Tour de France 2009 presentation Monaco

The Tour de France presentation was like a huge call of the school register, but as the 180 starters climbed onto the podium and waved to the crowd, there were some big names missing.

Some have been kept out of the Tour because they have broken the anti-doping rules, and the race will be all the better for their absence. Others have succumbed to injury or loss of form. Others are focusing on goals later in the season.

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Sports journalist Lionel Birnie has written professionally for Sunday Times, Procycling and of course Cycling Weekly. He is also an author, publisher, and co-founder of The Cycling Podcast. His first experience covering the Tour de France came in 1999, and he has presented The Cycling Podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe since 2013. He founded Peloton Publishing in 2010 and has ghostwritten and published the autobiography of Sean Kelly, as well as a number of other sports icons.