The Tour de France is heading back to Holland in 2010.
Tour officials announced Thursday that the 2010 Tour will start in Rotterdam. More details will be provided in an official ceremony on Dec. 11 in the Dutch port city, officials said.
“Rotterdam is an important metropolitan area with assurance of success,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme told AFP. “It’s doing everything so that people can get around on the bike. It’s in this spirit that the city wants the grand départ.”
The Dutch city was picked ahead of Utrecht, Holland, and Dusseldorf, Germany.
Alberto Contador brushed off a minor crash in a Sunday criterium honoring compatriot Joan Llaneras just as he’s poised to join Lance Armstrong at an Astana team camp early next month.
The Giro-Vuelta double champion hit the deck during the ACP Criterium on Sunday and was showing some minor cuts and scrapes as a result.
“I’m fine, I have some superficial scrapes on my shoulder and face. In the end, it wasn’t as bad as I thought,” Contador told reporters. “The impact was hard despite going at a slow speed. It was no big deal.”
Italian cyclist Riccardo Riccò on Monday filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), seeking a reduction in his two-year doping suspension, noting that he had cooperated with investigators after being found positive at the Tour de France.
Riccò, 24, was suspended from riding by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) in July after admitting to using a new variant of the EPO. He was kicked out the Tour and was subsequently fired by his Saunier-Duval team after testing positive following the Stage 4 time-trial.
Leonardo Piepoli, one of seven riders to fail drug tests at the Tour de France, has demanded a counter-test, according to the French national anti-doping agency (AFLD) on Wednesday.
Piepoli, one of four who tested positive for a new strain of a banned blood booster EPO called CERA, will be controlled in the coming weeks AFLD said, without giving further details.
Last month Austria's Bernhard Kohl became the seventh positive doping case after being controlled retroactively for CERA, joining Italians Piepoli and Riccardo Ricco and Germany's Stefan Schumacher.
German public broadcaster ARD has been told it has no basis on which to bring a premature end to its contract with Tour de France organizers to televise the race during 2009-11.
A spate of recent doping scandals, some of which involved German and Austrian riders, prompted ARD and fellow German broadcaster ZDF to announce their intention to stop broadcasting the world's biggest bike race.
Levi Leipheimer couldn’t be in Paris last week to watch the official unveiling of the route of the 2009 Tour de France, but he was certainly following the news.
Like just about everyone, the Astana captain was keenly waiting for details of the 96th Tour. VeloNews caught up with Leipheimer while he was in Utah this week to gauge his reaction to the route. Here are excerpts from the interview:
VeloNews: What was your first impression after seeing the route?
Mont Ventoux could play judge, jury and executioner in the 96th Tour de France in what some are already calling a climber’s course.
For the 2009 Tour, officials saved the best and hardest for last, with the mighty Ventoux poised in the penultimate day of the 21-stage, 3445km route from Monaco to Paris.
Tour officials, who unveiled the course to rave reviews in a ceremony in Paris on Wednesday, are hoping the race will be so tightly packed that almost anything could happen on the storied steeps of the géant de Provence.
What’s most clear from Wednesday’s announcement of the 2009 Tour de France is that the winner will have to maintain top form from the very first day in Monaco on July 4 to the finish in Paris on July 26.
Lance Armstrong says the 2009 Tour de France route, unveiled Wednesday, is "innovative and very interesting" and he said he looks forward to negotiating with Tour officials about "a mutually beneficial future together."
In the statement released Wednesday afternoon, Armstrong appeared to be a bit ambivalent about whether he would ride the Tour next year.
Call the 2009 Tour de France a race of innovation and originality.
Unwinding like a corkscrew from Monaco on July 4 to the finale into Paris three weeks later, the 21-stage race will be one hard to control and full of room for riders who dare to defy traditional tactics.
Mont Ventoux is back, and so is the team time trial, but what makes the 2009 Tour route so interesting is that organizers were not afraid to throw convention to the wind.