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The Road to History The stages are set for a memorable Tour centennial: 2,082 miles, 198 riders and perhaps one new five-time champ

June 16, 2003
June 16, 2003

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June 16, 2003

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The Road to History The stages are set for a memorable Tour centennial: 2,082 miles, 198 riders and perhaps one new five-time champ

Prologue
MEAUX

This is an article from the June 16, 2003 issue

1
MONTGERON -- LA FERTE-SOUS-JOUARRE
JULY 6, 99 MILES
The first stage of the Tour begins at exactly 3:16 p.m., as it
did a century ago, in front of where Au Reveil Matin cafe once
stood.

2
LA FERTE-SOUS-JOUARRE -- SEDAN
JULY 7, 121 MILES
The flat, early stages will belong to sprint specialists such as
Australia's Robbie McEwen (above left) and Germany's Erik Zabel.

3
CHARLEVILLE-MEZIERES -- SAINT-DIZIER
JULY 8, 99 MILES
What incentive might Lance Armstrong have to make an early burst?
To match Eddy Merckx (above), who twice won eight stages in a
Tour.

4
JOINVILLE -- SAINT-DIZIER
JULY 9, 42 MILES
Look for top teams such as ONCE, Telekom and USPS (above) to make
their first significant move in the team time trial.

5
TROYES -- NEVERS
JULY 10, 122 MILES
Expect plenty of bubbly fans: Troyes, the onetime capital of the
Champagne region, is laid out in the shape of a champagne cork.

6
NEVERS -- LYON
JULY 11, 143 MILES
As the Alps draw near, the riders tackle the longest stage of the
2003 Tour, which is the seventh shortest in history.

7
LYON -- MORZINE
JULY 12, 141 MILES
Let the attrition begin: This is the first of the seven dreaded
mountain routes, which contain 21 Grade 1, 2 or hors categorie
climbs.

8
SALLANCHES -- L'ALPE D'HUEZ
JULY 13, 131 MILES
Only Fausto Coppi (above), in 1952, and Armstrong, in 2001, have
won the vaunted L'Alpe d'Huez and the Tour in the same year.

9
BOURG D'OISANS -- GAP
JULY 14, 115 MILES
This will likely be the Tour's wildest stage, if only because it
falls on Bastille Day, France's most important (and festive)
holiday.

10
GAP -- MARSEILLE
JULY 15, 121 MILES
Thought Lance (above) was the King of the Mountains? Actually,
France's Richard Virenque has won the award five times since '93.

11
NARBONNE -- TOULOUSE
JULY 17, 99 MILES
Toulouse was one of the six cities visited on the original 1903
Tour, along with Paris, Lyon, Marseilles, Bordeaux and Nantes.

12
GAILLAC -- CAP DECOUVERTE
JULY 18, 30 MILES
Briefly back on flat land, expect a fierce duel between
time-trial specialists Armstrong and Jan Ullrich (above).

13
TOULOUSE -- PLATEAU DE BONASCRE
JULY 19, 123 MILES
Laggards on the steep climbs face the ominous sight of the
voiture balai, or broom wagon, which sweeps up dropouts.

14
SAINT-GIRONS -- LOUDENVIELLE
JULY 20, 119 MILES
Riders climb the Col du Portet d'Aspet and pass the memorial to
Fabio Casartelli, an ex-Armstrong teammate, who died in a '95
Tour crash.

15
BAGNERES DE-BIGORRE -- LUZ-ARDIDEN
JULY 21, 99 MILES
The painful trip up the infamous Col du Tourmalet, a 10-mile
grind to the third-highest point on the course; the average
gradient: 7.4%.

16
PAU -- BAYONNE
JULY 23, 123 MILES
On July 16, a week before the pros arrive, 8,000 amateur cyclists
are permitted to ride this route in an event known as L'Etape.

17
DAX -- BORDEAUX
JULY 24, 103 MILES
The brutal climbs are over; so too, perhaps, is the race: Since
'99, Armstrong has never exited the mountains without le maillot
jaune.

18
BORDEAUX -- SAINT-MAIXENT-L'ECOLE
JULY 25, 124 MILES
A sprint over the flat terrain of this renowned wine region
typically offers more idyllic views than it does 11th-hour drama.

19
PORNIC -- NANTES
JULY 26, 30 MILES
The last rider to trail after the penultimate stage (this year
held as a time trial) and win the Tour was Greg LeMond (above),
in '89.

20
VILLE-D'AVRAY -- PARIS
JULY 27, 99 MILES
The leader's team takes the peloton into Paris and completes one
lap (of 10) on the Champs Elysees loop before the real racing
begins.

B/W PHOTO: L'EQUIPECOLOR PHOTO: ROBERT CIANFLONE/GETTY IMAGESB/W PHOTO: L'EQUIPECOLOR PHOTO: PETER DEJONG/APCOLOR PHOTO: MATTHEW KLEIN/CORBISCOLOR PHOTO: TIBOR BOGNAR/CORISB/W PHOTO: TURNER ENTERTAINMENTB/W PHOTO: L'EQUIPECOLOR PHOTO: OWEN FRANKEN/CORBISCOLOR PHOTO: MIKE POWELL/GETTY IMAGESB/W PHOTO: L'EQUIPECOLOR PHOTO: CHRISTOPHE ENA/APB/W PHOTO: L'EQUIPECOLOR PHOTO: PETER DEJONG/APB/W PHOTO: L'EQUIPECOLOR PHOTO: L'EQUIPECOLOR PHOTO: LAURENT REBOURS/APCOLOR PHOTO: RICHARD DREW/APCOLOR PHOTO: PRESSE SPORTSCOLOR PHOTO: ERIC GAILLARD/REUTERSCOLOR MAP: MAP BY JOE ZEFF