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Toughest stages of this year's Tour de France

Updated: June 30, 2006, 9:48 AM ET
By Andrew Hood | Special to ESPN.com

The 93rd Tour de France should explode like a well-shaken bottle of French champagne, even without the detonations already caused by the expulsions of favorites Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and others in a doping scandal.

With its 4.4-mile opening prologue in the narrow streets of Strasbourg on July 1, the Tour gains speed and intensity as it winds for three weeks counterclockwise around France to end with the summer's biggest annual street party July 23 on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

With ...

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