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Versus to live-stream Tuesday's announcement of 2011 Tour de France route

October 18, 2010 | 12:51 pm

Tour_200 It is always a major production when the new Tour de France route is announced. It's scheduled to happen Tuesday, and this year the Versus network is offering free live-streaming video of the news conference from France. The coverage will begin at 2:30 a.m. PDT, and after the announcement, at 8 a.m. PDT, Versus will host a live chat with analyst Bob Roll and Garmin-Transitions cyclist Christian Vande Velde to analyze the route.

There has been plenty of speculation on what the next Tour might look like, including a theory that cyclists will twice climb the signature l'Alpe d'Huez with its signature 21 switchbacks.

Usually on hand for the announcement are team managers as well as the defending champion and key riders from most teams. The 2010 defending champion Alberto Contador, however, has said he will not attend unless the international cycling federation, UCI, has concluded its investigation into his failed doping test from the 2010 race.

A Contador sample failed a test for the substance clenbuterol. It has been reported as well that tests detected the presence of plasticizer, a component of bags used in blood transfusions. Although there is not an official World Anti-Doping Agency test for plasticizers in use, WADA has wide latitude in putting together doping cases based on several types of evidence.

This will be the first time since 2008 that Lance Armstrong won't be in the race. After last summer, he retired for a second time when he was unable to contend after a series of first-week crashes. He is still a member of the Radio Shack team that will be represented at the announcement by director Johan Bruyneel, who has come out in support of Contador and the Spaniard's contention that he ingested clenbuterol through contaminated meat. Several associates of Armstrong have been questioned by or turned over documents to federal prosecutors who are conducting a grand jury investigation into cycling.

-- Diane Pucin

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