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Gérardmer / Mulhouse

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Sarajevo GP : Cycling's Tribute to a Major Event in History



Several days before the anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, an event which triggered the conflicts that led to the First World War, a pack of more than 2,000 cyclists (including 140 professionals) from all over the Balkans converged on Eastern Sarajevo to ride to Sarajevo.

Escorted by the Tour de France winners Bernard Thévenet, Joop Zoetemelk and Stephen Roche, in the presence of Jean-Yves Le Drian (the French Minister of Defence), Roland Gilles (the French ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina), Joseph Zimet (General Manager of the First World War Centenary commemorations), Bakir Izetbegović (Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina) as well as the mayors of Eastern Sarajevo and Sarajevo who came together for the occasion, all the riders paraded under the same banner: the yellow of the Tour de France.
Cycling as a force for bringing people together
A force for bringing communities together, the Sarajevo Grand Prix made it possible to send out a message of peace and reconciliation between the inhabitants of Eastern Sarajevo, predominantly Serbian, and those of Sarajevo, who are mostly Bosnian, twenty years after the bloody conflict that marked the city. The long cortège of yellow unifying the two parts of the Bosnian capital symbolically paraded down Sniper Alley, the main street on which some building walls still bear the scars of the war. On completion of this parade route, 140 professional riders from the four corners of the Balkans, and even further afield in Europe, took starter's orders to race the first Sarajevo Grand Prix over a 135-km route, through fourteen towns in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Slovenian Matej Marin won the sprint in front of two Italian riders.
The Tour de France, whose edition in 1914 started on 28th June, the day Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, and which lost three former winners (Lapize, Faber and Petit-Breton) to the combats, will again commemorate the Centenary of the First World War this year by passing through prominent places in the conflict, from Ypres to Verdun, including the site of famous battles, such as the Chemin des Dames.

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Will the three stages in the Vosges determine the overall winner?

  • Yes, they’ll confirm Nibali’s domination9.61%
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  • No, Porte will beat them all in the time trial11.97%
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