Leblanc: it's goodbye to the Puy

Tour de France boss Jean-Marie Leblanc has been telling procycling magazine about his plans to find

Tour de France boss Jean-Marie Leblanc has been telling procycling magazine about his plans to find
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM In the wake of the almost universal acclaim for the inclusion of the Colle delle Finestre, the final kilometres of which were ridden on dirt roads, at this year's Giro d'Italia, Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc has admitted to procycling that the French race needs to find new and equally spectacular roads to race over. Leblanc may well have cast an envious eye over the border to the Italian Alps, as the Giro climaxed with the gripping battle on the Finestre between the main contenders, but the size of the Tour caravan, and its logistical demands, would probably rule out a similar stage in the Grande Boucle. But Leblanc insists that his race can still have some surprises. "In the next few years, some of the Tour's mountain stages will finish on climbs that have never featured before. We're always looking out for new cols where we can finish a stage," said Leblanc, in an interview in the July 2005 Tour de France special issue of procycling, on-sale on June 9. But the Tour director admitted that some climbs made famous in past Tours, were now unsuitable for the race. "Given the size of the Tour, it's clear that a stage can't finish on the Puy de Dome, but it can still finish on Mont Ventoux. There are a few climbs that we can't visit any more - like the Puy de Dome." Keen students of the sport and its historians will be disappointed to hear that, as the unique Puy de Dome climb has featured no less than 13 times on the route du Tour. The last winner was former US Postal directeur Johnny Weltz in 1988, and the climb's roll of honour also includes Fausto Coppi, Federico Bahamontes, Felice Gimondi and Lucien Van Impe.
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