Elite counter-terrorism officers to be deployed for Tour de France

Elite counter-terrorism officers to be deployed for Tour de France

The Tour de France starts on Saturday (July 1)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Elite counter-terrorism officers are to be deployed for the Tour de France, which starts on Saturday (July 1) in Dusseldorf.

The unit will be positioned among 23,000 police officers, according to the French interior ministry, for the section of the race taking place in the country. 

The elite GIGN unit specialises in hostage rescue and counter-terrorism and will be deployed during the race, The Local said.

This unit will consist of two teams, one road-based with the other working in helicopters. Sniffer dogs will be used to locate any explosives and patrol in departure and arrival villages.

Despite France's state of emergency due to the ongoing threat of terrororism, Christian Prudhomme, the Tour director, said road accidents are a bigger concern.

He told AFP: "When 12 million people line the roadside, vehicles pass, there are cyclists in front and behind, you have to be careful that enthusiasm doesn't eliminate attentiveness."

He added that "similar agreements with authorities" have been made in Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg for stages of the race taking place in those countries.

Special measures are also scheduled for the final stage of the race, which finishes on the Champs-Elysées in Paris on July 23.