Officials stay cagey on London start for 2007 Tour

Tour de France officials have flatly denied newspaper reports that on top of London's successful Olympic candidature, they would also be announcing next week that the UK capital will host the start of the Tour de France in 2007.

London is strongly believed to be the best-placed candidate of six cities currently bidding for the 2007 Grand Départ - which would include an evening prologue centred on Trafalgar Square.

But the Tour is keeping its cards hidden as to who will get the start - and more so after a day when London was awarded the Olympics at Paris's expense.

"We would definitely not make such an announcement about another start during the Tour itself," said race director, Christian Prudhomme. "We have already stated that this decision was not going to be published until October, certainly not next week. There's no hurry at all."

Race officials had already stated in March that the Tour was delaying announcing the 2007 start location until the autumn "in order to avoid influencing the Paris bid".

After yesterday's awarding of the 2012 Olympics to London, local morale was hardly lifted by the torrential downpours that accompanied yesterday's stage.

Nor were matters helped by a complete absence of Frenchmen in the four-man break which attempted fruitlessly to go clear of the peloton, while the first local rider to make it across the line in the concluding bunch sprint at Montargis was Jean-Patrick Nazon in 11th spot.

The day's bouquet of flowers for first place went instead to the Australian Robbie McEwen, who beat his arch rival, Tom Boonen of Belgium, by less than half a wheel in a ferocious charge for the line.

McEwen's sixth Tour stage was what he called "a little bit of revenge" following his disqualification from another bunch sprint 48 hours earlier.

McEwen had rammed his head into the shoulder of his fellow sprinter Stuart O'Grady in the finishing straight at Tours, and was promptly relegated 180 places for his action.

"Guys like Eddy Merckx and Sean Kelly agree with me they [the race officials] took the wrong decision," McEwen argued.

The race officials' intervention at the start of yesterday's racing proved even more unpopular, however. Lance Armstrong had initially refused to wear his leader's yellow jersey out of respect for the rider who had previously held the No 1 spot, Dave Zabriskie.

"He would be wearing the maillot jaune today if he hadn't crashed [in Tuesday's time trial]," said Armstrong, whose decision was in keeping with a cycling tradition stretching back to the days of Merckx.

But to no avail. In full view of the television cameras, Armstrong was obliged to take off his Discovery Channel team jersey and don the yellow.

The Texan's flamboyant explanation of his U-turn - "[The race director] Jean-Marie Leblanc told me that either I wore that jersey or tomorrow I wouldn't be wearing a jersey at all" - was given short shrift by Leblanc himself.

"I was ahead of the race so how could I have told him?" Leblanc said. "It was [cycling's governing body] the UCI's officials who decided."

The irony - that Armstrong considered, as an American outsider, to have little respect for cycling's traditions and then forced to contravene them in the face of implacable officialdom - was lost on nobody.

Alasdair Fotheringham writes for 'Cycling Weekly'

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?