LE MONDE (France), L’ÉQUIPE (France), CYCLING WEEKLY (UK)
PARIS – Le Tour d’Après. Literally "The Tour, After." This is the name Christian Prudhomme, the French race’s organizer, has decided to give to the 2013 edition of the Tour de France, which he will be presenting this week at Paris’ Palais des Congrès.
"After," as in after the revelations that have shaken the sport to the core, after Lance Armstrong -- singular star of cycling of his generation and arguably the most famous rider ever – has been stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles, and banned from cycling for life.
The consequences of what Pat McQuaid, the president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) has called "the biggest crisis cycling has ever faced", are multiple. Not least among the woes are the stain left upon the Tour de France, far and away the sport's most prestigious event.
Le Monde reports that the UCI is expected to decide on Friday whether the victories between 1999 and 2005 should be reattributed to other cyclists who crossed the finish line after Armstrong, adding that it will undoubtedly prove challenging to find a runner-up who was not implicated in or suspected of doping.
Prudhomme, the director of Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) -- the company that owns of the Tour de France – has said he favors leaving a seven-year "blank" in the race’s honor roll. "What we want is that there is no winner," he declared, before adding: "The Tour de France will recover … The UCI will have to learn the lessons of the Armstrong case."
Meanwhile, the French sports magazine L’Équipe notes that although Armstrong has not yet officially commented on the decision, the ex-champion has silently removed mention "7-time Tour de France winner" from his Twitter profile.
Armstrong’s road will be paved with many potholes in the coming months and years: Cycling Weekly, in an article entitled "Armstrong's Problems Have Only Just Begun," depicts the Texan as "staring into the abyss" of major money woes – starting with an estimated $3 million in past prize money he now owes the Tour de France.