Something may be being added to the translation here, but in his introduction for the route of the Tour de France in 2004, organiser Jean-Marie Leblanc refers to Lance Armstrong as 'He', the usual shorthand for God. If the Almighty One does get his sixth Yellow Jersey he may not be a deity but he would certainly be on the fast-track to bicycling beatification...

Is Armstrong God?

Running from Saturday July 3rd to Sunday July 25th, the 2004 Tour de France will be made up of one prologue – in Belgium – and 20 stages and will cover a total distance of 3360 kilometres, says ASO, the organising company.

The route was announced today in Paris.

Leblanc is looking forward to another nail-biting contest:

"Our main concern has been to prepare the terrain so that [the contenders] are once again motivated to provide us with as fine a contest as this year. Discover the terrain; see how it has been split up; study the regulations: nothing is conventional, everything has been designed to create suspense and uncertainty.

"With a time trial by teams and adjusted time gaps, with a tight points scale for the Best Climber Rankings, we can expect constantly changing rankings and, above all, potential turnaround situations: sporting directors, you will need to be clever strategists!

"Without forgetting the question that is already on the tips of everyone’s tongues: will "He" be the first to obtain six victories?"

Clearly, one part of the race will be right up Armstrong’s rue: there’s an individual time trial on Alpe d’Huez. The 15km uphill TT is the 16th stage of the Tour and this is the first time the mountain has been used for a race against the clock.

FOR PIX AND INTERVIEWS WITH RIDERS CLICK HERE:

http://www.cyclingnews.com/…/oct24news

The Stages

0

Saturday, july 3

6 km

Liège

Prologue (TT)

1

Sunday, july 4

195 km

Liège – Charleroi

2

Monday, july 5

195 km

Charleroi – Namur

3

Tuesday, july 6

195 km

Waterloo – Wasquehal

4

Wednesday, july 7

65 km

Cambrai – Arras

(team / TT)

5

Thursday, july 8

195 km

Amiens – Chartres

6

Friday, july 9

190 km

Bonneval – Angers

7

Saturday, july 10

208 km

Châteaubriant – Saint-Brieuc

8

Sunday, july 11

172 km

Lamballe – Quimper

R

Monday, july 12

Transfert to Limoges – Rest Day

9

Tuesday, july 13

160 km

Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat – Guéret

10

Wednesday, july 14

237 km

Limoges – Saint-Flour

11

Thursday, july 15

164 km

Saint-Flour – Figeac

12

Friday, july 16

199 km

Castelsarrasin – La Mongie

13

Saturday, july 17

217 km

Lannemezan – Plateau de Beille

14

Sunday, july 18

200 km

Carcassonne – Nîmes

R

Monday, july 19

Rest Day Nîmes

15

Tuesday, july 20

179 km

Valréas – Villard-de-Lans

16

Wednesday, july 21

15 km

Bourg d’Oisans – L’Alpe d’Huez

(TT)

17

Thursday, july 22

212 km

Bourg d’Oisans – Le Grand Bornand

18

Friday, july 23

166 km

Annemasse – Lons-le-Saunier

19

Saturday, july 24

60 km

Besançon – Besançon

(TT)

20

Sunday, july 25

165 km

Montereau-Fault-Yonne – Paris Champs-Élysées

TOTAL

3 395 km

http://www.letour.com/…/parcours.html

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