Le Tour 2009

After what was widely described as a modest Tour de France parcours in 2008, the 2009 edition July 4 to 26 looks to be far more spectacular. Instead of the final weekend coming down to the usual individual race against the clock, the final showdown will be on the slopes of Le Mont Ventoux the last of four summit finishes on the day before the race finishes in Paris.

It will also be the most international Tour for many years as as well as starting in the Principality of Monaco it will pass through the countries of Spain, Andorra, Switzerland and Italy before finishing on the Avenue des Champs-lyses in Paris.

“The objectives of the race designers nevertheless remain exactly the same: to provide a varied terrain, in terms of both sport and aesthetics, in order to fire the imagination of champions and thrill enthusiasts, and to stimulate interest and suspense throughout the event,” said Tour Director Christian Prudhomme.

The race will begin on July 4 with a 15-kilometre time trial around the millionaires’ playground of Monte Carlo, which will include several iconic sections of the Monaco Grand Prix motor racing circuit, before heading west along the south coast of France. Despite this longer-than-usual first test though, the time triallists will once again feel slightly short-changed with only 55 individual kilometres against the clock.

The team time trial returns, to replace some of those individual kilometres with a 38-kilometre stage in Montpelier before heading south and as leaks and rumours over the past months have indicated venture over the border with Spain for a stage between Girona and Barcelona, where the race will visit for the first time since 1965.

The 2009 Tour de France parcours
Photo : AFP
As this will be the first time the Tour has started this far south since San Sebastin, Spain in 1992, the clockwise route will visit the Pyrnes before the Alps. The race will then head back into France via a mountaintop finish at Andorra-Arcalis.

Two more Pyrnen stages including one over the Col du Tourmalet come ahead of the first rest day in Limoges. A diagonal dash to Burgundy and Alsace will come before hitting the Alps.

The first Alpine stage will end with an uphill finish to Verbiers in Switzerland, where the race will have its second rest day, before heading back to France via Italy and the Cols de Grand Saint-Bernard and Petit Saint-Bernard.

The final time trial of the race will be 40-kilometre around the lake at Annecy, but this will not be in its usual place on the final Saturday, as there will be one more test for the overall contenders before they reach Paris. The final blows in the battle for the yellow jersey will come on a stage from Montlimar to the legendary Mont Ventoux, where the race returns for the first time since 2002.

“The stage is set for a dream of a landmark finale, exactly twenty years after the most extraordinary final in the history of the tour. Never, in over one hundred years, has a mountain been so close to Paris,” said Prudhomme.

Unusually, it will be the time triallists who will need to take time from the climbers before the final weekend instead of the other way around.

July 4, Stage 1: Monaco - Monaco (ITT), 15km
July 5, Stage 2: Monaco - Brignoles, 182km
July 6, Stage 3: Marseille - La Grande-Motte, 196km
July 7, Stage 4: Montpellier - Montpellier (TTT), 38km
July 8, Stage 5: Le Cap d’Agde - Perpignan, 197km
July 9, Stage 6: Grone - Barcelone, 175km
July 10, Stage 7: Barcelone - Andorre Arcalis, 224km
July 11, Stage 8: Andorre-la-Vieille - Saint-Girons, 176km
July 12, Stage 9: Saint-Gaudens - Tarbes, 160km
July 13, Rest day: Limoges,
July 14, Stage 10: Limoges - Issoudun, 193km
July 15, Stage 11: Vatan - Saint-Fargeau, 192km
July 16, Stage 12: Tonnerre - Vittel, 200km
July 17, Stage 13: Vittel - Colmar, 200km
July 18, Stage 14: Colmar - Besanon, 199km
July 19, Stage 15: Pontarlier - Verbier, 207km
July 20, Rest day: Verbier,
July 21, Stage 16: Martigny - Bourg-Saint-Maurice, 160km
July 22, Stage 17: Bourg-Saint-Maurice - Le Grand-Bornand, 169km
July 23, Stage 18: Annecy - Annecy (ITT), 40km
July 24, Stage 19: Bourgoin-Jallieu - Aubenas, 195km
July 25, Stage 20: Montlimar - Mont Ventoux, 167km
July 26, Stage 21: Montereau-Fault-Yonne - Paris Champs-lyses, 160km

The Mountains
Stage 7, Barcelone Andorre Arcalis - 224km
km 127.0 - Port d’Oliana - 7.7km de monte at 7.1%
km 224.0 - Andorre Arcalis - 10.6km de monte at 7.1%

Stage 8, Andorre-la-Vieille Saint-Girons - 176km
km 23.5 - Port d’Envalira - 23.2km de monte at 5.1%
km 102.0 - Col de Port - 11.4km de monte at 5.5%
km 132.5 - Col d’Agns - 12.4km de monte at 6.5%

Stage 9, Saint-Gaudens Tarbes - 160km
km 60.5 - Col d’Aspin - 12km de monte at 6.6%
km 90.0 - Col du Tourmalet - 17km de monte at 7.5%

Stage 15, Pontarlier Verbier - 207km
km 135.0 - Col des Mosses - 13.8km de monte at 4%
km 207.0 - Verbier - 8.8km de monte at 7.1%

Stage 16, Martigny Bourg-Saint-Maurice - 160km
km 40.5 - Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard - 24.4km de monte at 6.2%
km 128.0 - Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard - 22.6km de monte at 5.1%

Stage 17, Bourg-Saint-Maurice Le Grand-Bornand - 169km
km 18.0 - Cormet de Roselend - 18km de monte at 6.1%
km 56.0 - Col des Saisies - 15.1km de monte at 6%
km 109.5 - Cte d’Arches - 6.3km de monte at 7%
km 140.5 - Col de Romme - 8.8km de monte at 8.9%
km 154.5 - Col de la Colombire - 7.5km de monte at 8.5%

Stage 20, Montlimar Mont Ventoux - 167km
km 167.0 - Mont Ventoux - 21.2

really looking forward to this if lance is back- havent paid much attention the last few years but now if armstrong is back it will be well worth watching - his story gets a lot of non cycling fans like me into watching the tour & id say the tv companies are delighted he is back

any odds yet on him winning

he is 7/2. 38km’s of team time trial means importance of a good team will be more important than ever. vandevelde at 28/1 is best value for me.

im not sure if there is value in lance @7/2 as a lot of punters like me will back lance as they are inspired by his story & his sheer brilliance last time around- hopefully he is superfit still

You always make me smile NCC, I have to say it.

Interesting Tour route, should be a good one. Doubt Lancelot will be there myself but sure we’ll see.

Just reading that Stephen Roche is running the NY marathon soon in aid of former Crystal Palace stalwart Geoff Thomas’ cancer research fund. Fairly rare my interests in football and cycling intertwine so that gave me a bit of a thrill.

Very interesting route. Not a lot of individual TT kms. Don’t really like the return of the team TT, it just messes up the classification for a week. Only 3 mountain top finishes, no Alpe D’Huez this year. Mt Ventoux just the day before Paris.Hmmm. I expect that commercial reasons will compel Lance to take part. Think he would be better off riding the Giro with no dope controls however.Contador has to be the big favourite.

Pat McQuaid was on Sky Sports News opining that he was against testing back-dated samples. He whole reasoning seemed to be, ‘How far back can you go? It’s all arbitrary and let’s move on and leave what’s in the past.’ I thought someone in his position would be eager to explore any means possible to weed out the cheats. Apologies for bringing the drugs element of cycling into the thread but he mentioned Le Tour and I was surprised by his stance.

McQuaid is only a Blazer. The guy has no cred at all.

No need to apologise, NCC beat you to it by mentioning Armstrong.

The French hate Armstrong and Armstrong hates the French. He is a hard-headed bastard but I just can’t see him wanting to go in for what would surely be 3 weeks of daily acrimony and the possibility of getting a hiding on the road in to the bargain.
Maybe he’ll see what Michele Ferrari can come up with first. If he knows for sure he’ll be right up there I think he’d like nothing more than to ride the the thing to annoy the French.

Amrstrong will ride if he thinks it will piss the French off enough alright. If he’s going to finish way down then I can’t seem him doing it because his main aim for Le Tour will be to annoy the organisers.

Interesting route - like others I’m a bit disappointed by the return of the team time trial, which just distorts things too much. The influence of the team is already very strong in the mountains, no need to give it an extra emphasis.

Could be fireworks on the last Saturday though and think it could be good watching guys attack the time triallists knowing it’s their last chance - in past years the climbers always had to hold something back for the TT itself so they wouldn’t lose too much time. The reversal of the order looks good.

No Alpe D’Huez is a disapointment.

Final saturday will make things interesting. Also, what is the point of a team time trial.