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“It's a very different first week compared to the last ten years,” Prudhomme said. "We'll quickly see the best riders emerge, which is what we want. The next Tour is making me very excited. I can't wait to be in...

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24.10.2014 @ 18:58 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

The Tour de France director, Christian Prudhomme, did his very best to make cycling look cool again while presenting the 2015 route of the French Grand Tour last Wednesday in Paris. He not only boldly introduced a term “swag” to a cycling-related media dictionary, but unveiled parcours which certainly induce a change in thinking about what is typical for the greatest of three-week long events.

 

Being openly proud of the atypical 2015 Tour de France route, Prudhomme emphasized they aimed to make the 102nd edition of the race entirely different to what we got used to within last ten seasons.

 

“It's a very different first week compared to the last ten years,” Prudhomme told the media back stage after detailing the stages during the presentation, according to Cyclingnews.

 

“It's the first time a Tour stage finishes on a dyke in the Netherlands and if the wind blows on that day... Then there's the pave, the finish on the Mur de Huy, the Mur de Bretagne. We'll quickly see the best riders emerge, which is what we want. Nibali winning in Sheffield was a good example of this. The 2014 Tour may be over but the next Tour is making me very excited. I can't wait to be in Utrecht.”

 

As a quick return of the cobbles, even if in slightly reduced portion, was immediately criticized by some cycling publicists, race director insisted that there was no way of avoiding them as one of the most essential elements of racing in Northern Europe.


“As we're passing through the north, there's no reason why we should avoid the cobbles,” he argued. “The best riders in the world should be good at everything. Back in the day when Hinault or Zoetemelk won the Tour, there were 40km of pave.”


However, Prudhomme quickly turned down any suggestions that the 2015 Tour de France route was created in favour of French contenders in likes of Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) or Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) – certainly not the greatest time trial specialists in the professional peloton.

 

“I'm obviously delighted by the performances of the French rider this year. The course may help them but it is wrong to think it is built around them. That's impossible,” he said.

 

He also pointed out that in his understanding the Tour de France champion is expected to be a complete athlete, capable of excelling not only in the high mountains, but on pave and in the crosswinds. And only less than 14 kilometers of individual time trial somewhat force to question this inspiring ode to versatility.

 

“The general tendency is to reduce the number of time trials. In 2012 the time trials made it a match between the rouleurs and the climbers but some of the best climbers (Contador) weren't at the start and the rouleurs (Wiggins) were stronger than ever and the race was controlled by their team (Team Sky). This year (2015) there's a time trial at the start and the team time trial.”

 

Also the exceptionally late – against the UCI rules – team time trial immediately raised many concerns, but Prudhomme shrugged off all negative comments about that matter.

 

“Because the distance is short, the teams, even if they only have seven riders, won't be at a disadvantage. We saw in Nice in 2013 that some teams didn't have nine riders. This team time trial is atypique. It starts flat and ends with the Cote de Cadoudal a Plumelec. I like that. It will need different strategies but which will be the right one?”

 

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