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PARIS (VN) — The Tour de France kick starts and spins news like no other race in the world. With the 102nd edition starting Saturday in the Dutch city of Utrecht, it feels like the grand tour has already begun.
Of course, teams have announced their nine-man rosters — this year, 198 cyclists, including three Americans, will race — but they have also taken the opportunity to launch new bikes and slogans. Organizer ASO, and others like RCS Sport and cycling’s governing body the UCI, have also made changes.
Even before the cyclists click into their pedals for the race, the Tour’s machine is already revving at full speed.
Teams, sponsors, and bikes
Orica-GreenEdge was the last to name its nine-man team Tuesday. Other teams did so early and took the opportunity to promote their sponsors.
Cannondale-Garmin selected Andrew Talansky, Dan Martin, and Ryder Hesjedal to lead its front, at the same time making changes to its Castelli jersey — going green — and launching the new SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD. Trek Factory Racing did the same, rolling out the new Madone for its Tour nine.
Giant-Alpecin made waves by leaving sprinter Marcel Kittel at home, and nearly washed over the news that its German shampoo sponsor dropped its slogan. On Tuesday, Alpecin announced it would drop its “Doping for your hair” advertising phrase during the duration of the Tour.
Revitalized fall races
The organizer of the world’s second biggest stage race, RCS Sport took followers’ eyes off the Tour build-up briefly when it said Tuesday it would run the Trittico di Autunno. It is taking over the Milano-Torino one-day race and bringing back the Giro del Piedmonte ahead of its Giro di Lombardia — a one-two-three special on October 1, 2, and 4. From October 8-11, RCS Sport also has the Abu Dhabi Tour.
More data, more video
Tour organizer ASO has plenty to say in these days ahead of its famed race. On Tuesday, it revealed via a partnership with Dimension Data it would deliver real-time data from the Tour cyclists. Its website will allow fans to follow the riders in the peloton, seeing their speed and other data. On Wednesday, it also announced a partnership with GoPro — as did team organization Velon — that will provide expanded on-board video footage from the race, including a test of live-stream video from stage 2.
A new look for UCI
Not to be left behind, the UCI unveiled a newly designed logo last week with the five colors of the world championship rainbow jersey included. It is a small change, but like other announcements and news, it gains greater attention ahead of the biggest bike race in the world.