Cycling: Tour pays tribute to Anquetil

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The Independent Online
The 1997 Tour de France, which will start in Rouen in honour of the late five-times winner Jacques Anquetil, returns to its roots with an almost entirely French itinerary.

Rouen, the birthplace of Anquetil, will mark the 10th anniversary of the great French racer's death - and the 40th anniversary of his first Tour triumph in 1957 - with the prologue on 5 July.

The 1997 Tour will then head down the western side of France - taking in Brittany, which missed out this year - embarking on an anti-clockwise reverse swing to the 1996 race won by the Dane, Bjarne Rijs.

There are just two individual time trials apart from the prologue: the first at St Etienne on 18 July after the only rest day and before the tough climb to Alpe d'Huez and the second on the penultimate stage, like this year, at Disneyland before the traditional run-in to the Champs-Elysees in Paris on 27 July.

Five of the opening seven stages are longer than 200km as the tour makes for Bordeaux and the traditional crossing of the Landes before arriving at the Pyrenees ahead of the Alps.

The itinerary does not appear to favour the time-trial specialist Miguel Indurain, who is believed to be seeking a change of team in pursuit of a record sixth tour victory.

1997 TOUR DE FRANCE ITINERARY: 5 July: Prologue Rouen (8km individual time trial); 6: Stage 1 Rouen to Forges-les-Eaux (192km); 7: S2 St-Valery- en-Caux to Vire (262km); 8: S3 Vire to Plumelec (217km); 9: S4 Plumelec to Le Puy-du-Fou (225km); 10: S5 Chantonnay to La Chatre (257km); 11: S6 Le Blanc to Marennes (216km); 12: S7 Marennes to Bordeaux (190km); 13: S8 Sauternes to Pau (165km); 14: S9 Pau to Vallee du Louron via Loudenvielle (178km); 15: S10 Luchon to Andorra-Arcalis (242km); 16: S11 Andorra to Perpignan (186km); 17: Rest day; 18: S12 St-Etienne (individual time trial, 55km); 19: S13 St-Etienne to L'Alpe d'Huez (204km); 20: S14 Bourg d'Oisans to Courchevel (140km); 21: S15 Courcheval to Morzine (217km); 22: S16 Morzine to Fribourg (180km); 23: S17 Fribourg to Colmar (190km); 24: S18 Colmar to Montbeliard (164km); 25: S19 Montbeliard to Dijon (172km); 26: S20 Disneyland (individual time trial, 62km); 27: S21 Disneyland to Paris (150km).

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