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Cycling: Cycling: Wheels of misfortune threaten to destabilise Tour de France

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posted on Jun, 17 2004 @ 12:13 PM
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PARIS : Tour de France chiefs are facing perhaps their bumpiest ride since 1998 when the race kicks off under a cloud of doping allegations involving five-time winner Lance Armstrong on July 3.

With less than three weeks to go until the start of the 21-day epic in Liege, Belgium, race director Jean-Marie Leblanc would be forgiven for searching out a sympathetic ear.

Top contenders Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan and Spaniard Joseba Beloki are ruled out, robbing the Tour of significant sporting value in the year that 33-year-old Armstrong could rewrite the race's history books.

However the American, a hero to millions worldwide after his successful battle with cancer before his five victories on the race, will be doing well if he can focus entirely on his performances.


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