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Qatar Airways to transport Tour de France peloton

Tour de France organizers on Friday announced an agreement with Qatar Airways to transport the race peloton to Paris for the final stage of this year’s race.

The peloton won't be taking the train from Grenoble to Paris after all.

Race organizers ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) announced the agreement Friday, only days after the Qatari company was voted the world’s number one airline.

It means that this year the peloton, which in recent years has travelled to the outskirts of Paris on the morning of the final stage by the TGV high-speed train, will travel from Grenoble to Orly airport on an Airbus A330.

Upon arrival, the field will then travel to Creteil for the start of the 21st and final stage of the July 2-24 race, which ends on the Champs Elysees.

“This is an opportunity for us to demonstrate our passion for sport,” Qatar Airlines chairman Akbar Al Baker said. “There couldn’t be a better time to announce this news. Earlier this week Qatar Airways was voted the world’s top airline company.”

Qatar Airways boasts a fleet of 98 airplanes and is set to take that past the 120 mark by 2013, according to Al Baker.

The announcement comes months after Qatar’s successful acquisition of the World Cup in 2022.

In recent weeks forays have also been made into the French sports business market, with Qatari companies taking a controlling stake in top flight football side Paris Saint Germain and buying part of the television rights for French first division matches.

ASO meanwhile has had links with Qatar for a decade, in the shape of the Tour of Qatar cycling event ─ a one-week race held in February.

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