miguel Mercado won a stage.
Yes, we will try to keep an eye on our position in the general classification and position a rider in the forefront. We can count on Dueñas, who recently finished 6th at the Route du Sud, and also Mercado, but we still do not know if he will go all the way because he was seriously injured at the beginning of the year when he fell during the Tour of Mallorca. Then we have Nicolas Vogondy who already finished in the Top 20 of the Tour and who is more experienced now. He has been very consistent since the beginning of the season and he can do even better.
We will not ask him for the impossible. This will be a good opportunity to know if he is built for the great tours or not, because we do not know yet. He is an all-round cyclist and even a bit reckless. He can also play a nice role in the sprints.
Agritubel on the Tour in 2006
Team Roster: Freddy Bichot (FRA), Moisés Dueñas (ESP), Romain Feillu (FRA), Eduardo Gonzalo (ESP), Cédric Hervé (FRA), Nicolas Jalabert (FRA), Juan Miguel Mercado (ESP), Benoît Salmon (FRA), Nicolas Vogondy (FRA).
As Damiano Cunego will not race the Tour, Lampre will not try to reach a top position in the general classification. Instead the team will try to claim some stage victories.
Above all, we will try to win a stage. And we know that we will have various opportunities to reach that goal. First of all we have the sprints, with Daniele Bennati or Danilo Napoliatno. Later in the race Patxi Vila might also win a stage too. The same goes for Righi. As to the general classification, I think Valjavec or Bruseghin could finish in the Top 10. But if I could choose, I would go for a stage victory.
In fact Bennati finished second in the Prologue of the Tour of Switzerland, behind Fabian Cancellara. So I think we could take a chance at it. If he makes a good result in the Prologue, Bennati could win enough bonus seconds the next day to wear the Yellow Jersey at the end of stage 1.
Damiano has spent a lot of energy on the Giro and it would not have been reasonable to send him to the Tour de France. He clearly represents our hopes for the future, in particular since he won the White Jersey in 2006. But he is still very young. It is quite normal to see him only every other year on the Tour, at least while he is young.
Lampre on the Tour in 2006
Team Roster: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Daniele Bennati (ITA), Paolo Bossoni (ITA), Marzio Bruseghin (ITA), Danilo Napolitano (ITA), Daniel Righi (ITA), Tadej Valjavec (SLN), Patxi Javier Vila (ESP).
Levi Leipheimer's team intends to lead him to the highest step of the podium, but they do not only aim at a nice result in the overall standings.
We will be present in various parts of the race. Levi Leipheimer will be our leader for the general classification. He will try to step on the final podium. Alberto Contador also stands a good chance of winning the White Jersey. And regarding the stage victories, we have riders who can win the intermediate stages, such as Vladimir Gusev, George Hincapie and Yaroslav Popovych. This may seem ambitious, but a team like ours needs to aim high! I know our riders are ready to do well, so everything is possible.
Levi had a stomach problem during the Dauphiné Libéré, and he fell in last stage when he was actually starting to feel better. But we are generally not concerned because he has been meticulously practising since the beginning of the year, his objective being the Tour de France. Besides, we also have riders who can make the difference in the mountain stages, such as Paulinho, Martinez, Contador and Noval.
It will take time before one can say who is really likely to win the Tour this year: it will not take long before we reach the mountain stages and the last mountain stage will arrive only a few days before the end of the race. So many riders may just wait and see at the beginning of the race. Astana has the two favourites with Vinokourov and Klöden. But other riders are capable of disturbing their plans, such as Christophe Moreau, who was amazing on the Dauphiné Libéré, or even Cadel Evans for instance.
Discovery Channel on the Tour in 2006
Team Roster: Alberto Contador (ESP), Vladimir Gusev (RUS), George Hincapie (USA), Levi Leipheimer (USA), Egoi Martinez (ESP), Benjamin Noval (ESP), Sergio Paulinho (POR), Yaroslav Popovych (UKR), Tomas Vaitkus (LIT).
Oscar Pereiro, second last year, and Alejandro Valverde are two potential Tour winners in a team that has grown more mature.
It is perfectly true; we will have two team leaders. And the explanation is quite simple. One cannot forget Oscar Pereiro's achievement in the last week of the 2006 Tour de France. And it is a fact that Alejandro Valverde has great qualities and a lot of potential. The difference is that one finished the Tour on the podium last year and the other started the Tour twice but never reached Paris. Alejandro is not experienced on the Tour, although he knows he is able to bring the Yellow Jersey home. But experience is an essential factor to race the Tour and Alejandro's is minimal. Last year he only raced three stages, just enough to feel the density of the race and his responsibility before the media.
The team got into shape at the right time. I am very happy with our training schedule this year. In the Spanish championships, we won the time trial and the straight race. This is very encouraging, just before the Tour. David Arroyo also did well at the Giro since he finished 10th in the general classification thanks to his nice performance in the mountain stages. All this proves we are well prepared for the Tour. Arroyo's mission is clear: he has to lead the way for our two leaders in the mountain stages. Sandio is also an excellent climber while Garcia Acosta, Portal and Perez will be more active is the other stages. As to Karpets, his results during the first part of the Tour will tell us what we can expect from him…
Obviously there is no major favourite this year. So people become ambitious. But given this situation and our performance last year, our ambitions are quite realistic. Oscar and Alejandro are capable of winning the Tour. Of course we will have to keep an eye on Vinokourov who might be a bit above average, but Klöden, Sastre, Menchow, Evans and Moreau will also come with legitimate ambitions. Moreau, for instance, is in great shape. Besides, he is a very experienced rider. I really think these eight riders will have their chances.
Caisse d'Epargne on the Tour in 2006
Team Roster: Oscar Pereiro, Alejandro Valverde, Vladimir Karpets, Xente Garcia Acosta, Nicolas Portal, Ivan Gutierrez, David Arroyo, Fran Pérez, Xavier Sandio
Thor Hushovd won the Green Jersey in 2005 and two stages in 2006. This year again, the Norwegian will lead the Crédit Agricole team. Roger Legeay counts, among other things, on his capacity to stay fit all along the race.
Our philosophy has not changed this year. Thor will seek the Green Jersey in Paris and we know the best way to bring this jersey home implies winning stages. Of course, when you look at our the last two Tours, we have lived two different situations: in 2005, Thor won the Green Jersey but no stages while he won two stages in 2006, but did not get the Green Jersey. Today, I would be happy with either these possibilities.
Thor Hushovd will be one among many potential winners for the bunch sprints.
It is a fact there will be more potential winners than stage victories available. I think Thor is stronger in the third week. An incredibly violent and fierce battle always unfolds in the first week. This is when riders like McEwen, who are more incisive, can make the difference. But Thor resists better than most of them in the mountain stages and he is generally fitter at the end of the Tour, which is an advantage in the quest for the Green Jersey.
As to the Prologue, his victory last year was a bit of a surprise in Strasburg. The prologue is longer this year, making it more difficult for him.
Our team has acquired a lot of experience on the Tour now. Our squad is robust, stable and well balanced. Unfortunately we will not have Pietro Caucchioli who was supposed to be our team leader for the general classification. Pietro had respiratory problems, more precisely an inflammation in the bronchial tubes, at the Giro. He is doing better now but his shoulder still hurts. And one needs to be in top condition to race the Tour de France. So Thor will enjoy the support of various experienced riders and we will also give rookie William Bonnet his chance. Every year I give his chance to a young rider for whom I want this experience to be fruitful. I expect him to play a useful role for the team and learn for his own future.
Crédit Agricole on the Tour in 2006
Team Roster: William Bonnet (FRA), Alexandre Botcharov (RUS), Anthony Charteau (FRA), Julian Dean (NZL), Dmitriy Fofonov (KAZ), Patrice Halgand (FRA), Sébastien Hinault (FRA), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Christophe Le Mevel (FRA)
Following their win in the combativity standings last year with David de la Fuente, Daunier Duval Prodir, with David Millar and Iban Mayo as leaders, wans to animate the race in all stages.
The Tour lends itself to so much media coverage that a stage victory is essential. It will be our objective, in particular because our team spirit very much focuses on attacking. Our team is atypical, it has no taboos and above all we like to fight and take initiatives. We always try to make the show and lead the pack. This is also why our fan club is so large, and why our jersey is so flashy and shiny. It tells it all about our intentions. We have always tried to be spectacular. And winning the combativity prize with David de la Fuente last year corresponds to our state of mind. And our course we want more for our third participation: we want at least a stage victory.
The team is well balanced. We have riders who can do well in all the stages. We can be in the forefront in a sprint but also in a climb. Millar is our best chance on the time trials and Ventoso can play a role in the sprints. And of our riders are made to climb mountains. Cobo is the man for long breakaways and Mayo's experience can give results.
Actually, the itinerary suites us quite well. Some will lose all possibilities at the beginning of the Alps. So the race will be quite open and we are quite ambitious. I think our team is able to play a role during these three weeks. Besides, we keep improving. We already have already had 21 wins in 2007. This proves that we have good riders and that our planning is well designed this year. Our 9 riders will be in top condition during the 21 race days.
Saunier Duval - Prodir on the Tour in 2006
Team: David Canada (ESP), David Millar (GBR), Iban Mayo (ESP), David de la Fuente (ESP), Juanjo Cobo (ESP), Iker Camaño (ESP), Rubén Lobato (ESP), Christophe Rinero (FRA), Francisco Ventoso (ESP).
With team leader Alexandre Vinokourov Astana aims at winning the Yellow Jersey in Paris. But Andreas Klöden or Paolo Savoldelli could also become potential winners!
The Yellow Jersey is our Number 1 objective. The team is built around Vino, so he has all it takes to win the race. But we also have Klöden and Savoldelli who are both able to ride for the Yellow Jersey if circumstances change. Remember Pereiro last year who finished second thanks to a 20-minute breakaway. You never know what can happen… But anyway, we have three riders who have shown their ability in the major tours and who are able of remain in the forefront for 21 days.
We know our team is among the strongest ones. So we are confident, but in cycling you do not win on paper. We have to face other riders who want to win and it always depends on the itinerary.
Well I learned that, sometimes, you cannot do much except be realistic. When you ride against someone like Moreau, who was in great shape, you just have to accept to let him go. That is why one cannot make too many plans. Our team is quite fit since we won four stages at the Dauphine Libéré. But eventually the mountain decided to make us finish 3rd in the general classification. Fortunately, we think our riders will keep improving before the beginning of the Tour.
The team: Antonio Colom (ESP), Maxim Iglinskiy (KAZ), Sergueï Ivanov (RUS), Andrey Kashechkin (KA), Andreas Klöden (GER), Daniel Navarro (ESP), Gregory Rast (SUI), Paolo Savoldelli (ITA), Alexandre Vinokourov (KA).
Former world champion Tom Boonen needs some stage victories to recover his status of sprint master. As last year, Boonen will also try to cross Belgium with the Yellow Jersey on his shoulders.
His preparation programme was completely different this year and he can take advantage of this fact. First of all he was less under pressure in the spring. That period of the year was less tiring for him this year. Last year he was in great shape for the Tour of Switzerland but was already quite worn out at the beginning of the Tour de France. So we decided to work differently this year: although Tom did not win the flat stage at the Dauphiné Libéré, the week spent there was quite positive, in particular because he was still pretty fit at the end of the race. So this is a good sign! It also makes it easier to start the Tour without being flagged as the favourite for the sprints: others will have to stand the pressure. Tom will also be motivated because he will have to prove he is still there.
His best memory of the Tour in 2006 was when he crossed Belgium wearing the Yellow Jersey… Many teams would just love to live such moments… Tom really can repeat this feat if all things go well. But to wear the Yellow Jersey in Belgium, he will have to stick to the best sprinters in the Prologue in London and manage to win the Canterbury stage!
Yes, we do. Juan Manuel Garate is our leader for the overall standings. He can actually aim at a Top 10 position in the general classification, if the race evolves favourably for him. Garate fell in the Tour of the Algarve where he broke an arm and two ribs. Then he started racing again at the Tour of Catalonia. At the Tour of Switzerland, Juan Manuel Garate finished in the 15th position and we hope he can aim higher. To me, he is in good shape, that will be his major asset.
Quick Step on the Tour in 2006
Provisional team roster: Tom Boonen (BEL), Carlos Barredo (ESP), Steven De Jongh (NED), Juan Manuel Garate (ESP), Bram Tankink (NED), Andrea Tonti (ITA), Matteo Tosatto (ITA), Sebastien Rosseler (BEL), Kevin Van Impe (BEL), Gert Steegmans (BEL), Cédric Vasseur (FRA)
The Bouygues Telecom squad is more mature and counts on this edition of the Tour de France to show its talent. Team Manager Jean-René Bernaudeau hopes his riders will be present in the mountain stages.
This edition of the Tour will give us the opportunity to show we belong, knowing that cycling is cleaner than in the past. What we have seen in the races for a few months encourages us to persevere with our efforts. And if the cycling world feels better, riders are less concerned and so the atmosphere is more favourable to good results.
We do not really have a leader to aim at a good position in the overall standings, but we will try to win at least one stage. Last year Pierrick Fedrigo gave us our first stage victory on the Tour and everybody was very moved in the team. Now we hope to live such moments again in the future. We will have twenty stages to prove we can win. Our riders will have to show their fighting spirit everyday!
No, he has not, because we have no team leader. Like his team mates, Thomas is there to improve his stats. To be honest, the major asset of our team lies in the fact that our riders complement each other. Generally speaking, our riders have maturity: Fedrigo is fitter than last year and so is Sprick. We will also count on Laurent Lefèvre and Johann Tschopp as soon as we reach the Alps. I think you will see us more in the mountain stages this year.
Bouygues Telecom on the Tour in 2006
Provisional team roster: Stef Clement (NED), Pierrick Fedrigo (FRA), Xavier Florencio (ESP), Anthony Geslin (FRA), Laurent Lefèvre (FRA), Jérôme Pineau (FRA), Matthieu Sprick (FRA), Johann Tschopp (SUI), Thomas Voeckler (FRA)
Markus Fothen was the White Jersey holder for a long period of time in the 2006 Tour. He will be the greatest hope of the squad for the general classification. This year Gerolsteiner bets on youth.
In our team, Markus stands the best chance to achieve a nice position in the overall standings. He is very ambitious and still remembers how he lost the White Jersey in the last time trial last year. So he wants to take revenge and erase this bad memory. He aims at the Top 10 this year, which would be a good result for our team.
He does not have the profile of a favourite on the Tour. Instead of focusing on the general classification, Stefan will try to clinch some stage victories. His mission will consist of being part of the right breakaways and bring back a stage win. He will also do some team work when the circumstances require him to.
This is the fruit of the orientations taken for the team. On the Tour, only one Gerolsteiner rider will be over 30 years old. We look at the future and we believe in this generation of riders. For instance, I hope Bernhard Kohl will race for the White Jersey. But others are also capable of achieving results, such as Robert Föster, or Heinrich Haussler who outran Boonen in a sprint at the Dauphiné. It is a real pleasure to see them grow stronger. The only problem is that the Tour requires experience. Fortunately, all these young men are true professionals. They will just have to distinguish between those stages where they need to attack and those in which they just have to follow the pack.
Gerolsteiner on the Tour in 2006
Provisional Team Roster: Robert Förster (GER), Markus Fothen (GER), Heinrich Haussler (GER), Bernhard Kohl (AUT), David Kopp (GER), Sven Krauss (GER), Volker Ordowski (GER), Ronny Scholz (GER), Stefan Schumacher (GER), Fabian Wegmann (GER), Peter Wrolich (AUT)
The Basque team did not live up to the expectations of their fans in the 2006 Tour de France. The riders with the orange jersey are back this year, stronger and better prepared to help their leader Haimar Zubeldia who aims at a Top 10 position in the overall standings.
Our method was simple: the group of riders coming to the Tour this year was determined in January. So we mobilised twelve riders until the final selection on June 26. Our work focused on the preparation of the Tour, which is our major objective. We went on reconnaissance in the Pyreneans in May and the Dauphiné Libéré was a satisfactory test. Our team is powerful, ready to climb mountains, confident and ambitious. Haimar Zubeldia will be our team leader and we aim at the Top 10 in Paris. I would even dare say the Top 5 given his current potential!
Yes, it is. A stage win in the Pyreneans would be perfect. We are ready to do our utmost to reach that goal. Actually it is quite interesting for us to start with the Alps because we will be fitter in the Pyreneans afterwards and better able to evaluate our competitors' capacity. And this Tour will be particularly hard. The first week of the race will be different since we will hit the medium mountain on the fifth day and then the Alps right after that.
Honestly, the mountain will decide. And I like it this way. And the riders are used to riding according to their shape and to the circumstances of the race. Our group is quite experienced to reach a nice result. Moreover, we also count on Mikel Astarloza to help us in this Tour. He comes from a French team and so he knows France very well, and more particularly the Tour, his true passion in sports. 24-year-old Igor Anton comes from our youth teams and will race the Tour de France for the first time. But he has already finished the Giro and the Vuelta once, and he has just won the most difficult stage on the Tour of Romandy. They will help Isasi, Landaluze and Verdugo who are experienced riders.
Team Roster: Haimar Zubeldia (ESP), Mikel Astarloza (ESP), Iñigo Landaluze (ESP), Iñaki Isasi (ESP), Gorka Verdugo (ESP), Igor Antón (ESP), Rubén Pérez (ESP), Amets Txurruka (ESP), Jorge Azanza (ESP).
Although Team Cofidis has modest ambitions for the general classification, Eric Boyer gives a chance to all the riders in the squad for a stage victory. Bradley Wiggins might already set the tone during the prologue in London.
Bradley has been identified as an outsider and will do his best to win the prologue. I believe Cacellara is the real favourite, but Wiggins is also a candidate, along with Zabriskie, Millar or Hushovd. Of course this would be good news for the team and we would even have the Yellow Jersey at least for the first stage. Anyway, Bradley will take up this challenge calmly. Of course his winning the prologue of the Dauphiné Libéré confirms his status but he knows how to stay cool and remain objective.
Our competitors perfectly know none of our riders can finish the Tour in the Top 5. Besides, I prefer to claim a few stages wins. People remember that, not a 10th place in the ranking. And when I speak of stage victories, I mean more than one. Our nine riders are all capable of winning a stage. This might seem pretentious, but one needs to be ambitious: I would be happy with two stage victories and the prologue.
We will not fake we are weak. We want to be part of the game. So, of course, our team will try it all and I expect our squad to give a boost to the race. But we will not just attack for the sake of attacking. We will think before, but believe me: we are not going to calculate. Because if you calculate, it means you're scared.
Cofidis on the Tour in 2006:
Provisional Team Roster: Stéphane Augé (FRA), Sylvain Chavanel (FRA), Geoffroy Lequatre (FRA), Cristian Moreni (ITA), Nick Nuyens (BEL), Ivan Parra (COL), Staf Scheirlinckx (BEL), Rik Verbrugghe (BEL), Bradley Wiggins (GBR)
Liquigas may not have the weapons to fight for the first positions in the overall classification, but their Team Manager expects his riders to try their luck in the breakaways. Beltran will aim at the Top 10.
It is true we do not aim at the Yellow Jersey, but we still have some challenges ahead of us, including the general classification. Among our riders, Manuel Beltran boasts of the best profile to claim a Top 10 position in Paris. He has worked a lot lately and theoretically should be in excellent shape for the Tour. Knowing he finished 8th at the Dauphiné Libéré, he still belongs to the group of riders one should keep an eye on…
Yes we do. We will bet on Filippo Pozzato who is a co-leader in our team. Filippo is now starting the second part of his season. He started riding again at the Tour of Catalonia, then went to the Tour of Switzerland and is fit now for the Tour de France. He is a rider of great distinction who is able to make the difference in an intermediate stage, even if he has to sprint with forty other men. And above all he also has the mental strength to win this kind of stage. If the conditions allow it, we are likely to see him around Autun, or else in Bourg-en-Bresse…
This is the major feature of our team. Carlström, Quinziato or Fischer are good riders who can clinch a stage victory if they get in the right breakaway. So we will have to take our chances… we will spice up the race!Liquigas on the Tour in 2006
Provisional Team roster: Michael Albasini (SUI), Manuel Beltran (ESP), Kjell Carlström (FIN), Murilo Antonio Fischer (BRA), Vladimir Miholjevic (CRO), Matej Mugerli (SLN), Filippo Pozzato (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Willems Frederik (BEL)
Erik Breukink (RAB): "This Tour will be very long for the favourites" The 2006 Tour was conclusive for Rabobank. With Denis Menchov, the Dutch team intends to do better and even reach the podium. Freire and Rasmussen should be able to claim some stage victories on very different profiles.
Last year Denis finished 6th and obviously aims at the Top 3 now. His has gained experience and that is maybe what was lacking last year. I think that he has improved. He will also be more consistent during the whole race. There is still a question mark regarding the performance in the time trials, but what he has shown at the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré was quite encouraging. Another factor is important: we will arrive early in the Alps and we will leave the Pyreneans quite late. In other words, this Tour will be very long for the favourites and they will have to be able to take the pressure.
What matters the most for Rasmussen is a stage victory rather than the Polka Dot Jersey. But this is how he ended up leading the Mountain Classification last year. If he manages to win a lot of points in one single day, then the Polka Dot Jersey will become an objective. So yes, the earlier he comes to the Alps, the better.
Of course Oscar can win stages during the first week, but I have the feeling the competition between sprinters will be even fiercer this year! Petacchi will be the man to beat. But let's not forget about McEwen, Boonen and all the promising young sprinters such as Cavendish. Oscar Freire has a clear advantage in the sense that he does not need any leadoutman in the last hundred metres. If Juan-Antonio Flecha helps setting him up before the sprint, Freire can go all the way on his own.
Rabobank on the Tour in 2006
Porvisional team roster: Denis Menchov (RUS), Michael Boogerd (NED), Bram De Groot (NED), Thomas Dekker (NED), Oscar Freire (ESP), Juan-Antonio Flecha (ESP), Joost Posthuma (NED), Michaël Rasmussen (DEN), Pieter Weening (NED)
Barloworld hopes to honour its wild card in the Tour with a rider in the Top 10 of the overall standings. The British team also dreams of a glorious feat for young rider Geraint Thomas in the streets of London…
First of all, I am very satisfied because getting a wild card was not that easy with the team we have. So I take it as a reward for all the work we achieved with means we have today. Now we will have to prove, on the road, that we deserved this wild card and that we are strong enough to race the Tour de France.
We did not appoint a leader, but I know our team is quite solid with riders like Alexander Efimkin or Konstantin Siutsou who are mentally strong. I actually selected the riders according to their mental strength because this is what really matters in this type of race, especially this year, without clear favourite and no team able to control the peloton for 3 weeks. So if we're lucky, one of our riders will make it to the Top 10 of the overall standings.
Robert goes fast but he will still have a hard time beating Petacchi, McEwen or Boonen in a bunch sprint. He should rather try to get into a good breakaway group. I am also looking forward to seeing how our young Welsh rider Geraint Thomas will behave in the prologue. He is a very good rider. Actually, he won the gold medal in the team pursuit at the Track Cycling World Championships. Maybe his time has come!
Provisional Team Roster: Robert Hunter (RSA), Felix Cardenas (COL), Giampaolo Cheula (ITA), Alexander Efimkin (RUS), Fabrizio Guidi (ITA), Paolo Longo-Borghini (ITA), Konstantin Siutsou (BLR), Mauricio Soler (COL), Geraint Thomas (GBR)
Hendrick Redant (PRL): "Those who dream of reaching the podium, dream of the Yellow Jersey"
For his third participation in the Tour, Australian rider Cadel Evans intends to reach the Top 3. As to Robbie McEwen, he will ride to complete his collection of bouquets.
Generally speaking, our strategy will be the same as last year. But you are right, Cadel has improved again. Cadel also has considerably more experience now, which is important. And physically, we all saw he was in good shape at the Dauphiné and I know he can do even better. So he can obviously improve his 2006 result and aim at the podium. And those who dream of reaching the podium, dream of the Yellow Jersey.
It is a fact that several teams are better equipped than us, but Cadel will have some support. We have Dario Cioni, and also Chris Horner, who fell too early last year. Not to mention Mario Aerts.
Above all Robbie wants to win stages. It is true he has won fewer races due to an increasing number of good sprinters. Still, McEwen has all it takes to win. Petacchi was very strong in the Giro and if he remains in such good shape, he will be McEwen's number 1 rival. But we will also have to be careful about the young sprinters, like Cavendish, for instance.
Predictor-Lotto on the Tour in 2006:
Provisional Team Roster: Cadel Evans (AUS), Mario Aerts (BEL), Christophe Brandt (BEL), Christopher Horner (USA), Robbie McEwen (AUS), Fred Rodriguez (USA), Johan Van Summeren (BEL), Dario Cioni (ITA), Win Van Huffel (BEL)
The Team Manager of Française des Jeux says his riders would make good their promise with a stage victory. The team has not won a stage on the Tour since 2003 with Bradley McGee and Baden Cooke.
Just like every other year, I would be very happy with a stage victory. This may seem too modest but we all know not everybody will have the chance to claim a stage win. And you know, I am not too picky either. I would take just any stage win, the earlier the better. Except the prologue for which we really have no candidate, I expect my riders to take their chances.
No, we turned the 2006 page long ago. And the group looks stronger than last year. Our experienced riders are more mature and our youngest members have improved. Regardless your results on the previous edition of the Tour de France, you always aim as high as possible.
Remy will be part of the squad but he is only there to learn.
The Française des Jeux team on the Tour in 2006
Provisional Team Roster: Sandy Casar (FRA), Sébastien Joly (FRA), Rémy Di Grégorio (FRA), Mathieu Ladagnous (FRA), Sébastien Chavanel (FRA), Benoît Vaugrenard (FRA), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Thomas Lövkvist (SUE), and one of the following three riders: Delage (FRA), Carlos Da Cruz (FRA) or Lilian Jégou (FRA).
This year, Christian Lacroix joined the Tour de France to support Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque. The fashion designer drew a T-shirt that will be sold to help finance the surgery of sick children.
Heart malformations hit a child out of a hundred for no reason. The necessary surgery to save them is often impossible in countries where medical equipment can not be found. The "Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque - Enfants du monde" association has decided on a mission to try and help these condemned children by organising a special operation in France. For the fifth year running, the Tour helps out MCC, taking advantage of its media impact to attract the attention of a large crowd. Since 2003, sportsmen and women as well as personalities from all kind of horizons ride on the course of one of the time-trials of the race, in what is called l'Etape du Cœur (the Heart stage). Guy Roux and Paul Belmondo, now used to this event are part of the twenty or so "VIPs" expected in Albi on the 21st of July.
This year on the Tour, the solidarity link expands itself to new directions. Indeed Christian Lacroix uses his talent to help MCC. The fashion designer has created T-shirts bearing the colours of the Tour for the association. The 3500 models will be sold out in the Galeries Lafayette shops (in Paris and elsewhere) as well as in the official Tour shops to help the sick children at a prize of €30.
The traditional partners of the Tour have also chosen to take part in this action, PMU will even launch a special operation during the month of July. By betting €6 on the Quinté + (horse races), gamblers will be given a "Petit-Coeur" (little heart) green jersey key-ring for €2. Half of that sum will go to the association.
Thanks to the support of the Tour and of its partners (LCL, Skoda, PMU, Champion…), 40 children will go through surgery this year. 92 have already been saved since 2003.
The stars riding the Etape du Cœur:
Guy Roux, Paul Belmondo, Adeline Blondieau, Dominique Bergin, Jean-Pierre Danguillaume, Bernard Darniche, Michel Drucker, Jacky Durand, Stéphane Heulot, Bernard Hinault, Gérard Holtz, Laurent Jalabert, Magali Le Floch, Nelson Monfort, Carole Montillet, Julie Pomagalski, Pierre Rabadan, José Touré, Richard Virenque
To know more: www.mecenat-cardiaque.org
The T-Mobile squad has been reorganised after Klöden and Ullrich left and now relies on Michael Rogers to be in the forefront. The young riders will be there to learn.
Yes, we count on him for the general classification. Michael clearly belongs to the group of riders who can finish in the Top 10, but there are many others. However, he has a great potential: he is actually very good in the time-trials and he is also able to follow the best climbers in the most difficult climbs. So he can aim at the Top 5, or even better.
We expect climbers like Sinkewitz, Guerini and Kirchen to play a role in the mountains. They have experience and know this type of difficulty. What really matters is that they are all willing to support each other. We spent a week at a training camp in the Pyreneans in June and I really felt a strong team spirit.
This year we decided to hire young riders, as we chose to radically change our team. They are excellent riders but their first mission will be to learn. We come to the Tour with a team of young riders, but we don't want to "burn" them. However, we don't intend to spend three weeks hiding at the end of the peloton. They must take their chances.
T-Mobile on the Tour in 2006
Provisional Team Roster: Michael Rogers (AUS), Bernhard Eisel (AUT), Linus Gerdemann (GER), Bert Grabsch (GER), Kim Kirchen (LUX), Patrik Sinkewitz (GER), Giuseppe Guerini (ITA), Stephan Schreck (GER), Axel Merckx (BEL), Marcus Burghardt (GER)
Gianluigi Stanga (MRM): "For Petacchi, the most dangerous competitor remains McEwen"
All the troops in the group will be mobilised to reach the team's Number 1 objective: to help Petacchi win stages. But Erik Zabel will also join the quest.
It is true that our riders have few chances of reaching a nice position in the general classification, but you can count on us to ride for stage wins! Alessandro Petacchi is our best bet but Erik Zabel could also claim a stage win. On paper, it is logical to see Petacchi as the team leader, but Zabel is not forced to work for him. In other words, depending on the days, one or the other may try his chances. We have been using this system in several races now and the results are quite good.
First of all, as for any sprinter, the Champs-Elysées stage is like a dream for him. And he also wants to win the green jersey. After all, he has proved on the Giro that he is able to climb the mountains, even though the stages were very demanding this year.
Petacchi may well be 33 years old but he has won 5 stages on the Giro! It is a fact that some younger riders are standing out and that we will have to keep an eye on them, like Bennati for instance. But for Petacchi, the most dangerous competitor remains McEwen. Once again these two will challenge each other in an interesting duel. Anyway, we have a good team and if Alessandro is in shape, it will work out again with Lancaster as a leadoutman before the finish line!
Milram on the 2006 Tour
Provisional Team Roster: Alessandro Cortinovis (ITA), Ralf Grabsch (GER), Andriy Grivko (UKR), Christian Knees (GER), Brett Lancaster (AUS), Alberto Ongarato (ITA), Alessandro Petacchi (ITA), Marcel Sieberg (GER), Erik Zabel (GER)
The Tour de France, a test bench of innovations in the media, will be filmed and broadcasted by France Télévisions in high definition (HD). The technological challenge promises viewers strong sensations.
The media have devoted themselves for more than a century to the mission of making the Tour come alive for their readers, audiences and viewers. The constant challenge has been how to bring the public closer to the pack. Since the arrival of television, all kinds of records have been broken in the Tour: the first live broadcast on location showed the finish of the last stage in the Parc des Princes in 1948, the first images broadcasted live from a motorcycle during the race arrived in the 60sâ€¦ In the turn of the 21st Century, the images of the Tour are broadcasted in 185 countries all over the world: the production is guaranteed by 5 motorcycles, 2 helicopters, and 10 fixed cameras at the finish line.
The important operation set up is enough to meet the expectations of the most demanding viewers. The 2007 edition of the Tour de France will set a new milestone in the search for realism. With HD television, the sharpness of the image obtained makes traditional screens seem like something from the black-and-white era: an image composed before of 625 lines, now has 1,080.
France Télévisions and the teams of the SFP (French Production Company) have embarked themselves on a ground-breaking initiative. Although HD has been greatly used in the US (NHL, NBAâ€¦) and Japan, the filming and broadcasting of images transmitted live through HF, i.e. wireless, is a first in the world. As this is the most problematic aspect from a technical point of view, almost four years of preparation were necessary. The last tests were carried out in live conditions in Paris-Tours 2006 and Paris-Roubaix 2007.
After its stay in London, the Tour de France will visit two neighbouring countries during the 94th edition: Belgium on the 9th and 10th of July for the Dunkerque-Gand and Waregem-Compiègne stages and Spain for a 50km ride on the 25th of July on the course between Orthez and the Col d'Aubisque. While the details of the preparation aren't as thorough as with the English partners, the organisers of the Tour still went through a series of questions with the authorities of the two concerned countries, where the spectators are expected to come in numbers on the side of the roads. Two meetings have therefore been organised, on the 4th of May in Mouscron, Belgium and on the 11th of May in Pampelona, Spain, to define the security measures and how it will apply to the French authorities in the countries visited: creation of mixed teams between the French police, the “Republican guard” squadron and the country’s police, private use of the road and harmonization of security rules were on the order of the day. The meetings have mainly confirmed the enthusiasm of the Belgian and Spanish representatives, ready to host the Tour on their soil. It is for the pack a certainty of being welcomed in perfect security conditions.
Christian Prudhomme went to visit the team structures of Gerolsteiner yesterday a few minutes away from Stuttgart in a place called Herrenberg. For the Tour de France director, it was also a good opportunity to insist on the values he shares with Hans-Michael Holczer, manager of the German team.
I've taken the habit of meeting a few teams during their winter training camps. After having spent some time with T-Mobile a few weeks ago in the Baleares Islands, I also wanted to discuss with the head staff of Gerolsteiner who are commited like ourselves and like more and more teams to battle against doping. With Bob Stapleton, head of T-Mobile and Hans Michael Holczer, the Gerolsteiner boss, we share the same philosophy.
Hans Michael Holczer is really a huge cycling fanatic. He is decided to go all the way to defend this magnificent sport. We currently have a big crisis to sort out: the Puerto affaire. The Tour de France has no sporting power to act but we know on the other hand that we are among the opinion leaders on these questions. We are therefore present to push the sword in the stomach of those who do condemnable things. What interests me is no longer to have a debate on the issues of yesterday or the day before yesterday, but to have a clear idea on the 2007 pack for today’s and tomorrow’s cycling.
Yes, because there is a future for the sport over there. When I saw how many people were present on the roads during the 2005 Tour, especially in Karlsruhe, I really wondered how we would manage to finish the stage! And yesterday, there were around twenty journalists present for the press conference that was organised. I am therefore convinced that there is a real interest for cycling in Germany and that this interest just awaits to turn to passion.
The UCI President, Pat McQuaid, the Director of the Tour de France Christian Prudhomme and the AIGCP President, Patrick Lefévère met today in Moudon, Switzerland, at the start of the 3rd stage of the Tour de Romandie. During this meeting, the three parties all expressed their wish to commit themselves, using all the means at their disposal, to find a swift and final solution to the “Puerto” affair.
Messrs. McQuaid, Prudhomme and Lefévère stated that “this meeting is very important for the future of our sport, and shows that all those involved are working together unreservedly to fight against doping”. This united force reaffirmed in Moudon is an essential basis for action that will taken not only in view of the 2007 Tour de France (in particular an increase in the number of random out-of-competition tests), but also in the general context of efforts made by the UCI, A.S.O. and the AIGCP to fight doping.
The decentralization laws voted during the 2004 year have led the organisers of the Tour de France to modify their work procedures concerning the usage and work on the roads used by the pack during the mounth of July. The exploitation and maintenance of a huge part of the national roads being now transferred from the state to the area councils, the Tour has naturally adapted to discuss with these new actors. The course of the Tour de France being now designed on roads managed at 97% by the area departments, a technical partnership has been signed with the “Assemblée des Départements” de France (A.D.F.) on the 24th of April.
The agreement concerning practical modalities for road use (set up for a private usage…) for the 2007 Tour plans two novelties:
Brittany, chosen to host the “Grand Départ” of the 2008 Tour de France is preparing for the event that will mark the sporting life of the area. Daniel Gilles, vice-president of the Conseil Régional in charge of Sports, was invited with a part of his team on the 2nd of May by Christian Prudhomme, for a first work meeting since the announcement of Brittany’s designation, last January.
Over a year before term, the goal of the meeting was more to define the way of collaborating between the different actors than to really take decisions on the practiacl aspect of the organisation of the “Grand Départ” and the first two stages: ”We have first decided to establish a work calendar and exchanged ideas on the themes that link us together, explained Christian Prudhomme after the discussions. For example, we know that in terms of communication, we will have several opportunities during the year to talk about the visit of the Tour in Brittany. The Breizh Touch festival that will be held in Paris from the 16th to the 23rd of September is one of them. So is the cycle festival. Meetings have therefore been decided. I was also delighted to see that Daniel Gilles was especially touched by the message that we have for the young pupils in elementary school thanks to our operation “À Chacun son Tour”. We will imagine together different means to develop this operation in the Brittany area”.