Palais des Congrès, Paris© Presse Sports
There are more and more cycling fanatics following the Tour on the official website during the month of July. From 4.8 million unique visitors in 2007, the live coverage registered an audience of 6.3 million users in 2008 before reaching 11.6 in 2009.
Since last year, the web users now have the possibility to see the official presentation of the course, broadcasted live on the www.letour.fr website, from the Palais des Congrès of Paris. The course of the 2010 edition will be unveiled on Thursday the 14th of October. Between Rotterdam, host city of the Grand Départ, and Paris where the finish will be staged on the Champs-Elysées, the riders will have the possibility to celebrate the one-hundred years of the first stage finishes at the top of mountains, in the Pyrenees.
In order to allow all to discover in detail the stages at the same time as the 2500 guests present at the Palais des Congrès, the ceremony will be completely broadcasted in video streaming, in French and in English, as of 11:00 AM.
Raymond Juan, Bernard Hinault© Cesqar Vidal
Bernard Hinault received in the name of the Tour de France, an award given by the professionals of tourism in Andorra.
The passage of the 2009 Tour in Andorra will forever leave intense memories to Brice Feillu who managed an impressive solo performance that gave him his first professional success at the top of the climb up to the Arcalis resort. On the day of stage 7, the footage of that audacious victory spread on the TV screens around the world, as well as the mountainous Andorran landscape. With the start set the following day in Andorre-la-Vieille for a stage heading to St-Girons, the principality was once again at the heart of the sporting event of the moment. The association of tourism professionals (club Skal), impressed by the spotlights set on their area, chose to give its annual trophy to the Tour de France. Bernard Hinault therefore returned to the Pyrenees on the 27th of September to receive that award during the world tourism day in Andorra.
Alberto CONTADOR (ESP)© Presse Sports
At 26 From the very beginning of the 96th Tour de France, Alberto Contador demonstrated that he is the leader of a new generation of cycling.
He may have missed out on the opportunity to defend his title last year after the omission of his Astana team but the Spaniard who won both the yellow and white jerseys in 2007 started the 2009 race in fine style. He was beaten in the opening time trial by Fabian Cancellara, a master of the discipline, but by the end of the race the 27-year-old proved that he has all the ingredients to be a champion for many years to come. “He’s strong,” said his Astana team-mate Lance Armstrong, who finished third in his comeback Tour. He’s a complete rider who can climb, who can time trial… I think there are some weaknesses but I’m not going to talk about them. I’ll keep that to myself and maybe we can explore them another time.” The Texan proved that his return to the Tour was one full of intent. But he finished third overall, five minutes and 24 seconds behind the Spaniard.
Both men have had to overcome life-threatening issues before their first victory in the world’s biggest bike race. Armstrong beat cancer and Contador survived a brain hemorrhage that knocked him down during the Vuelta a Asturias in 2004. He returned to racing at the Tour Down Under in Australia in January the next year and won a stage. It heralded the beginning of phase two of what has become a remarkable career.
Contador won his first title at the age of 24. Under the guidance of Johan Bruyneel – the mastermind behind Armstrong’s seven successes – he won a mountain stage and swapped his white jersey for the yellow a day after the final major climb of the 2007 edition.
In 2009 he was even more dominant. Instead of winning by just 23 seconds, as he did two years earlier, he dominated the race. Second on the opening day, victory in the team time trial, and into third place overall. Cancellara would lead for a week; Contador would attack all his rivals – including Armstrong – on the road to Arcalis in stage seven but the yellow jersey would have to wait. It wasn’t until his first solo stage win since 2007 that he could once again get the taste of leadership in the Tour. His victory at the top of a mountain in Verbier put him in the yellow jersey and the win in the time trial around Lake Annecy ensured that he would retain it all the way to Mont Ventoux when the final assault came from Andy Schleck.
The young Luxembourger tried with all his might to pull back the four minutes he lagged behind after 19 stages but Contador was able to respond to every attack. With his fourth place atop the Giant of Provence, victory was assured; all he had to do was finish. On the final day, he accepted the accolades from virtually everyone in the peloton and crossed the finish line of the 3,459.5km race with an advantage of over four minutes. Schleck was second, Armstrong third. Things are expected to be a lot different next year, but for now it’s time to hail the 26-year-old King of the Tour.
© Presse Sports
The opening time trial in Monaco provided a setting for the favorites for the general classification of the 96th Tour de France to show their form. And they didn’t disappoint.
Alberto Contador was back in the race after a year’s absence and he rocketed up the first climb and demonstrated that he was fast… but not as fast as Fabian Cancellara in the closing kilometers. The ‘Swiss Spartacus’ claimed the first yellow jersey of the 2009 edition and he would retain it all the way to the first mountain top finish.
The resurgent Lance Armstrong came to within 0.22 seconds of the overall lead after a three-year absence after his Astana troops demolished all challengers in the team time trial in Montpellier. This proved to be a critical stage as all riders in the top nine overall at the end of the race were from teams that finished in the top four of stage four – only the best Frenchman, Christophe Le Mevel of the Francaise des Jeux team, was able to find a remedy for lost time in the TTT. He finished 10th overall, in a year when the defending champion and two-time runner-up wouldn’t figure in the top order of the general classification.
Carlos Sastre started strong but never managed to find the legs to challenge the likes of Contador, former team-mate Andy Schleck or Armstrong. He finished 17th while his Australian rival from 2008, Cadel Evans also suffered a severe blow in Montpellier. Down the rankings after day four, he tried to attack the other GC hopes but one bad day in the Alps put him out of contention. He rolled into Paris ranked 30th.
By the time the crucial stages for the general classification rolled around, Contador had to contend with only a few rivals: the fabulous Schleck brothers and his team-mate Armstrong who was intent on finishing on the Parisian podium. Before the critical stage to Mont Ventoux, Armstrong had already announced that he would form a new team in 2010 and that a split from Astana was imminent.
Throughout the race the polemics within the team managed by Johan Bruyneel provided fodder for the media but the riders at the centre of it all remained focused on their job: trying to win the Tour. Contador went one better than Cancellara in the long individual time trial around Lance Annecy, winning his second stage and increasing the overall lead he took after claiming the mountain stage to Verbier, Switzerland.
Rinaldo Nocentini led the race from Andorrra to Switzerland and his AG2R La Mondiale team helped break the monotony of an all-Astana head of the peloton when sprints weren’t the likely conclusion of a stage. But really it was two teams that dominated the race from Monaco, east to Spain, north to Andorra and across France, into Swiss territory and onward to Paris.
Columbia-HTC had a taste of what it was like to lead the Tour 12 months earlier but this year the squad was committed to the cause of one man. Mark Cavendish. How can he be ignored? He is fast, very fast! Although the 2005 points classification champion eclipsed the Brit’s tally of points in the race for the green jersey, no rider was capable of beating ‘Cav’ in a sprint. He won a total of six stages and proved his ego wasn’t exploding last year when he declared himself to be “the fastest man in the world”. Indeed that is what he is, but the most complete rider is Alberto Contador.
Thor Hushovd© Presse Sports
Mark Cavendish© Presse Sports
There is a special breed of cyclist that specializes in a certain type of racing in a handful of stages during each edition of the Tour de France: the bunch sprint. The riders who excel in the frantic showdown of skill and speed are also the ones who are in contention for the green jersey. Presented to the leader of the points classification, this prize is won by he who acquires the most points during intermediate ‘primes’ scattered along the route as well as at the finish of every stage. It’s a competition designed to determine the most consistent sprinter in the race. Their elation comes after an intense rush to the finish line when adrenaline is flowing and the emotions that come with victory can provide immense satisfaction. In 2005, Norway’s Thor Hushovd claimed the green jersey through consistency, but he never won a stage that year. He will be a favorite for this special classification again this year. In contrast another contender is Mark Cavendish who blitzed the field last year, winning four stages but never wearing the green jersey. He abandoned before the finish but this year intends to make it all the way to Paris. We spoke to these two stars to find out what their hopes are in this year’s Tour.
“Like all the sprinters, my goal is to win stages but it’s a huge satisfaction to have finished on the Champs-Elysées with the green jersey on my shoulders. My experience from 2005 was one of mixed emotions because I won the points classification without winning a single stage. I was frustrating for me and for the team for that not to happen but, at the same time, we consolidated my advantage in the race for the green jersey day after day. If I had to chose between a stage victory on the Champs-Elysées and winning the green jersey, I’m not sure what decision I would make. For the sheer thrill of the moment, my victory on the Champs-Elysées in 2006 – with an advantage of two or three bike lengths over McEwen – is certainly one of the best moments of my career. It was my most successful sprint. But with hindsight, the green jersey has a lasting memory and that’s perhaps more special.”
“I try not to think about the pressure. Winning sprints is my job; it’s what I’m paid to do. “I’d like the green jersey but I’ve never said that I’m specifically going to target it. Many riders would like to win this classification but I think it’s more realistic to look for stage wins. I’ve said all along, that’s what I’m looking for. I want to win stages and get to Paris – they’re my two goals. “The green jersey is very special but I’ve never reached Paris yet so to go in with thoughts of aiming for the green jersey already is a bit optimistic. “Winning a stage gives you total elation: you’ve just won a stage of the Tour de France! Not many people get to do it and when you can do it – when everything works right on the day and you cross the line first – for sure it’s going to be one of the best feelings in the world.”
After the decision announced on the 3rd of July by the Sport Arbitration Chamber (Chambre Arbitrale du Sport, CAS), Tom Boonen of the Quick Step team will be at the start of the 2009 Tour de France. A.S.O. takes this decision into account.The management of the Tour de France believes that, considering the great champion that Tom Boonen is, he will relish the opportunity that has been given to him and that he will have an exemplary attitude during the event.
The 180 riders who are expected to take part in the 96th edition of the Tour de France have already witnessed a fantastic gathering with the public coming out in force to see the team presentation. Over 9,000 people cheered the riders who were presented on the podium in front of the harbour in Monaco.
The formalities began with speeches from the race director Mr Christian Prudhomme, and his highness Prince Albert of Monaco before they welcomed the riders as part of the official team presentation.
“The Grand Départ of the Tour de France from Monaco is the opportunity to insist on the vocation my country has to be one of the world capitals of sports by organising events like this one but also by the support that my Government brings to the organisation of numerous internationally known sporting events,” said Prince Albert. “I also wish to promote the essential values that can be shared through sports: courage, humility, respect of the opponent, engagement and going beyond oneself.” The grandstand that was used for the recent Formula One GP was filled with over 6,000 fans from around the world that have come to the Principality of Monaco for the ‘Grand Depart’. Many others lined the road beside the magnificent harbour in Monaco. Also part of the official ceremony were two former five-time champions of the Tour de France, Bernard Hinault and Eddy Merckx.
Mr Prudhomme pondered the possibilities of the race that is due to begin with a time trial in Monaco on Saturday July 4. “Who will be the winner for this edition? If I had to make a wish it would be that the answer to this question comes as late as possible; that suspense accompanies us for as long as possible, as close as possible to the finish on the Champs Elysées.”
The PMU, which is the official partner of the Green Jersey, is also the sponsor of the Tour de France’s race number this year.
As the official partner of the Green Jersey for the 19th year in a row, the PMU is expressing its commitment to the world of sport and will thus promote the values of competitiveness and conviviality in the heart of the peloton.
This year PMU has created the website sprintgagnant.com, which will allow users to forecast who will be the 3 best riders, 3 best teams and the wearer of the Green Jersey for each stage. In partnership with the Tour de France website, which provides all of the information, sprintgagnant.com will also offer them the opportunity of collecting points and winning many prizes : green jerseys, Smartphones, mini-PCs, gift tokens, etc. All of those who have made forecasts will take part in a final draw allowing them to win even more prizes.
© Presse Sports
Didier Gamerdinger© Centre de Presse de Monaco / Charly Gallo
In Monaco, the Tour de France has set its headquarters in a mini-state. On 2 km², all the necessary installations to welcome the riders, the teams and the followers have had to find their place. The biggest mission is to anticipate the massive presence of spectators who will come to witness the team presentation, the opening time-trial and the start of stage 2. The authorities of Monaco have been working for close to two months on the logistical aspects of the event and the question of transportation in the principality during this fantastic week. Didier Gamerdinger, general director of the interior department supervised all this gestation and the setting up of this plan of action.
With the “Grand Départ’’ of the Tour de France, Monaco has taken on a new challenge in terms of organisation…
We wanted to welcome the Tour because it’s a first class international event. To be at the height of expectations, we based ourselves on a way of working that is now rather old and that we mainly use for the Formula One Grand-Prix, but also for the tennis Masters Series and the Monaco Marathon. For example, a part of the structures used by the Automobile Club de Monaco have been kept for the Tour, like the stand with 6500 places or the bridge that goes over the circuit. The main thing is that we set up over a year ago, an organising comity that gathers an average of 55 people at each meeting. I believe that all the questions have been considered and answered too by specific cells for each domain.
Was the main novelty, the fact of having to deal with a huge number of spectators?
There are indeed two parameters that we can’t master: the weather and the number of spectators. This is a free event so it’s difficult to know the number of people that will come. We have based our efforts on the 4th of July. The calibre of infrastructures is conceived for 150 000 people. If there are more, we might not be totally calm, but it would be good news.
By welcoming the universe of the Tour, Monaco will also welcome a popular event…
It is indeed the card that we played immediately. In terms of organisation, we have the will to show that in the world capital of sports that is Monaco, we are also capable to host an event for huge numbers. To do so we will need to be irreproachable.
Yukiya Arashiro (BTL)© Presse Sports
Fumiyuki Beppu (SKS)© A.S.O.
This 96th edition of the Tour de France will be historical with the announced presence of two Japanese riders in the pack. Fumiyuki Beppu (Skil Shimano) and Yukiya Arashiro (BBox), are expected to take part in the event and become the successors to Kisso Kawamuro, who had tried his luck back in 1926 and 1927, failing both time in his quest to reach Paris. Sixty years later Daisuke Imanaka, a member of the Polti team started the Tour and also never saw the French capital and its finish line. Since then cycling has continued developing in Japan. Letour.fr, based on this record number of Japanese riders, spoke to Tomoharu Masuda, general producer of the cycling section at J SPORTS that broadcasts the Tour since 1997.
In what way does the presence of two Japanese riders change J-Sport’s broadcast of the Tour?
It’s really important to have two riders of our country on the Tour. In Japan for several years now, cycling has become a fashion. There’s been an incredible and unexpected outburst. A lot of young people take their racing bikes and their helmets to go to work or to school. But the truth is that there aren’t necessarily more cycling fans than before. Thanks to the participation of our riders at the Tour, the public’s attention will certainly be more important. And once the people will watch the Tour, we’re convinced that they will be seduced by the sport of cycling. For that we will try to broadcast as much footage of our Japanese riders fighting in the pack. We are sending to France a specific cameraman to follow them and then broadcast a documentary on their Tour at the end of August. For us, it’s a bit like a mission to open the eyes of the people that are only interested in other sports and make them understand at what point cycling is a beautiful sport.
What will be new on your channel for the 2009 Tour?
First of all, we will broadcast alol the stages live and in high definition. For the live, we will invite former Formula 1 driver, Ukyo Katayama for the Monaco stage, as well as the family and former team mates of our Japanese riders. We will have Daisuke Imanaka who took part in the 1996 Tour as our consultant. During the live coverage, journalists will intervene on the phone to give the viewers fresh information concerning the Japanese. Also we’ve been organising each year games for the viewers, and for this edition we’ll have even more quizzes and gifts to encourage the viewers to follow the Tour during three weeks.
What is the point of view of the Japanese public on cycling and the Tour?
The Japanese fans don’t only focus on the Japanese riders; they also carefully follow the battle for the yellow jersey! But it’s the first time in 13 years that a Japanese rider will take part in the Tour and so it’s normal that the fans are so enthusiastic. Now what are they expecting? First of all a stage win of course. And we hope that they will show themselves to the cameras, meaning that they will be in breakaway groups. Finally they have to make it to the finish, to the Champs Elysées!
Henri Terreaux© Orange
The 4500 riders and followers that come to the Tour mostly have for professional reasons a need for efficient communication. The mission of Orange is to offer in all circumstances optimal working conditions in terms of transmissions. It is indeed the challenge of the year for Henri Terreaux, in charge of special operations for Orange.
Why is the Tour de France such a difficult event to cover for Orange?
What makes the Tour difficult is first of all the fact that it moves all the time and the fact that communication is key for the people working on the Tour. That’s why we work a lot on the Tour preparation: I go on the roads of France as soon as October with the team in charge of sites to check essential details and to see the means we have to deploy on each site. With the Orange network we also have the possibility to work with our local resources, and we’re actually the only ones to do so. Obviously when we have to settle in places where there is nothing, like at the Mont Ventoux, it forces us to invent solutions. For example, we will have added mobile stations come for the penultimate stage on the uphill portion. They will allow the fans to be able to phone in places where they usually can’t.
The evolution of the Tour format must also set out new difficult technical questions to sort out…
More than the size of the Tour, it’s mainly the transformation of jobs and means that force us to adapt very rapidly. For example, a few years ago, a photographer present on the finish line would send around ten photos. Now in order to be fast and thanks to the lower costs of transmissions, they send 150, 200 or 500 photos. And we have to furnish a big enough tube so that everything goes through. Added to that, there are now more and more TV crews that send their footage and news reports via the web so the needs are huge. And we have to respond to them.
The technological challenge is even more motivating…
The implication of Orange on the Tour is a lot more than just a commercial operation. This event forces us to find new solutions. It’s a real laboratory and a shop window of what we can do. This year, we will for example use a new generation WiFi terminal that can welcome 1000 users at the same time when a normal terminal can only host around thirty users.
The web users have taken the habit of following in numbers the Tour de France through the live coverage available on the official website (6.3 million unique users in 2008). This year a graphic revision of the presentation interface puts the viewers at the heart of the peloton. Other than the visual aspect, the amount of information available on the same window will be considerably increased thanks to the new design.
Condensed information within just a click, in an intuitive, colourful and rich environment. It is first of all by focusing on the breakaway group and the gap registered on the pack that the developers of the new Tour live coverage have worked. Little bikes can be seen of course, but technology allows one to go even further. The riders appear in action on the screen with the jersey of their teams or one of the leader’s jerseys worn. And thanks to the different points of view available, one can go from a large panorama on the state of the race to a zoom on one of the groups with the possibility to have access to a mini identity form of the riders. Added to the gaps registered and the kilometres to go before the finish of the stage, the live will also give the current and average speed, standings established at intermediate points as well as the results of the sprints and mountain climbs. The new navigation system will also give out in real time virtual classifications based on the positions of the riders during the stage.
This data will be commented and analysed all along the day in the breaking news section where the web users will find tactical precisions, historical facts, interviews during the race of team directors… A complete kit for a keen fanatic!
The partner of the Fighting Spirit Award since 2005, Brandt will be present during the Tour de France with two hostesses, who in turn may be awarded a prize, that for elegance.The young women who are responsible for handing over the white number on a red background have been particularly pampered, as this is the first time that an Haute-Couture designer has created and made their dresses. Brandt’s idea immediately appealed to Eymeric François, who was trained within the fashion houses of Thierry Mugler and Christian Lacroix: “I am in favour of presenting Haute Couture in places other than in trade shows, in an unexpected setting: this can only be beneficial to it.” For this exceptional daily parade which will be organised every evening after the arrival, Eymeric has created two very different designs: “a silk jersey dress, made from a single piece of fabric, which is very close-fitting and a red tulle tutu, which is more glamorous, which will perhaps correspond more to the gala stages.” For Brandt, inviting Haute-Couture on the podium of the Tour also proves its fighting spirit.
Jalabert drops his breakaway companions in the downhill portion on the way to Colmar© Presse Sports
Next 17th of July, the Tour de France will stop in Colmar. The Alsace city will forever by linked to the glorious career of Laurent Jalabert. It was indeed in Colmar that “Jaja” won on the 14th of July, French National day, 6 years after having already triumphed on that special date in Mende, back in 1995. He became the fourth French rider to manage a double after Delisle, Anquetil et Thévenet.
What does the city of Colmar bring to mind for you?
It remains a great memory, a great lesson of cycling. Alsace really is a beautiful area. The profile of the stage with small mountains suited me well. And I’m a rider that is very attached to the 14th of July, our national day. I had therefore carefully checked out the stage, well before the Tour de France. I actually made the difference in the final descent that I knew really well. Like on the way to Mende on the 14th of July 1995, a nice group of rider had bunched up at the front with Voigt, Cuesta, Basso and Roux. I really was in great shape but I was still worried about Voigt. So I went full blast in the downhill portion. I was at the limit in the bends. Like I used to do all along my career, I based my speed on the motorcycle rider in front of us, hitting the brakes only when I would see his brake light turn on. And at a moment I heard a big ‘crunch’, it was Ivan Basso hitting the ground. A slight gap appeared and I eventually won on my own. I really had the feeling of an accomplished effort when I crossed the line.
That victory happened after you had decided to go from ONCE to CSC, and after a period of doubt due to a home accident at the beginning of that year…
At the start of the Tour, I had a lot of pressure on my shoulders because of that famous ladder (he had fallen from a ladder in his garage, injuring his back). I had really struggled a lot. I didn’t quite know in what kind of shape I was. Above all that, it was the beginning of a new period for me with my move to Bjarne Riis’ team. Those will certainly remain as my most enjoyable years. I was riding more freely. I could do what I wanted. And it actually paid off…
As a consequence to the recent positive doping test of Tom Boonen, following another positive test in 2008, the Tour de France, after having met team Quick Step representatives, can only assume that the image and behaviour of Tom Boonen can’t stick neither to the Tour de France image nor to the image such a great champion has to embody.
Therefore, and with a view to protect its reputation, its image as well as the Tour de France’s ones, the A.S.O. company decided not to accept Tom Boonen on the Tour The Tour de France reminds that the rider and his team can of course contest this decison through the Chambre Arbitrale du Sport of the CNOSF, which, in case of court referral, will make the final decision.
The structures which embellish the arrival area have been replaced for the Tour de France 2009. The creation of this new decor satisfies both the requirements of aesthetic elegance and technological challenges.
At the beginning, all that was needed to draw the finish line of the race was chalk, limestone or even spray paint. It was as simple as that. It was in their search to come close to this absolute ideal that the designers commissioned by the organisation worked on the new arrival area. Of course, the desire to immediately reproduce the world of the Tour de France also guided the pencil strokes of the designers. After crumpling several reams of paper, experimenting with different shapes and colours, one particular style stood out: extreme simplicity.
At the end of the process, the theme has concentrated on the strong colours of the visual identity of the Tour de France: black, yellow and grey. In this decor which also highlights the partners’ colours, a “huge die” which is decorated with the logo of the Tour on five of its six sides, dominates the landscape. As far as the decor’s lines are concerned, classic, simple ones have been chosen instead of contemporary, extravagant ones. Under the race finish arch there will only be one star this year: the daily stage winner.
A few metres away from the structure that the specialists have called “Chronopole” (with reference to its original purpose to record the competitors’ times) the rider who has just raised his arms to the sky will be invited to join the podium, which has been renovated using the same principles. The new podium, which is more modern, equipped with flat screens and is also topped by a “huge die”, will maintain the solemn aspect of the jersey giving ceremony. This structure's simplicity also satisfies another requirement: it can be adapted to complex areas. In comparison with the former podium, the space required for it to be installed lengthwise has been reduced by almost four metres. Additionally, as the structure’s layout has been reduced (with lateral pull-down sides), this has decreased the length of the podium from 10m to 6m. In practical terms, in the event of the race finish occurring on the Aubisque Pass, where the podium was not able to be taken up when the stage ended there in 2007, the new protocol area would be completely at home there.
The creation of these structures also relies on technological achievements. As the majority of the operations are automated, the time and energy saved will be considerable for the teams which are in charge of the logistics of the arrival area. Where as last year the set up mobilized about a dozen people, for roughly four hours, this year it will only take one and a half hours to prepare the terrain for the riders, with only two pairs of hands! Lastly, the flexibility of the system has an advantage on an environmental level: instead of the two lorries used in 2008, this year only one heavy goods vehicle will be necessary to transport the race finish arch, the podium and the commentators’ cabin at the same time.
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Robert Gesink© Presse Sports
Jurgen Van den Broeck© A.S.O.
Pierre Rolland© Presse Sports
Daniel Martin© Graham Watson
In 1949, a newcomer on the Tour triumphed after three weeks of racing, his name: Fausto Coppi. In 1969, a certain Eddy Merckx also clinched the Tour for his first appearance. Forty years later, it seems difficult to find a rookie able to win the event (1). With the help of former rider and TV consultant Jacky Durand, we’ve tried to look for the young and upcoming star. A man, one day able to triumph in yellow on the Champs Elysées.
He says it himself; his dream is to win the Tour de France. The tall Dutchman (1m86) is already an outsider for the 2009 edition of the Tour. For his second season as a professional at only 22 years of age, the Rabobank rider had finished 4th of Paris-Nice after carrying the yellow jersey and finished his first major Tour, the Vuelta in 7th position.
2007: 1st of the Settimana Lombarda ; 2008: 1 stage of the Tour of California, 4th of Paris-Nice, 7th of the Vuelta ; 2009: 3rd of the Amstel Gold race
Jacky Durand’s point of view: “He’s a potential winner. He’s capable of following the best in the mountains but has to improve on time-trials. If he remains in a big team such as Rabobank, well surrounded, he can one day win the Tour”.
Jurgen Van Den Broeck’s career witnessed a new turn last season. After slowly maturing in the US Postal squad (then to be Discovery Channel), the 26-year-old rider impressed during the 2008 Giro d’Italia, keeping up with the best before eventually finishing 7th overall. But before having a leading role, the tall and thin Silence-Lotto rider will show up at the start of the Tour with one simple goal: to help his leader Cadel Evans. After all, the Australian was the one who wanted him at his side for this year’s Tour.
2008: 7th of the Giro ; 2009: 15th of Paris-Nice
Jacky’s point of view: “A serious candidate... He showed that he was able to finish in the Top 15 of the Tour of Italy. The fact that Cadel Evans wanted Van den Broeck at his side for the Tour just shows his value. He’s a rider who can become a leader and one day win the Tour”.
Just as difficult as it might be to find the rider who could do as well as Merckx, it isn’t easy either to find a successor to Bernard Hinault, last French rider to win the Tour (in 1986). Pierre Rolland could be that man. An all-round rider, the 22-year-old revealed himself last season in the Credit Agricole team when he remained with the best during Paris-Nice and then during the Dauphiné Libéré that he finished 13th with the best climber’s jersey on his shoulders.
2008: 13th of Paris-Nice, 13th of the Dauphiné
Jacky’s point of view: “Waiting for confirmation. We discovered him during the 2008 Dauphiné. He can rapidly finish among the Top 10 of the Tour. We’ll have to wait a little more to see him finish in the top 5 or better. But he certainly is the best French chance”.
The whole of Ireland awaits the new Stephen Roche or Sean Kelly. Young Daniel Martin probably doesn’t have the legs of these two prestigious champions but could one day become a contender for a victory on the Tour de France. At 22 years of age, this pure climber has already made the headlines by becoming Irish national champion in his first pro season and also claimed the Route du Sud that same year. On the eve of a possible first Tour de France Martin finished 3rd of the last Tour Méditerranéen.
2008: Irish national champion, Route du Sud ; 2009: 3rd of the Tour Méditerranéen
Jacky’s point of view: “He’s a pure climber. He can win a major mountain stage. But his main weakness is time-trials. He can lose up to a minute every 20 kilometres. He really is a feather weight”.
(1): these riders have been chosen based on their hypothetical appearance on the Tour. The different teams haven’t yet unveiled their squads for the Tour de France.
Christian Prudhomme, with Wim Hendriks, Hans Zoethoutmaar and Peter Schuiten© A.S.O.
A few weeks before the start of the Tour in Monaco, time has already come to think about the organisation of the Grand Départ of the 2010 Tour de France that will take place in Rotterdam.
For several months now, the details of the prologue course, as well as the places of the sites that will welcome the Tour (welcome centre, press room, etc) have been chosen after a common re-check of the candidacy dossier. The city departments have now progressively entered an active preparation phase for this major rendezvous which will put Rotterdam at the heart of sports news. And that is the reason why a delegation led by Wim Hendricks, in charge of the external relations of the city of Rotterdam, was yesterday invited by Christian Prudhomme and the teams of the Tour de France.
The day’s work program was occupied by the definition of a precise planning of the intermediate dates, especially in terms of communication. The official presentation of the course, next October, will for instance be a key moment. Peter Schuiten, in charge of communication and marketing, will have quite a few surprises in store for the Dutch cycling amateurs: “We intend to let the people live the event in several episodes during the year. In Paris for the presentation, but also on other occasions in Rotterdam”. The implication and enthusiasm of the Dutch promises a whole season placed under the sign of the 2010 Tour. To be continued…
Blackout for Merckx after the finish: true or convenient?© Presse Sports
In the history of the Tour de France, a stage will forever remain in the history, competed on the 15th of July 1970, between Gap and the Mont Ventoux. On that day, the heat was on the pack. One after the others, the favourites, Thévenet, Poulidor, Van Impe were dropped, failing to keep up with the leader of the event, Eddy Merckx. The Belgian eventually went on to win on his own at the summit of the Ventoux, on his way to the second of his five triumphs on the Tour de France. This year, the terrible climb will once again be on the program, on the penultimate day of the race.
What memories do you keep of that legendary stage?
It was 39 years ago so I don’t precisely remember everything. I am often asked if it was the toughest stage of my career. No, it wasn’t. A few days before, we were told about the terrible news of the death of Vincenzo Giacotto, my manager. I was wearing a black arm band in his memory. It was very hot but we reached the climb up the Ventoux rather late so it was a lot cooler. Agostinho (my former team mate) was the last to hang on. I then distanced him to finally win on my own at the top. When going past Tom Simpson’s memorial (who had died three years earlier during the Tour climb up the Ventoux), I took the time to take my cap off and had a thought for him, my former team mate.
And after the line, reports say you collapsed…
No, not really. It was just that I was tired of waiting, tired of all the reporters around me. I wasn’t feeling great and there was a lack of oxygen, but the thing is that I really wanted to leave that place. I left in an ambulance to be able to get to my hotel earlier.
What place does that victory have in your impressive career?
It is indeed prestigious to win at the Mont Ventoux, in that amazing lunar landscape. It remains a great memory. And added to that, I won the stage with the yellow jersey on my shoulders and that’s quite something. The Ventoux remains the Ventoux.
Eurosport is celebrating its 20th birthday this week. The Tour de France and the events organised by A.S.O. wish a very happy birthday to the channel and salutes its implication in favour of cycling.
It’s thanks to the broadcast of the biggest channels around the world that the Tour de France has managed to conquer new fans and raise the interest of an ever increasing number of viewers. Among the most faithful partners to the Tour de France and cycling, Eurosport has largely taken part in the movement with an extended coverage zone of 59 countries, in a total of 22 different languages. While the first sports channel created on the European continent didn’t broadcast the 1989 Tour live, the year it was born, Eurosport rapidly had an interest for the event. Ever since 1991, the Tour has systematically had extensive coverage during the month of July. It is indeed the oldest competition to have been broadcasted without interruption alongside with the Roland-Garros tennis tournament Thanks to Eurosport, the Tour benefits from an increasing audience this year through the presence of the Eurosport Asia/Pacific network.
The cycling races organised by A.S.O., whether it concerns Paris-Roubaix or the Ardennes classics are key moments of the Eurosport calendar as well as the Dakar rally. Indeed since 1992, footage of the bikers stuck in the dunes of the Sahara or more recently of the Atacama Desert are broadcasted and commented on Eurosport.
Credit Agricole team and Christophe Moreau between Tours and Blois in 2005© A.S.O.
McEwen rides for team Katusha© Presse Sports
J-F. Pescheux, great supporter of the TTT© A.S.O.
Four years after the stage between Tours and Blois, the team time-trial is back on the Tour de France program with a 38 kilometres circuit designed around Montpellier for stage 4. This unfamiliar exercise on which the biggest average speeds are achieved, seduces by its technical and athletic demands. The pure flat stage riders can express themselves and play a leading role in a group, but the others often fear this tricky stage where one is sure to suffer. The pack is shared between the keen supporters and those who are far less enthusiastic. Christophe Moreau and Robbie McEwen give their points of view as well as Tour race director Jean-François Pescheux.
Christophe Moreau (Agritubel) : "exhilarating when the team works well together"
“We actually don’t do a lot of them. I come from the “100 kilometres school” (World runner-up) so I’m far more used to this exercise. But it’s something that can scare, that is very demanding. It can be terrible when one has to focus on not being dropped or exhilarating when the team works well together. You don’t just have to go fast individually, you have to find a good cohesion, a real collective. For the Montpellier team time-trial, we’ll make sure to check the course out and to work on a team tactic. It isn’t easy to work on. You have to know how to improvise, to adapt. Thanks to my past, I will have a captain’s role to find that good cohesion. You have to make the good riders advance without dislocating the team. It’s a special art: to maintain the speed and remain bunched”.
Robbie McEwen (Katusha) : "There isn’t much to be gained"
“It really depends on the terrain. If it’s hilly, it can be very painful for me. I’m a lot more confortable when it’s flat. As a sprinter, there isn’t much to be gained. I would have preferred to have had an extra normal sprint stage. There is on the other hand a lot to loose for when you’re focused on the GC. I believe that for the riders who are aiming at a place between the 5th and the 15th spot overall and don’t really have a good team, there is a lot to loose. For me, it’s just another day to go through. It’s obviously a lot different compared to an individual time-trial. The speed is bigger (56.33 km/h for Columbia on the latest Giro, 57.324 km/h for Discovery on the 2004 Tour) but there are less problems with the wind. You can avoid being in the wind and have a rest. I can’t really say that I’m a team captain. It’s up to the DS to measure the shape of each rider. For the Tour, it however remains something good. Not a bad spectacle!”
Jean-François Pescheux (Race Director) : "One of the most beautiful disciplines of cycling"
“First of all, the team time-trial is one of the most beautiful disciplines of cycling. An event that points out key values of cycling: homogeneity, collective… Generally speaking the teams are happy to see it return on the Tour. Its return is also due to the physiognomy of this year’s edition with the start in Monaco. In order not to take on the mountains too early, we wanted to add a stage by choosing this team time-trial around Montpellier, a city that has all the necessary infrastructures to welcome it. This time-trial will be shorter than the one in 2005 (38km instead of 67.5km) on a very technical, sinuous and hilly course. It will favour teams that have good all-rounders. Concerning the GC, the Tour won’t be won here but can be lost. Because this time-trial is rather short, there won’t be a limited time deficit. We had decided on having it at the time just in case there was to be a possible incident. For this one, we’ll use the real time of everyone. The team time will be taken at the passage of the fifth rider.”
To move the great big machine of the Tour, its barriers, its shops, its podium and its start village, logistics plays a key role.The teams of the Tour de France therefore call upon experts in transportation, the Norbert Dentressangle Company that has had its red trucks present on the event since 1981. This year, A.S.O. has renewed for five extra years the agreement that makes of Norbert Dentressangle the official supplier of the Tour de France until 2013. The routes of the 2009 Tour will again witness the presence of around twenty Norbert Dentressangle trucks, some being also used for the advertising caravan to transport the millions of “goodies” handed out to the public, or for the necessary structures for the Etape du Tour.
Pascal Lino© Presse Sports
Fierce battle all the way to the line© Presse Sports
Perpignan, finish of stage 5 in 2009 has already welcomed the Tour 35 times including 33 finishes. Recently, the city was the scene of French successes: before Laurent Desbiens in 1997, Pascal Lino had triumphed in 1993.
What memories do you keep of stage 13 of the 1993 Tour?
I had completely missed my Tour. I was no longer concerned by the GC, I absolutely needed to hit back. I knew that there would be a big mountain stage in the Pyrenees on the following day and that on this kind of stage breaks were bound to happen. I placed myself in the lead as the pack moved closer to the climb up the Mont St Clair in the first moments of the day’s race. The climb was covered very rapidly with Bjarne Riis in front. Then in the downhill portion, a group of five pulled away including me and Bruyneel, Chiesa, Faresin and Perini. With 20 kilometres to go, I decided to attack, taking with me Giancarlo Perini. Everything was going well until the last ten kilometres when Perini decided to stop his efforts, leaving me to work in front. We eventually made it to Perpignan together for stage victory. I launched my sprint with 300m to go with a face wind, probably too early but I managed to hang on. And I won by only a few centimetres. In 1993 we were using hand gears for the first time. It’s actually also thanks to that new system that won. I had launched my sprint with a 13 bracket and in the middle of my effort I switched to 12. Good advertising for the brand I used at the time.
And your reaction at the finish?
I didn’t immediately know that I had won. I recently saw footage of the stage on TV and realised that I hadn’t had the time to lift my arms up. After the line, I immediately asked one of my team members if I had won and he too didn’t know. French journalist Jean-Paul Ollivier came to see me for an interview and in the middle of it I was finally told that I had won. I had won a stage on the Tour de France. I had saved my Tour. Added to that, I had been the only French winner that year.
Only few people actually know that you won a Tour de France stage?
The truth is that today, the average follower mainly knows about my days with the yellow jersey in 1992. People don’t necessarily know that I finished fifth of the Tour in 1992 or even that I won that famous Perpignan stage. But I indeed have my Tour stage!
6500 seats on the tribune© A.S.O.
A delegation of the Tour de France teams travelled to Monaco on Thursday to launch a last series of meetings destined to set the final details of the five day program that riders and followers will live in the Principality.
From Wednesday the 1st of July, opening day of the Tour offices and the press room, until the 5th of July when the pack will leave Monaco to cover the 2nd stage heading to Brignoles, the Tour should welcome around 4500 riders and followers added to 150 000 spectators according to a realistic broadcast. The setting of parking lots, traffic plans and security on the long course are for example issues to detail well in advance with the police and local departments. Among the key moments of the Monaco calendar, the team presentation that will be held on Thursday the 2nd of July at the Quai Albert 1er as of 6:00 PM, has to be timed with precision. The welcome of spectators will happen in perfect conditions. Indeed the fans of the Tour will benefit from the stands currently being set up for the Formula One Grand-Prix (May 21-24). The stands, positioned facing the sea can welcome up to 6500 people free of access like for the entire Tour de France show. The access will also be free to witness the final efforts of the riders before the inaugural time-trial, just 50m or so away from the finish line.
More informations : http://www.monacoaccueilleletour.com/uk/
Hariboy in the work shop, before its Tour de France© A.S.O.
There are around ten agencies specialised in the design of vehicles and objects for the advertising caravan of the Tour. In one of them, with two and a half months to go before the big start in Monaco, polystyrene figures are being worked on while a mechanic checks the last details on a truck ready to take off for the Giro d'Italia. A total of 23 full or part time employees work on 10 different projects. The head of the development details the different stages from the first deal to the after Tour disassembling.
I. The first offer
Each yearn new demands are sent to us, either through advertising agencies or directly from the brand. A bid is launched between November and December to the ten or so agencies specialised. We have to answer the bid very rapidly, précising the budget, the concept, the animations on offer, the vehicles, etc. A final answer occurs between January and February.
II. From drawing to work shop
Then starts the design and decoration phase with the creation of figures and objects that have to be advertised: it is currently the case of Hariboy and of the Belin biscuits. For the Haribo figure, it all starts with a 6m3 bloc of polystyrene, sculpted by the three artists at the work shop. A layer of resin is then added. After having been polished, it is painted, varnished, “to make it as appetising as possible” and finally metal strictures are added to make it stronger. On the Tour, one shouldn’t neglect the shocks, bumps and vibrations of three weeks on the road. All that basically takes around a month.
The last phase for assembling is done in our warehouse based in Abbeville, in June. We first have to bring all the vehicles there, from the Etap Hotel bed on wheels to the 6.50m long truck, as well as tricycles, a tryke (three wheel motorbike), quads (Kleber tyres), small cars (Mini or Fiat 500). Highly concerned by security and the environment, we prefer using vehicles that can go everywhere. We then take care of decorating and converting the vehicles, fixing the figures, settling the metal structures and the music systems. We also have to respect specific rules established by A.S.O. concerning security with anchoring points, rails and mousse for the hostesses. Verifications are also done concerning sound emission and pollution.
IV. Three weeks on the roads
After a last touch of paint, another phase starts as the Tour takes off. We will take on the 2009 Tour with around 60 vehicles for 10 advertising caravans. We also have to deal with the hotel rooms and catering of all the employees (hostesses, 3 mechanics, drivers, etc.), attending the vehicles, mechanical issues, assistance and logistics especially for the storage of products. It can sometimes happen that our vehicles suffer damages during the Tour. On the day after the finish on the Champs-Elysées starts the less enjoyable part with the disassembling of the vehicles that we have to return. While it takes around 5 months to prepare a vehicle, tend days are enough to put it back in order.
For a few months now, the streets of Bourgoin-Jallieu aren’t exactly the same. The inhabitants now have the habit of seeing a splendid vehicle and it isn’t from the Tour caravan.
Indeed the services of the Communauté d’Agglomération Porte de l’Isère (CAPI) have decided to use a bus totally re-decorated in the colours of the Tour de France on network of the RUBAN line that covers the city and its outskirts.
In order for all the inhabitants of the different areas of Bourgoin to see and jump on THE Tour bus, it is used alternatively on different lines of the network. This experience is one of the ideas set up so that the pure amateurs of sport progressively witness the universe of the Tour de France which will see its 19th stage go from Bourgoin-Jallieu to Aubenas. On the occasion of the unique visit of the Tour to the city in 1962 for a time-trial stage all the way to Lyon, Jacques Anquetil had impressed by clinching his 3rd success on the event.
An anprecedented and instructive document about the history of the Tour de France© S.L.
Collectors of antique objects linked to the history of the Tour de France are used to the auction rooms. This week, 600 items will be on offer on www.svvencheres.com, based on the theme “Sport and Olympics”. Among the items, the aficionados will certainly appreciate the letters of Henri Desgrange, founder of the Tour de France, or old jerseys of Merckx, Poulidor, etc.
Researchers and historians from all horizons have an inexhaustible terrain of research when it comes to the Tour de France. The myth of its creation and organization of its early editions still have its mysteries and a century later, one can still find original pieces that explains its beginnings. It is indeed the case of one of the items on sale this week with documents confirming the existence of secret check points of the 1910 Tour. Alphonse Steinès, the main organiser of the race directed by Desgrange, was indeed positioned for controls in order to make sure that all the riders covered the entire course. The original and top secret list of check points is a unique piece, as well as the list of stamps that were applied on the arms of the riders in order to attest of their passage. The two documents will be auctioned at 500 €.
A total of over two hundred items concerning cycling or the Tour de France should find buyers, including the Henri Desgrange' sword used for his fencing sessions, rare photos of the 1903 Tour start, etc. The catalogue is available on line at www.svvencheres.com, while an exhibition of the items will be organised on the 23rd and 24th of April at 3 cité Rougemont (75009, Paris), just a hundred or so metres away from the place where the Tour de France was first considered.
Vincent Barteau on his way to victory in Marseille© Presse Sport
In 1984, young Vincent Barteau, then 22 had already impressed by carrying the Tour de France’s yellow jersey during 13 days before eventually losing it to his team mate Laurent Fignon, the future winner of the event.Five years later, the man from Normandy again made the headlines by winning a Tour stage in Marseille on a 14th of July, day of the bicentenary of the French Revolution. Close to 20 years later, Barteau keeps a fond memory of that day and remembers almost all the details.
Vincent Barteau: “I was the king that day!”
You will certainly never forget that 14th of July <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />
“It remains a great memory, a great moment of party. The weather was great that morning at the start in
A victory on the French National day makes it even tastier?
“It’s a whole. The weather was great. We are going to Marseille. There was a huge crowd. But when you lift your arms up in the air, it’s because it’s a victory on the Tour de France. My joy would have been the same on another day. It’s such a difficult sport that you don’t choose your stages. You tell yourself that it would be great to win on the 14th of July. When you wake up, you immediately look at the weather and you tell yourself that it would be wonderful to win on that day. It’s a bit like for a National championship. But then again, it’s a stage like another. I would have also been delighted to have won the 2nd stage that year. Of course if you win on the 14th of July, it’s a bonus.”
What did that victory change for you?
Well, already I had my contract extended and my salary was raised. But concerning the fans, people often mix that victory in Marseille with my 13 days with the Yellow Jersey. Yesterday I went to drop friends at the train station and a controller recognised me and talked to me about my career, Marseille, the yellow jersey. But mentioning my victory on the day of the bicentenary of the French Revolution, no-one will ever be able to do it again. On that day, I was the king!”
A peloton of "polka dot" jerseys !© Carrefour
On the 2009 Tour de France, the polka dot jersey will bear the colours of the Carrefour Supermarkets that take over from Champion.
Awaiting the contenders for the king of the mountain jersey, 2000 co-workers of the brand have climbed on their bikes since the 30th of March and until the 24th of April. For the “Polka Dot Tour de France” (Tour de France du maillot à pois), 37 stages have been prepared on 19 days in order for the Carrefour teams to carry the new polka dot jersey on the roads of France. On around 50 kilometres, the workers are, twice a day invited to form a pack. They ride alongside four bikers of the French Police (Garde Republicaine) that take care of the security of the convoy and also set the pace of an elite race. Added to that the riders are helped out by a famous sporting director: Eddy Seigneur. Since the start, the “Polka Dot Tour de France” has also witnessed the visit of prestigious guests like Laurent Fignon and Richard Virenque who have accepted to get back on their bikes alongside the amateurs. Their testimonies as well as the daily stage reports are available online on the operation’s website, www.c-letour.fr
“Le Tour de France du Maillot à pois” in numbers:
Twenty teams that will form a pack of 180 riders have been selected by the organisers to take part in the 96th edition of the Tour de France that will take off on the 4th of July in the Principality of Monaco.
Team Milram (MRM)
Silence - Lotto (SIL)
Team Saxo Bank (SAX)
Caisse d’Epargne (GCE)
Euskaltel - Euskadi (EUS)
Garmin - Slipstream (GRM)
Team Columbia - High Road (THR)
AG2R - La Mondiale (ALM)
BBox Bouygues Telecom (BTL)
Cofidis, Le Crédit en Ligne (COF)
Française des Jeux (FDJ)
Lampre - N.G.C. (LAM)
Team Katusha (KAT)
Cervélo Test Team (CTT)
Download the press release(.pdf, 67.8 kb)
Christian Prudhomme, Directeur of the Tour de France, and Jean-Michel Lemétayer, President of the FNSEA, have rewarded this morning at the Salon de L’Agriculture, the winners of the “Contest of Hearts”. This contest launched last year, consisted in realising in the fields by the road of the Tour de France some master pieces representing a heart to symbolise the link between the two universes of cycling and agriculture.
This year, the farmers from Indre won the contest, ahead of those from Tarn an Cher (2nd ex-æquo) and those from Côtes-d’Armor.
For the third consecutive year a moving animation and initiation site, exclusively consecrated to cycling, will travel through France during spring. The Cycloparc that hosted in 2008 over 70000 visitors will this year stop in 11 towns that will also be on the program of the Tour de France. Except for the games and exhibition stands, theoretical and practical tests will also allow children to earn a place on the P'tite boucle Nesquik, a series of races organised the day of the Tour’s passage. The animators of the local affiliated clubs of the French Cycling Federation (FFC) are systematically called up to prepare for the arrival of the Cycloparc and to take care of the selections. Added to that, on each stage, the Cycloparc will welcome on the Friday thanks to the “Union Sportive de l’Enseignement du Premier degré“ (USEP) and the Ministry for National Education, school groups for an outing dedicated to cycling.
Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France and Ivo W. Opstelten, mayor of RotterdamA.S.O.
The 97th Tour de France will start from Rotterdam in Netherlands on July 3rd, 2010. Never in the past has the organisation been confronted with such a dilemma: To have to choose between two cities - Rotterdam and Utrecht - whose applications were both of a very high level. Each of them had the trumps to welcome a wonderful Grand Depart. Therefore we sincerely hope that Utrecht will once again apply as a candidate for a future Tour.
The decision was made in favour of Rotterdam for two main reasons: Firstly, because in the wake of the Grand Depart from London, Rotterdam embodies a kind of continuity by using the image of the Tour de France in a metropolis to promote cycling as an important means of transport in the heart of the city. Secondly, because its geographical situation adheres perfectly to the route we have imagined for the 2010 Tour.
The details of the Grand Depart will be unveiled in a press conference which will take place in the Nieuwe Luxor Theatre in Rotterdam on Thursday, December, 11th.
The kick-off of the 96th edition of the Tour de France was symbolically given through the announcement of the course by Christian Prudhomme, at the Palais des Congrès of Paris, in the presence of Prince Albert II of Monaco, the “Grand Départ” of the 2009 Tour taking place in the Principality. After the international stature of London in 2007, the heart of cycling’s roots at Brest in 2008, the riders will look for their energy and inspiration next July in the prestige of Monaco.
The balance of difficulties, the choice of the climbs and the position in the course of each stage, are part of the elements that directly condition the confrontation between the champions. By deciding to spread the mountain stages on over two weeks, the teams of the Tour guarantee an intense battle to the fans until the penultimate day. From the finish at the Andorran resort of Arcalis, Friday the 11th of July to the fearsome climb up the Mont Ventoux, on the eve of the finish in Paris, the yellow jersey could change shoulders on numerous occasions.
To soften the “bonus to the time-trial specialists”, the format of stages competed against the clock was thought over. The total of 55 kilometres covered during individual time-trials will be one of the smallest since the systematic introduction of the solitary effort in 1947. The 2009 Tour will also be marked by the return of the team time-trial absent since the 2005 edition
A showcase of the French territory, the Tour is also keen to help discover the variety of landscapes throughout the country. This year, the theme of the sea will have a key role with the visits of three great lighthouses of the Mediterranean Sea: Monaco, Marseille and Barcelona. The itinerary designed in a clockwise way, will then lead the pack to the Pyrenees, go upwards towards the centre of France then the Vosges and the Alps before a decisive bend to the Giant of Provence.
Download the press release(.pdf, 185.7 kb)