Olympic shadow over Tour in London

French minister of sport Jean-Francois Lamour denies the destination of the 2012 Olympics might affe

French minister of sport Jean-Francois Lamour denies the destination of the 2012 Olympics might affe


Jean-Francois Lamour, the French minister for sport, has denied that the success of London's bid to host the Tour de France in 2007 may hinge on the outcome of the International Olympic Committee's decision on the location of the 2012 Olympic Games, due next Wednesday.

Yet the rivalry between Paris and London is said by some in the Tour convoy to have become so intense that, in the event of an Olympic bid victory by the
British capital, a visit from the Tour so soon after the award of the Games would be seen to be rubbing salt into French wounds.

"That I can't say," Lamour told procycling. "It's not the domain of the French state, it's down to the organisers. It's up them to choose the location of the start of the Tour de France. It's a private matter.

"Yes, there's a big rivalry between London and Paris but I am good friends with Richard Caborn, the British minister for sport," said Lamour, a former Olympic
fencing champion. "But the Tour de France is important because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) judge the Olympic bid also on the ability of the competing nations to organise major world sporting events - the Tour de France is one of those events."

Perhaps that is why Lamour chose today, five days before the IOC verdict, to make a rare visit to the Tour's press room.

"The Tour is a world-class event of enormous complexity with very demanding logistics," he said. "Just as important, it is enormously popular with the public. It's a free festival of sport with a global significance and at every level is enormously professional. The IOC know that, and again and again the Tour has been one of the very best sporting events."

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