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Tour de France

The Tour de France (French pronunciation: [tuʁ də fʁɑ̃s]) is an annual bicycle race held in France and nearby countries. First staged in 1903, the race covers more than 3,600 kilometres (2,200 mi) and lasts three weeks. As the best known and most prestigious of cycling's three "Grand Tours", the Tour de France attracts riders and teams from around the world. The race is broken into day-long segments, called stages. Individual times to finish each stage are aggregated to determine the overall winner at the end of the race. The rider with the lowest aggregate time at the end of each day wears the leader's yellow jersey on the next day of racing. The course changes every year, but the race has always finished in Paris. Since 1975, the climax of the final stage has been along the Champs-Élysées

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CYCLING

Chris Froome team shows data to end doping claims

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 July, 2013, 4:14am
 

The team of Tour de France leader Chris Froome has released his performance data from six races, including this Tour, to a French newspaper as it seeks to dispel suspicions of doping.

At the request of Team Sky, sports daily L'Equipe did not publish the information it said included data showing how much power Froome generated and his climbing times from 18 ascents.

L'Equipe said it had the data analysed by Fred Grappe, a French sports scientist and a coach with the FDJ.fr team. It said he found "no anomalies".

The data was collected from 18 climbs at the Spanish Vuelta of 2011 and last year, this year's and last year's Tours, the Dauphine race he won this year and this year's Tirreno-Adriatico.

After another impressive display in winning Wednesday's time trial, the last Tour champion - now ex-champion - to carry as many stage wins as Froome to Paris was Lance Armstrong.

That was in 2004, when Armstrong won five stages and declared he'd be giving "no gifts" to his rivals.

That is all just a bad memory now. This Tour is the first since the serial doper's name was erased last year from the race's honour roll.

Froome swears that won't happen with him. He has repeatedly said when asked at this Tour that he is riding clean - an assurance that only has limited value in the poisonous atmosphere that is a legacy of the Armstrong years and the American's confession to Oprah Winfrey in January that he cheated for all seven of his Tour wins, from 1999-2007.

"The problem today is that we are traumatised by the past," Stephane Heulot, manager of the French Sojasun team, said.

"We've seen too many stories like this. We've seen too many riders swearing on the heads of their kids, their grandmothers, their mothers that they're completely clean and then — bam! — 15 years, 10 years, five years later we're told other things."

Froome, meanwhile, extended his lead over two-time Tour champion Alberto Contador after yesterday's 18th stage, won by Christope Riblon atop the Alpe d'Huez. Riblon is the only Frenchman to have won a stage this year, the 100th edition of the race.

Froome, who finished yesterday's stage in seventh place, now leads Contador by more than five minutes with just three stages remaining.

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