Tour de France Begins in London
As the sport of cycling struggles with a rash of doping scandals, the venerable Tour de France gets started today in London. How strict are the officials this year? I had to get drug-tested just to post this article.
The opening 7.9-km stage marked the third time the race has graced British soil, and just the first time in over a decade. The Grand Depart, as the tour’s prologue is known, was a sprint through downtown London to observe the second anniversary of the city’s terrorist attacks that killed 52 and injured hundreds more.
From London, the field of 219 international racers representing countries from every continent will continue to Canterbury, in the country’s rural south. The next 18 stages will cover 3,550 km throughout France, from the treacherous mountain stages to the final leg down des Champs-Elysees in Paris.
the baking sun crowds of up to one million have already started packing
into central London for the first event - a 7.9 kilometre time trial.
Families were having picnics in Hyde Park as crowds both young and old and many in colourful cycle jerseys lined the route.
They watched the publicity caravan pass by and settled down to watch the world's best riders sprint past later.[/q]