The first riders to climb the Pyrenees on the Tour de France 100 years ago called the organisers ‘criminals’ and this year’s peloton may start to feel the same during Tuesday’s punishing 16th stage.
Since the day in 1910 when Octave Lapize was the first at the top of the Tourmalet, the Pyrenees have become a tradition of the Tour and Tuesday’s stage is seen by many as the hardest of this year’s race.
The bunch will ride the 2,110-metres Tourmalet summit for the 76th time in a 199.5-km stage that includes the four climbs featured on the course of a ride between Perpignan and Bagneres-de-Luchon in 1910.
The Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque mountain passes remain as tough as they were a century ago and the celebration will be a painful one for many riders.
Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck, who lost his yellow jersey to defending champion Alberto Contador in the 15th stage and trails by eight seconds, has vowed to take his revenge and is expected to go on the attack.
Lance Armstrong’s lawyer: ‘Stop leaks’
AP Add from Austin, Texas: Lance Armstrong’s attorney sent a letter to the federal prosecutor investigating the seven-time Tour de France winner and his associates for possible fraud and doping violations, complaining about leaks to the media.
Monday’s letter from Tim Herman to Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Miller in Los Angeles says it’s “especially unfair to subject Mr. Armstrong to this continuing media blitz when he is in the middle of his final Tour de France.”
The letter also said Armstrong’s attorneys talked to Miller about the leaks less than two weeks ago and are “extremely frustrated that these leaks have intensified.”
An e-mail message left for Miller was not immediately returned Monday.
Armstrong has denied allegations of doping.
The investigation was spurred by accusations from Floyd Landis, one of Armstrong’s former teammates on the US Postal team, in a series of e-mails sent to cycling and doping officials this spring.
Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour title for doping, said the use of banned substances was common on the team. Armstrong has denied those allegations and has questioned Landis’ credibility.
Contador apologises to Schleck
Madrid: Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador has apologized for the way he took over lead in Tour de France from Andy Schleck.
In Monday’s stage, Schleck’s chain came off and Contador kept riding, rather than waiting in accordance with race etiquette.
In a video posted on YouTube, Contador said “Maybe I made a mistake. I’m sorry. I don’t like things like what happened today, I’m not like that and I hope the relationship that I have with Andy can go back to being as good as it was before this happened.”
Contador initially insisted he hadn’t seen that Schleck had a problem.