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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

Stuart O'Grady faces loss of Olympic medals

Action may follow admission that he took EPO during 1998 Tour de France

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 July, 2013, 11:19am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 July, 2013, 1:11am

Australian cyclist Stuart O'Grady could be stripped of his Olympic medals after admitting to using performance-boosting drugs at the 1998 Tour de France.

O'Grady, who retired this week, told a newspaper he had used the banned blood-booster erythropoietin (EPO) before the notorious 1998 Tour.

The admission came after a French Senate inquiry named him among riders with "suspicious" test results in a damning report into the 1998 race.

A successful Olympic track cyclist, O'Grady won a madison gold at the 2004 Athens Games, following a team pursuit silver at the 1992 Barcelona Games and a pair of bronzes at Atlanta in 1996.

"It's sad," Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) spokesman Mike Tancred said yesterday.

"He won't be remembered as a fantastic competitor that we all thought he was. Instead he'll be remembered as an athlete who succumbed to the temptation of drugs in sport just to get an edge on his fellow riders.

"In regard to his medals, it's a matter for the international federation, so the UCI [International Cycling Union] will consider the medals and they will then make some recommendation to the IOC [International Olympic Committee]."

The AOC had already called on O'Grady to step down from its Athletes' Commission, a 10-member advisory body comprised of respected athletes.

"Members of our London Olympic team ... are entitled to be angry knowing they had supported an athlete who had cheated," AOC president John Coates said.

O'Grady, one of Australia's most celebrated cyclists, could also stand to lose his three national citations, which include an Order of Australia Medal awarded in 2005.

The French Senate inquiry found the top three finishers at the 1998 tour - Italian Marco Pantani, Germany's Jan Ullrich and American Bobby Julich - were among 18 riders who had tested positive for EPO.

O'Grady was among 12 riders whose tests were said to be "suspicious" and the 39-year-old did not waste time confirming he had used EPO to the Adelaide Advertiser, insisting he had acted alone in sourcing it.

He announced his retirement on Tuesday after helping his GreenEdge team to a time trial victory in this year's Tour.

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