Cycling: Whitehall start for 2007 Tour

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The Independent Online

The opening stage of the 2007 Tour de France to be held in London will start on Whitehall, near Trafalgar Square and the Prime Minister's Downing Street residence, before finishing on the Mall.

The 8km (5m) prologue on 7 July - on the second anniversary of last year's terrorist bombings - will also pass the Houses of Parliament and Hyde Park. It will finish on the Mall, the ceremonial avenue leading to Buckingham Palace.

"When the Grand Départ gets here next summer, it will receive the biggest welcome from the fastest-growing cycling city in Europe," said the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.

A day later, the riders will travel out of London through the city's financial district to Kent and finish approximately 200km (125m) away in the historic cathedral city of Canterbury.

* Roberto Heras plans to appeal against the Spanish Cycling Federation's decision to ban him for two years and strip him of last year's Vuelta title after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

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