TOUR 2008: REACTION FROM PARIS
As ever the auditorium at the Palais des Congres in Paris was packed with the people taking a keen interest in the look and feel of the Tour de France route. Cycling Weekly's team has spent the morning canvassing opinion...
2007 winner, set to join Astana
"I like it. Having seen the route, I can confirm that I will be going 100 percent all out for the Tour de France next year. We’ve got as good a chance of taking part as any other team.”
2007 runner-up, Predictor-Lotto
"That last part of the Tour is particularly brutal. I’ve yet to have a good day on Alpe D’Huez - hopefully next time round will be a different story.”
“It’s too early to say if I’ll win, but I can certainly be a protagonist if I’m as strong as this year.”
“Maybe the lack of time bonuses will make for a more aggressive race with more attacks by the climbers - but it could make for a closer race too.”
“I’m please at the lack of long transfers, too. That’s better for everybody, including the rest of the race followers, like you journalists.”
T-Mobile directeur sportif
"The time trialling seems to be a little bit less although the second time trial looks hard. They said they weren't going to take any of the difficulty out of the Tour de France, which would take away from the heritage of the race and I think they've achieved that as well.
"One good thing for the riders is having no transfers, no flights and that helps with recuperation time, that seems to be the big thing in the last few years. Transfers seem to take a lot of the rest day time. We were just talking about the rest day in the Pyrenees where riders can have a full rest day, staying in the same hotel for two nights."
Gerolsteiner directeur sportif
"I'm pretty sure that we're going to be there, we have a pretty good relationship with the Tour de France. I was pleased to hear that meeting the ethical criteria will have to be met to get selected for the Tour de France, and I appreciate that.
“I think it's very remarkable, we have no prologue, we have these rather flat stages, we have no bonuses, but what really impresses me most is that the Tour didn't only announce the biological passports, they really changed from their position when they said that 'even in the 100m there is doping, so why should we shorten the stages? Why should we cut the profile?'
It's a real, real change here for 2008 because the stages are much shorter at around 165km. It will be a more interesting Tour, you won’t see a two-man group in front with ten minutes for four hours, it's definitely different. I think the profile is better, and I think for me what is important is the time for recovery for the riders and the staff is what we've been asking for.
It's not that the riders complain that 240km is too long, it's the time needed to recover and the time to get massage and I think it's a big step from the Tour.”
Quick Step directeur sportif
"No time bonuses isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Tom Boonen. It means you’ve got to be winning stages if you want to be in green or yellow - and he’s already proved he’s good at that.
“It’s difficult because there are a lot of places we’ve not been to before or for a long time, like Super Besse and that whole section in Italy.
“But the good news is that there aren’t too many transfers after stages, we won’t be arriving at the hotel at half past eight at night as has happened in the past.”
Euskaltel-Euskadi directeur sportif
"More than for the climbers it’s a race route for the all-rounders. There are a lot of hilly stages where it will be very difficult for the big teams to control affairs.”
CSC directeur sportif, joining Astana in 2008
"That last week is brutal, really tough. No one will be able to say they’ve got the race sewn up at least until they get to Alpe D’Huez - and maybe not even then.”
JUAN MAURICIO SOLER
Barloworld rider who won the king of the mountains prize in 2007
"For us climbers, it’s great. Not too much time trialling, no time bonuses, and a lot of mountains. My personal objective is Alpe D’Huez.”
Tour 008: The instant reaction
Tour 2008: Stage list and map