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Tour sports new twists, but old-staple stages still pose challenge

Updated: July 3, 2008, 1:03 AM ET
By Andrew Hood | Special to ESPN.com

The French are proud of their Tour de France and don't want anyone messing with it.

The Tour is innately French, like good cheese, 35-hour work weeks and national transportation strikes.

It's a summer tradition and France's best chance to preen center stage in one of the world's most colorful spectacles. Granddads bring grandkids down to the side of the road to have a picnic, sip some chilled rosť, watch the publicity caravan roll past and then cheer (such things as chapeau ...

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