Tour de France continues in sober mood after Nice attack

Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:41pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

BOURG-SAINT-ANDEOL, France (Reuters) - The Tour de France continued in a low-key but defiant mood under heightened security on Friday, with riders, spectators and race officials observing a minute's silence for the scores of victims of the Bastille Day attack in Nice.

A gunman at the wheel of a heavy truck plowed into a crowd celebrating France's national day in the southern city late on Thursday, killing at least 84 people and injuring scores in what President Francois Hollande called a terrorist act.

After race organizers held a crisis meeting with police and officials in the Ardeche region where the 13th stage was to be held, they decided it would go ahead.

"We want this day to be a day of dignity as a tribute to the victims," said race director Christian Prudhomme. "We think, after agreeing with authorities, that the race must continue."

Riders set off at 7:05 a.m. (4.05 a.m. ET), but this time unaccompanied by the usual loud music played to energize the thousands lining the route of what is one of France's most prestigious sporting events.

The Tour's overall leader, Chris Froome, a Briton who lives in Monaco, said: "I just could not believe the images I saw coming from Nice. I do my prep down there. Horrific scenes. Definitely puts things into perspective for us."

That decision to go ahead with Friday's stage was taken "in direct liaison with the highest authorities of the state" Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Luzet, the gendarmerie's liaison officer to the Tour, told Reuters.

"We have 600 officers mobilized to ensure security on this stage. They’re at the start, at the finish and along the route.. After what happened last night in Nice we have changed our security feature accordingly."   Continued...

Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - The 37.5 km (23.3 miles) Stage 13 from Bourg-Saint-Andeol to La Caverne du Pont-d'Arc, France - 15/07/2016 - Flowers lay on the podium after riders and officials observed a minute of silence to the victims of Nice truck attack on Bastille Day.    REUTERS/Juan Medina