The official route of the 2009 Tour de France was unveiled this morning at the Palais des Congrès of Paris when race boss Christian Prudhomme revealed a clockwise course that will feature the mighty Mont Ventoux.
The 96th Tour features a challenging route that should, hope the organisers, keep the race alive until the penultimate day. And at the heart of the race will be the ascent of Mont Ventoux, a 22km climb with an average gradient of 7.6km, which the Tour has visited 13 times since 1951. The last time the Tour visited was in 2002.
Monaco will stage the Grand Depart with a 15km time trial around the same roads made famous by the Formula 1 race on 4th July 2009. This will be the sixth time Monaco has hosted the Tour.
There will be just 55km of individual time trials, the shortest amount since the first TT was introduced back in 1947. Little chance the race will be won in an all-out time trial effort, then. There will, however, be a return of the contentious team time trial, which will return after a four year absence.
21 stages covering 3,500km will be broken down into the following:
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