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 France's biggest sporting event

WRONG YEAR?  Click here for the Tour de France 2013

The Tour de France is certainly the world's greatest cycling race; if you are visiting France in July, it is a free spectacle that may well be coming to a town or a road near you!  Each year, hundreds of thousands of locals and holidaymakers turn up in spots all round France to watch not just the cyclists, but also the great "caravan" of floats, cars, media and officals go by.....
 "Le Tour" 2009  - the route    and results  
Tour de France route map 2009
The 2009 Tour de France
started from Monaco on 4th July, and will finish in Paris on 26th July; riders who complete the course will cover a total distance of  3435 km., about a hundred kilometres less than in previous years. The route of the 2009 Tour de France will also take riders into Spain, Switzerland and Andorra, as well as through eleven of the French regions. The 2009 itinerary includes ten stages on the plains or gentle hilly country, and seven mountain stages. High moments of the 2009 Tour will include the stages in the Pyrenees and the Alps, and notably the long climb to the finish at the top of the Mont Ventoux on July 25th.

Top 10 placings:
1. Alberto Contador, Spain, Team Astana, Time: 85:48:35.
2. Andy Schleck, Luxembourg, Team Saxo Bank, + 4h 11 mins..
3. Lance Armstrong, United States, Team Astana, + 5h 24.
4. Bradley Wiggins, Great Britain, Team Garmin-Slipstream, + 6h 01.
5. Frank Schleck, Luxembourg, Team Saxo Bank, + 6h 04.
6. Andreas Kloeden, Germany, Team Astana, + 6h 42.
7. Vincenzo Nibali, Italy, Liquigas, + 7h 35.
8. Christian Vande Velde, United States, Garmin-Slipstream, + 12h 04.
9. Roman Kreuziger, Czech Republic, Liquigas, + 14h 16.
10. Christophe Le Mevel, France, Francaise des Jeux, + 14h 25.

1. Mark Cavendish, Great Britain,  Columbia-High Road Team, 6 stages.
2. Alberto Contador, Spain, Astana, 2 stages.

1. Team Astana; combined time 256:02:58.
2. Garmin-Slipstream, + 22 mins 35 secs.

The 2009 Route:



Day’s route (towns, regions)

Length in Km.

1st Stage

Sat 4 July

 Monaco - Monaco


2nd Stage

Sun 5 July

 Monaco - Brignoles (Var, Provence)


3rd  Stage

Mon 6 July

 Marseille - La Grande Motte (Hérault, Languedoc)


4th Stage

Tue 7 July

 Montpellier - Montpellier

38  (time trials)

5th Stage

Wed 8 July

 Cap d'Agde (Hérault) - Perpignan (Pyrénées Orientales)  (Languedoc)


6th Stage

Thu 9 July

 Girona - Barcelona (Spain)       


7th Stage

Fri 10 July

 Barcelona (Spain) - Arcelis (Andorra)


8th Stage

Sat 11 July

 Andorra - Saint Girons (Ariège, Midi-Pyrénées)


9th Stage

Sun 12 July

 St Gaudens - Tarbes (Midi-Pyrénées)


Mon 13 July

 Rest day (Limoges)

10th Stage

Tue 14 July

 Limoges (Limousin) - Issoudun (Centre region)


11th Stage

Wed 15 July

 Vatan (Centre) - St Fargeau (Yonne, Burgundy)


12th Stage

Thu 16 July

 Tonnerre (Burgundy) - Vittel (Lorraine)


13th Stage Fri 17 July   Vittel (Vosges, Lorraine) - Colmar (Haut-Rhin, Alsace) 200

14th Stage

Sat 18 July

 Colmar (Alsace) - Besançon (Doubs, Franche-Comté)


15th Stage

Sun 19 July

 Pontarlier (Franche-Comté) - Verbier (Switzerland)



Mon 20 July

Rest day in Verbier (Switzerland)


16th Stage

Tue 21 July

 Martigny (Switzerland) - Bourg St.Maurice (Savoie, Rhône-Alps)


17th Stage

Wed 22 July

 Bourg St Maurice - Le Grand Bornand (Haute Savoie, Rhone-Alpes)


18th Stage

Thu 23 July

 Annecy - Annecy (Haute Savoie, Rhone-Alpes)

40 (time trials)

19th Stage

Fri 24 July

 Bourgoin-Jallieu (Isère) - Aubenas (Ardèche) , Rhône-Alpes 


20th Stage

Sat 25 July

 Montélimar - Mont Ventoux (Drôme, Rhone-Alpes)


21st Stage

Sun 26 July

 Montereau – Paris (Ile de France)


For the record: route of the The Tour de France 2008

Tour de France - leaderWith almost 200 cyclists, including many of the world's best, the Tour de France - which first took place in 1903 - is certainly a great sporting event; nonetheless, it is an event that has been marred - even heavily marred - in recent years by doping scandals, with cyclists proving positive in anti-doping tests. The 2008 race was no different from others, and at a small number of competitors were withdrawn from the race following a positive doping test.
   Yet in spite of the doping scandals, and the withdrawal in recent years of certain major teams, the "Tour" goes on, and it is difficult to imagine how it could not. This mega sporting event is worth millions of Euros in advertising, sponsorship and worldwide television rights, attracts millions of spectators, and is one of Europe's great media circus acts.
   For the hundreds of thousands who turn up to line the route, the cycling is actually only a tiny bit of the show: While the time-trial races may offer a more long-drawn-out cycling experience for spectators, with competitors taking part one by one, on normal race days the riders may go past in just a minute, especially in the earlier part of a day's leg, before the participants have become more spaced out. But then, the actual race is just a small part of the show. Starting some two hours before the race, the "Caravan" is a cavalcade of floats, decorated cars and other vehicles that moves along the route, throwing out goodies and free samples to the spectators; it is a massive advertising stunt. The advertising caravan, made up of the Tour's official sponsors, is followed by a long line of official cars, technical vehicles, media and motorbikes, lights flashing, horns sounding, all warming up the spectators for the actual event itself. Then, at last, the riders come by - and are gone again as quickly as they appeared, pounding uphill or downhill at speeds that can reach 50 mph or more. A bit of an anti-climax.... And with that, the day's excitement is over.
   Anyone wanting to watch the race in a serious manner would be well advised to do so on television; but for a day's outing, with all the fun of the crowds, the waiting, the caravan, and the atmosphere, watching the Tour go by is as good as many other events, and what's more it's free.
    The Tour can be watched all over France, and each year the route is different, taking in at least one leg in another country. The 2009 Tour covers a distance of 3435 km, in 21 stages. The most exciting legs of the itinerary are those that take place in mountainous regions of France, and for this reason, the mountain regions - Vosges, Jura, Alps, Massif-Central and Pyrenees - tend to get visited more frequently than some of the flatter regions of France.
     The 2009 Tour de France started on 4th July 2009 from Monaco.

     Tourists wanting to book holiday accommodation along the route are advised to do so early. Click here for holiday cottages or for bed and breakfast accommodation in France.

Visit the Official site of the tour de France

Tourist attractions in France, by region :

Follow these links for a more detailed list of major tourist attractions in the following regions::
    Paris tourist attractions
     Alsace tourist attractions
      Auvergne tourist attractions
       Brittany tourist attractions
        Burgundy tourist attractions
         Franche-Comté tourist attractions
          Tourist attractions in Languedoc-Roussillon
           Tourist attractions in Limousin
            Tourist attractions in the Midi-Pyrenees region
             Tourist attractions in Normandy
              Tourist attractions in the Pays de la Loire
               Tourist attractions in the Poitou-Charentes region
                Provence tourist attractions

    A brief introduction to the regions of France





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