The 2009 Tour de France presentation took place last week in Paris, where next year’s route was unveiled. Taking place from 4-26th July, the Tour starts in Monaco, passing through Spain, Andorra, Switzerland and Italy.
It’s set to be a more exciting route than 2008, with the final showdown taking place on the slopes of Le Mont Ventoux, the day before the race finishes on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris.
To read more about the Tour route, see our news report from the presentation.
Here’s a highlights video from the presentation, including appearances from Alberto Contador, Mark Cavendish and Cadel Evans.
Tour de france 2009 presentation
In case that isn’t enough to whet your Tour appetite, here’s an interview with Tour director Christian Prudhomme in which he talks, amongst other things about Mont Ventoux, the return of the team time trials, and the stage in Barcelona. We’ve also added an English translation of the Prudhomme interview below.
Christian prudhomme interview
Christian Prudhomme interview
Question 1: The Mediterranean stages
It’s true that in 2009 we will have a Mediterranean start as the sea accompanies us and accompanies the riders of the Tour for almost eight days.
It will be a prestigious start in the Principality of Monaco. After that, we will be going through Marseille; we will pass through Perpignan, as well as Barcelona, a city where the Tour de France has not been for 44 years.
There will be a kind of continuity along the coast with a true fight, because where there is the sea, there is wind. This will give us absolutely sumptuous images with a permanent reference to the sea in the live broadcast.
Question 2: The mountain stage before the finish in Paris
The Tour de France always lived in harmony with its time, with its drifts as well as with its innovations. Today the TGV (high speed train) enables us to return to Paris more quickly from Avignon than from Aix Les Bains for example; it makes it possible to bring the mountains closer to Paris.
Why should we deprive ourselves of such possibilities as the start in Monaco, which allowed us certain audacities because we did not want to attack the mountains immediately and thus go straight into the Alps? To sum up, the Mont Ventoux has been in my head for the past three years and for the past two years with the officials and the political authorities.
All the organisers of the Tour de France have always wanted to bring the mountains closer to Paris to maintain suspense until the end. We wanted as much as possible to spread out the mountain stages over the maximum number of days. We are below average with regards to the number of peaks climbed. On the other hand, in two weeks, between the first mountain finish in Andorra and the last, the Ventoux, after Verbier this means three in total, two weeks will have passed. This is enormous and has almost never happened in the history of the Tour de France. All that of course to maintain the maximum suspense until the end, 20 years after the most breathtaking finish of the Tour de France in 1989 and the famous eight seconds between Greg Lemond and Laurent Fignon.
Question 3: The time trials
Two things: the return of the team time trials which have not been used for the past four years, and on the other hand it’s true there are a small number of kilometres for the individual time trials … the lowest since 1967. Indeed the second smallest number of kilometres since the resumption of the Tour de France after the War… Well, look, it will be necessary to cope with the course, we desire to give importance to the athletic exercise that is the team time trial and a desire that this year, because we have Mont Ventoux the day before the finish, the litmus test would not be the last time trial but the climb of Mont Ventoux.
Question 4: The stage in Barcelona (Spain)
This is the southernmost destination in the entire history of the Tour de France. Barcelona, where the Tour de France has not set foot for the last 44 years, and it will do so in 2009 which is a special year for the Spanish since it will be exactly 50 years after the first Spanish rider won the Tour de France: the Eagle of Toledo, Frederico Bahamontes.
Spain is a great sporting nation, in particular in cycling with the last three winners of the Tour de France, with the presence at the Tour de France presentation of the Mayor of Barcelona; it is to say the implication of Spain, of Catalonia in the Tour de France 2009. We will have a finish in Barcelona which will be absolutely sumptuous, 17 kilometres on the most beautiful roads in the city: we will pass in front of the column of Christopher Colombus, for example, and we will finish on the Montjuic climb, in front of the Olympic stadium of the 1992 Olympic games, of which everyone had a marvellous memory.
Our passage through Spain will be awaited and we thank the Spanish and Catalan authorities for having helped us to organise the passage of the Tour de France 2009.
Question 5: The mountain stage Bourg Saint Maurice / Grand Bornand
Media-wise, you think of Mont Ventoux of course, especially as it is located the day before the finish in Paris and that the decision is possible until the last moment. But there is a stage which we talk less about but which is absolutely frightening and will be splendid. It is the stage from Bourg Saint Maurice to the Grand Bornand. A short stage, just 170 kilometres, with five climbs and with a peak called the Col de Romme, which is new and is a particularly difficult and demanding alternative to the Col de Colombière: eight kilometres at 9%, a very short descent, then a flat part followed by the last eight and most difficult kilometres of the Col de Colombière. In the last 30 kilometres it will be constantly up and down, there will be descents and sharp climbs, frightening, at the end of the Tour de France.
Undoubtedly for the best of the Tour de France, the favourites, this stage should be noted: on that day if you are not feeling good, there will be no more hope, and if you are very good, it could be the chance to consolidate or grab the yellow jersey for good.