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Sport

Beauty of Corsica the setting for 100th Tour de France

© AFP

Video by Dan LEVY

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-06-29

Saturday sees the 100th edition of the Tour de France get underway in Corsica in the Tour’s first ever visit to the island. The route for the centenary Tour de France promises to be one of the most spectacular, as well as most brutal, in its history.

The 100th edition of the Tour de France gets underway on Saturday and the world’s most prestigious cycle race will mark the occasion in grand style, surrounded by the majestic scenery of the island of Corsica.

It will be the first time the peloton has visited Corsica since the Tour’s inception in 1903, with the island hosting three stages across three days, starting with a 213km ride from Porto Vecchio to Bastia.

The 2013 Tour de France route in 3D

The relatively flat profile of Saturday’s stage means that for the first time since 1966 a sprinter is almost certain to grab the yellow jersey on the first day of the Tour.

Britain’s Mark Cavendish, now of the Omega-Pharma-Quickstep team following his departure from Team Sky last year, is favourite to claim that honour. The 28-year-old, regarded by some as the greatest sprinter of all time, has already won 23 Tour de France stages and will be confident of adding significantly to that tally this year.

100th Tour to show off best of France

Plagued by a string of doping scandals in recent years, the Tour’s image may have become somewhat tainted in the eyes of spectators. But organisers will be hoping this year’s route, taking in some of France’s most spectacular scenery, will go some way towards restoring the Tour’s reputation.

The route includes a time trial from Avranches to the stunning Mont Saint-Michel, where the riders will race along the causeway to the island. That will come after a week-long excursion along the Mediterranean coast and two stages in the Pyrenees.

The final set of stages promises to be among the most punishing ever seen on the Tour and include a summit finish on Mont Ventoux on Stage 15 and a brutal double ascent of Alpe d'Huez on Stage 18.

The final stage, which starts July 21 at Versailles, will see the riders arrive on Paris’s famed Champs Elysées at dusk for the first time in the Tour’s history.

Britain’s Froome the firm favourite

A year after Bradley Wiggins became the first ever British rider to win the Tour, countryman Chris Froome is the firm favourite to claim victory this time around. The Kenyan-born rider finished second last year and has been in promising form this season, winning the Tour of Oman, Criterium International, Tour de Romandie and Critérium du Dauphiné.

However, a number of other riders are also in contention, with Spaniard Alberto Contador (winner of the Tour in 2007 and 2009) likely to be the biggest threat. A host of other riders, including 2011 winner Cadel Evans as well the young American Tejay van Garderen, could also prove tough competition.

With a number of potential winners, as well as one of the toughest routes in years, the centenary Tour de France looks set to be an enthralling contest right to the end.

100th Tour de France - Official Teaser

Date created : 2013-06-29

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