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A Look Ahead

CycleSport's Tour mid-race edition, written during the closing ceremonies of the Dauphine, contains an interview with Christian Prudhomme, who may be more famous for his mouth but it's possible he has more thoughtful moments back at the drafting table.

Prudhomme's latest innovation for the Tour parcours is nixing the prologue for 2008. Instead, the race will celebrate the entire region of Brittany with a more traditional road stage. Prudhomme says this actually gives every rider a chance to win the first yellow jersey. The logic is, the stage includes a short hill in the final kms, so it could be a traditional bunch sprint. Or it could be won by a climber on a classics-style escape. Or maybe a gregario who survives an early break. Of course, we can say now it certainly won't be won by a GC rider; the dozen or so favorites will neither be joining an early break, launching a late attack, or getting their nose in a sprint. But beyond that, Prudhomme's concept of a free-for-all Stage 1 may prove entertaining.

Oh, and he is contemplating kicking off the 2009 Tour with a team time trial. All of this is the response to 20 years of vaguely formulaic races launched by the "mind" of Jean-Marie LeBlanc.