Saturday, July 3, 2010

97th Tour de France Starts Today

The 97th Tour de France starts today in Rotterdam with a prologue. Seventeen Italian riders across seven teams will be competing.

Christian Prudhomme, Director of Tour de France, writes, "Rotterdam will host the Grand Départ of the Tour for the fifth time. A journalist recently asked me why the Netherlands has been favoured compared to the other countries (“only” three starts each for Belgium and Germany, two for Luxembourg, one for Spain and none in Italy, for instance). Besides the geographical location, which gives the organisers every freedom to organise the route in its entirety, a large part of the answer lies in these few lines, written in L’Équipe in 1954, when the Grande Boucle decided to start outside French borders for the very first time: “All of the Netherlands seemed to have gathered on the roads of Wassenaar, Delft, Rotterdam… Tens of thousands of spectators in closed ranks, uninterrupted, for kilometres and kilometres, clapping, cheering for everything that had to do with the Tour, the cyclists, the motorcyclists, the cars that followed or that led… [In this way] they made a triumph of the first stage!”

Enjoy the race.

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