Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tour set to begin in somber setting

Tejay van Garderen, shown in last year’s Tour de France, says scenes of World War II battles put things in perspective.

Associated Press

Tejay van Garderen, shown in last year’s Tour de France, says scenes of World War II battles put things in perspective.

SAINT-LO, France — The landing beaches. The war cemeteries. The museums. The first towns that were liberated more than 70 years ago.

The D-Day and World War II history that is embedded in the culture of Normandy is earning extra spotlight this weekend when the Tour de France opens with two stages in the region.

Today's opening leg (6:30 a.m., NBCSN) starts at Mont-Saint-Michel, a World Heritage Benedictine abbey perched on a rock off the coast, and ends at Utah Beach, a key landing site for Allied troops on June 6, 1944.

The first stage also passes through Sainte-Mere-Eglise, where American paratrooper John Steele dangled from a clock tower after his parachute got caught during the invasion, and survived. The town is now home to the Airborne Museum.

Stage 2 on Sunday finishes in Cherbourg-En-Cotentin, site of the Battle of Cherbourg.

Tejay van Garderen, the BMC rider who represents the United States' best hope for overall victory in the Tour, was wide eyed as he took a look around this week.

"It really puts into perspective what we're doing here," Van Garderen said Friday. "We always say that we're soldiers going to war and then you see the real soldiers and you're like, 'Okay, maybe this is just bike racing.' "

Teams were driven into the official team presentation in Sainte-Mere-Eglise on WWII-era jeeps and trucks on Thursday.

"I like the way organizers and the local people here have put together the appropriate historical reminders, that teams have been accompanied on the jeeps by the local people in costumes," said Brian Cookson, the British president of the International Cycling Union.

Meanwhile, cyclists suspected of using hidden motors will be stopped even in the middle of a stage, Cookson said.

The International Cycling Union is deploying a magnetic resonance test and thermal cameras to catch any cheats.

"We can do the tests at the start, at the finish, we can take bikes during the race if there are any changes or so," Cookson said. "It's not just the bikes that the riders start off the race, we test the bikes on the cars, we test the bikes on the teams' trucks as well."

Tour set to begin in somber setting 07/01/16 [Last modified: Friday, July 1, 2016 9:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays hoping RHP Romo can regain form, help bullpen

    Blogs

     

    Sergio Romo celebrates striking out Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers to win Game Four of the Major League Baseball World Series at Comerica Park in 2012.
  2. New Bucs player murals go up at Raymond James Stadium

    Blogs

    Each summer, it's a sign that training camp is soon to arrive at One Buc Place: the changing of the huge player murals on each corner of Raymond James Stadium.

    Bucs receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans share a mural on the southeast corner of Raymond James Stadium.
  3. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)

    Golf

    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Jordan Spieth, right, comes from one back of Matt Kuchar, left, after 13, going birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-par to win by 3.
  4. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  5. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.