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Le Tour De France Set For Another Rousing Rendition

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Adrian Musolino
Adrian Musolino
Lance Armstrong

He’s back! Lance Armstrong returns to the Tour de France starting this weekend, four years after claiming his seventh victory in the world famous race. His presence adds an extra dimension to a race already full of intrigue, excitement and colour.  

Despite the drug controversies that have dogged Le Tour and cycling in general in its recent history, the great race remains one of the most iconic sporting fixtures on the international calendar. 

How is this so?

For one, it is still one of the greatest tests of endurance in any sport, covering nearly 3,500km, from punishing climbs to hard fought sprints, in three long weeks.

There is also a genuine sense of optimism that the sport is weeding out the cheats.

Thomas Dekker is the latest rider to be caught by the drug testers and the depth and breadth of riders caught and punished in the past few years demonstrates that more stringent testing is catching the cheats out. 

Cycling will never be clean. There will always be those individuals that allow temptation to get the better of them. 

It needs to be accepted as an unfortunate part of cycling. 

One rider who has faced ongoing accusations, despite never testing positive, is Lance Armstrong - cancer survivor, American hero and cycling great. 

Whether he wins or not doesn’t matter. His presence gives renewed hope to those who have been impacted by cancer and it’ll do much for his Livestrong organization and its global fight against the illness.

Age and lack of preparation (a broken collarbone disrupted his season) may dent Armstrong’s charge, especially as his Astana team will favour 2007 winner Alberto Contador, but can you ever rule out a multiple winner of the race who has fought tougher battles in his day?

Who will arrive in Paris in yellow in three weeks remains a mystery.

But for some it doesn’t matter.

Le Tour is more than just a race and this is what makes it such a unique and magnificent sporting event. 

It’s the drama, the breathtaking scenery, the history and culture of an event that has come to typify all that is great about France.

Throw in the fact that the first stage takes place in Monaco (on part of the Formula 1 track, through the famous tunnel) and Armstrong’s return and you have the ingredients for compulsory viewing.

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