But it could be said that the presentation of the 2006 route did more than turn its back on Discovery Channel, the American super-squad. In an extraordinary mission statement by Amaury Sport Organisations's deputy managing director Jean-Marie LeBlanc and director of cycling Christian Prudhomme, the pair said in their introduction to the 2006 event:
"On the 24th of July we turned the page on a long, very long chapter in the history of the Tour de France. And one month later, current events made it clear to us that it was just as well that this was so."
It could only be a reference to seven-time Tour winner Armstrong, and the subsequent doping allegations published in the ASO-owned L'Equipe newspaper that came out one month later (see report).
They continued: "Does this justify closing the entire book and erasing all the emotions that, for so many years, the Tour and its champions have provided us with?
"Taken as a whole, judged on its lifelong worth - like an artist or a poet - and in particular on its future productions, we want to believe that the Tour de France deserves a better fate. The dream that it embodies, the values that it is capable of generating mean that it has a duty to be able to hold its head up in pride."