Texan Wins Tour for 2nd Time

photo: bistro rue saint paul

A Paris style 'bistro rustico' in the Marais.

Friday Roller Rando Banned

Paris:- Sunday, 23. July 2000:- Today was two kinds of great day in Paris as large parts of major traffic arteries were closed for the 'stroll' of 12,000 cyclists over a large part of the Tour de France's route; followed by the final stage of this year's Tour de France.

While crowds were not great at the Pont d'Iéna starting point below the Tour Eiffel for the amateur bike fans at 8:30 this morning, they were in their usual large numbers on the Champs-Elysées in the afternoon for the arrival of the Tour, or the 'Big Loop' as it is loosely called.

At 9:20, Merckx, Hinault and Indurain, former multiple winners of the Tour, arrived at the finishing line - of what was supposed to be a non-race.

The youngest participant was 13 and the oldest was 89. Some of the 'competitors' carried passengers who were younger than 13, and others did the 'Little Loop' on tandems.

For the arrival of the Tour itself, many Americans were on hand to see the victor, Lance Armstrong from Austin, Texas, win his second Tour de France riding for the US Postal Service team.

These included his wife, Kristin, who had quite a lot to say to French TV-news in French, and nine-month old Luke who made no noticeable comments.

Lance Armstrong participated in the Tour de France for the first time in 1993. Despite a boutphoto: randonnee begin, pont de l'iena with cancer, which slowed down his ambition for two years, Armstrong's motto remains, "Kicking ass and making a name for myself!"

Seconds after 8:30 this morning, on the Pont d'Iéna, the quiet horde advances.

One of his European team-mates characterized him as a 'Yankee' bulldozer' - without realizing that this might not be appreciated in Texas - with a "Brain of Steel" - which might more than acceptable to other Texans.

After the Yellow Shirt for Armstrong, Erik Zabel captured the second-place Green Shirt for Deutsche Telekom and the Columbian Santiago Botero of the Kelme-Costa Blanca team got the Red polka-dot Shirt for third place.

Kelme-Costa Blanca was also the over-all winning team. Francisco Mancebo captured the White Shirt in the young-rider category and he rode for Banesto.

The 87th edition of the Tour de France was thought by some to have been the best in at least a decade; or at least since Greg LeMond snatched victory from Laurent Fignon by eight seconds.

After 21 stages over 3660 kilometres, the 128 surviving riders of this years' Tour and its entire rolling circus, can go on holiday. So can everybody else too.

Roller Rando Banned

A week ago the famous Friday night roller rando through the evening streets of Paris was canceled, and a smaller 'rando' normally held on Sundays was also canceled.

This was the result of a disagreement between the organizers of the two randos and Paris' police prefecture. According to a decree by the prefecture made on Monday, 3. July, only four pre-defined routes could be used for the randos.

The prefecture, which was also the world's first to create a unit of 'roller-flics,' felt it had to impose some legality on the activity of wheeled citizens in Paris.

The police explained that an emergency ambulance had been held up because a Friday night rando horde had blocked an intersection by taking 30 minutes to get through it.

These 'randos' have long been escorted by the roller-cops, motorcycle cops and police in cars as well as emergency ambulances - all presumably equipped with radios - and the routes followed have not been totally random. The organizers have always proposed routes in advance in order to have police security present.

The two sets of organizers say that they can't accept the four routes decreed, and predicted that 'savage' randos would be the result.

They called for a suspension of the decree until roller problems in general can be discussed. Whilephoto: bikers take first curve waiting for an answer, they declared they would not organize or accompany future randos.

All the same, they also maintained the time of 22:00 on Friday and the Place de l'Italie as the meeting point.

In the first corner, there was more than a little jam.

Last Friday at the appointed time and place, the organizers announced to those assembled there that the night's rando was canceled that evening.

The roller-folk present - estimated at 10,000 by the organizers and between 3000 and 4000 by police - were asked to disperse by the Pari-Roller organizers - on the sidewalks, but not all listened to this request.

The resulting rando 'savage' led to a kiss-and-make-up on Saturday, which allowed the Sunday edition of the rando - which had 6000 - 10,000 according to the organizers - onto the streets and through the barricades put in place for the final stage of the Tour de France.

Apparently, the prefecture has again agreed to consider the routes proposed by the two groups of organizers.

All of this is the visible part of a long-lasting scrimmage to wrest control of Paris' streets awa from four-or-more-wheeled traffic.

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