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le Tour de France, 2009

Map of the Tour de France 2009
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Tour de France 2022

first day’s top ten - note the horrible strength of astana

  Rider Team Seconds later
4 KLÖDEN Andréas ASTANA 22

The results after the individual time trial in Monaco on 4th July.

2009 tour de france is about to start - who to watch?

The circus is about to begin! Roadside preparations have started:

Roadside bike at Heches, in the Pyrenees
Roadside bike at Heches, in the Pyrenees

Roundabout near Argeles-Gazost in the Pyrenees  [on stage 9]
Roundabout near Argèles-Gazost in the Pyrenees [on stage 9]

Out of the one hundred and eighty cyclists, who will do well, or even actually win the greatest show in the world?

The ten strongest cyclists in this year’s race are:

Rider Team Country Comments
Alberto Contador Astana Spain World no. 1 climber;
2007 Yellow Jersey winner (awarded after Landis stripped of his win for doping)
2007 White Jersey winner
Lance Armstrong Astana United States of America Seven time winner of the Tour de France. 38 years old.
Sylvain Chavanel Quick Step France Triple French champion
Cadel Evans Silence-Lotto Australia Second in 2007 and 2008
Roman Kreuziger Liquigas Czech Republic Time-trial specialist
Levi Leipheimer Astana United States of America

Former Discovery team-mate of Armstrong
Third in 2007 Tour de France
Bronze medal winner, Pekin Olympics

Denis Menchov Rabobank Russia Twice winner of the Spanish Vuelta, 2005 & 2007
Carlos Sastre Cervelo Test Team Spain 2008 Yellow Jersey winner
Third in 2006 Tour de France
Andy Schleck Team Saxo Bank Luxembourg Second in 2007 Italian Giro
12th/White Jersey winner in 2006 Tour de France
Christian Vande Velde Garmin-Slipstream United States of America Time-trial specialist

Contador is reckoned to be unbeatable, but with Lance Armstrong coming back, and strongly as usual, who knows. Watching the interplay of these fellow cyclists in the Astana team could be interesting.

Note also that Astana, who had been thrown out of the Tour for almost institutional drugging of its cyclists, is now rehabilitated and, after two years, has been allowed to again participate in the Tour.

last year (2008): the first ten riders

Pos. Name First name Team Nat. Time diff.
1 011 SASTRE Carlos CSC ESP 87h 52' 52"
2 001 EVANS Cadel SIL AUS 87h 53' 50" + 00' 58"
3 115 KOHL Bernhard GST AUT 87h 54' 05" + 01' 13"
4 131 MENCHOV Denis RAB RUS 87h 55' 02" + 02' 10"
5 091 VANDEVELDE Christian TSL USA 87h 55' 57" + 03' 05"
6 017 SCHLECK Frank CSC LUX 87h 57' 20" + 04' 28"
7 027 SANCHEZ Samuel ESC ESP 87h 59' 17" + 06' 25"
8 141 KIRCHEN Kim COL UKR 87h 59' 47" + 06' 55"
9 031 VALVERDE Alejandro GCE ESP 88h 00' 04" + 07' 12"
10 102 VALJAVEC Tadej ALM RUS 88h 01' 57" + 09' 05"
Overall winner SASTRE Carlos 011 CSC ESP 87h 52' 52" (Yellow Jersey)
By points FREIRE Oscar 133 RAB ESP 270 pts (Green Jersey)
Climber KOHL Bernhard 115 GST AUS 128 pts (Polka dot Jersey)
Under 25 SCHLECK Andy 016 CSC LUX 88h 04' 24" (White Jersey)
Combativity CHAVANEL Sylvain 181 COF FRA  
Team winner TEAM CSC SAXO BANK DEN 263h 29' 57"



new! Cathedrale Saint-Gatien at Tours  Cathedrale Saint-Gatien at Tours

Romanesque churches and cathedrals in south-west France updated: Romanesque churches and cathedrals in south-west France

 the perpendicular or English style of cathedral  Manchester cathedral

the fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris
the fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris
cathedral giants - Amiens and Beauvais

Stone tracery in church and cathedral construction illustrated
stone in church and cathedral construction

stained glass and cathedrals in Normandy illustrated graph

fortified churches, mostly in Les Landes

cathedral labyrinths and mazes in France
using metal in gothic cathedral construction

Germans in France
cathedral destruction during the French revolution, subsidiary page to Germans in France

Click for an introduction to cathedrals and stained glass in France.

on first arriving in France - driving
France is not England
paying at the péage (toll station)

Click for motorways and motorway aires in France.

Transbordeur bridges in France and the world 2: focus on Portugalete, Chicago, Rochefort-Martrou
Gustave Eiffel’s first work: the Eiffel passerelle, Bordeaux
a fifth bridge coming to Bordeaux: pont Chaban-Delmas, a new vertical lift bridge

France’s western isles: Ile de Ré
France’s western iles: Ile d’Oleron

Ile de France, Paris: in the context of Abelard and of French cathedrals
short biography of Pierre (Peter) Abelard

Marianne - a French national symbol, with French definitive stamps

la Belle Epoque
Grand Palais, Paris

Click to go to pages about Art Deco at abelard.org

Click to go to 'the highest, longest: the viaduct de Millau'

Pic du Midi - observing stars clearly, A64
Carcassonne, A61: world heritage fortified city

Space City, Toulouse

the French umbrella & Aurillac

50 years old: Citroën DS
the Citroën 2CV: a French motoring icon

the forest as seen by Francois Mauriac, and today
Les Landes, places and playtime
roundabout art of Les Landes

Hermès scarves

Hèrmes logo

bastide towns
mardi gras! carnival in Basque country
country life in France: the poultry fair

what a hair cut! m & french pop/rock

Tour de France 2021

Le Tour de France: cycling tactics illustrated

New translation, the Magna Carta

mark cavendish - another cipollini?

Another cyclist to watch, we at least while he’s still in the race, is the Briton, Mark Cavendish [Team Columbia-High Road], who a rather less blatant version of the Italian cyclist, Cipollini. He appears to be taking up Cipollini’s style of racing. Going extremely fast in the first few stages on the flat, winning stages and the yellow jersey perhaps, the fading and dropping out of the race as soon as it hits the steep mountain stages.

In the Italian Giro, Cavendish won the Team Time Trial and three stages, before abandoning after his stage 13 win. He had braved three mountain stages, but was faced with five more in seven days. He is still young at just 24 years old, and it usually takes longer than that for a cyclist to reach his full strength, 24 is a bit early for a cyclist to come to his peak power.

Marker at abelard.orgMarker at abelard.orgMarker at abelard.org

looking forward to this year’s greatest show on earth

The Great Departure of the Tour 2009 will be from the Principality of Monaco.

By spreading the mountain stages over two weeks, the Tour organisers will ensure that the public watch a battle until the penultimate stage. From the arrival in the Andorran ski resort of Arcalis, on the 11th July, until the ascent of the fearsome Mont Ventoux on the eve of the arrival in Paris, the Yellow Jersey could change shoulders many times.

To give opportunities for more competitors, the format for the against-the-clock stages has been reworked. The 55 kilometres total for the individual time-trials will be one of the shortest since its systematic introduction in 1947. The Tour 2009 will also mark the return of the team time-trial, for the first time since 2005.

A spectacular moving showcase, the Tour races through the great range of landscapes, monuments and architecture of France. This year, the theme of the sea occupies a central place, with the visit of three great beacons of the Mediterranean: Monaco, Marseille and Barcelona. The Tour’s route then takes the peleton into the Pyrenees, through the centre of France, then east to the Vosges and the Alps, before going north from Mont Ventoux in Provence.

Never before in the history of the race has there been a mountain stage on the eve of the final day and the arrival at Paris.But this will be the case with the 20th stage finish at the summit of Ventoux.

After the Grand Départ in Monaco, the Tour will go to France, Spain, Andorra and Switzerland, with a little detour into Italy, thus visiting six countries. (The record number of countries visited was in 1992, with seven countries.)

This year’s prize money will total 3.2 million euros, with 450,000 euros going to the winner of the Yellow Jersey.

Remember the dates, 4th to 26th July, and the map below when planning any visit to France later this year!

Map of the stages for the 2009 tTour de France

this year’s stages

There will be 21 stages, of which seven are mountain stages [Alps 4, Pyrenees 3], one medium mountain stage, one team against-the-clock and two are individual against-the-clock [contre-le-montre] time trials. There are 2 rest days. All other days are ‘on the plain’ - relatively flat days, almost touring through France. The total distance ridden will be about 3,500 kilometres, or roughly 2,175 miles.

1 Monaco > Monaco
4 July [ 15 km]
individual time-trial
12 Tonnerre > Vittel
16 July [200 km]
2 Monaco > Brignoles
5 July [182 km]
13 Vittel > Colmar
17 July [200 km]
3 Marseille > La Grande-Motte
6 July [196 km]
14 Colmar > Besançon
18 July [199 km]

Montpellier > Montpellier
7 July [38 km]
team time-trial

15 Pontarlier > Verbier
19 July [207 km]
5 Le Cap d’Agde > Perpignan
8 July [197 km]
R 20 July - rest day
6 Gérone > Barcelona
9 July [175 km]
16 Martigny > Bourg-Saint-Maurice
21 July [160 km]
7 Barcelona> Andorra Arcalis
10 July [224 km]
17 Bourg-Saint-Maurice > Le Grand-Bornand
22 July [169 km]
8 Andorra-la-Vieille > Saint-Girons
11 July [176 km]
18 Annecy > Annecy
23 July [40 km]
individual time-trial
9 Saint-Gaudens > Tarbes
12 July [160 km]
19 Bourgoin-Jallieu > Aubenas
24 July [195 km]
R 13 July - rest day
20 Montélimar > Mont Ventoux
25 July [163 km]
10 Limoges > Issoudun
14 July [193 km]
21 Étampes/Paris Champs-Élysées
26 July [143 km]
11 Vatan > Saint-Fargeau
15 July [192 km]
Detailed itineraries for the 2009 Tour de France stages


Marker at abelard.org



tour review, 17th july

Not the most exciting Tour so far. While the circus proceeds with its usual carnival and hilarity, some fool has decided to put innovation for innovation’s sake and pandering to sponsors above the excitement and gladiatorial aspects. Doubtless, they believe this will keep the attention until the end of the Tour, an attitude that demonstrates very poor understanding of the nature of cycling and, in particular, the Tour de France.

It is clear that they are attempting to make all stages, until near the end in the Alps, as boring as possible. Yes, we have one or two good climbs in the Pyrenees, pretty well ruined by long run ins at the end of the stage, thus allowing large numbers of those defeated by the mountains to close in on the heroes who work so hard to touch the heavens.

Despite this, quality will still out, with Cantador and Armstrong leading and the wild card Nocentini holding the Yellow jersey for several days. He is very likely to be blown away in the next day or two as, at last, we come to the serious stages in the Alps.

Meanwhile, Mark Cavendish, who appears to have been supplied with an extra pair of rocket boosters, has won four stages and the Green Jersey, but only for a day - today’s hills allowed his rival to regain the Green Jersey. Cavendish is the best stage sprinter the UK has ever produced, a full notch above all his competition. In the Green Jersey competition, it is between Cavendish and Thor Hushovd, who has now jumped ahead by five points. Hushovd is the better climber, whereas Cavendish is the world dominant sprinter.We had a hilly day today, so Hushovd has leapfrogged Cavendish again.

Leipheimer, one of Astana’s heroes has dropped out with a broken hand, allowing another Brit, Bradley Wiggins, to move up to fourth position overall. Perhaps not quite the way he would hope to advance, but another sign that some British riders are now becoming serious contenders at the levels of the greatest cycle marathons.

A brilliant solo ride, made by the up and coming German-Australian Heinreich Haussler, brightened another otherwise dull and wet day. He is unusual in that he lives within thirty kilometres of Colmar at the end of today’s stage, and so knows the area well. Haussler also claims to love the soaking conditions of today’s ride. Perhaps he has to, as this hilly area can be subject to sudden, incredible downpours. (Colmar in the hilly areas of eastern France.)


Just to make sure that ‘innovation’ trumps the heart of the Tour, two days have been set aside for riding without radios. This introduces a host of foolishnesses - get a puncture and you must wait by the roadside until the support cars find you; depend on chalk boards on motor cycles, rather than effective information from the radios and satellites... Why not have a day riding one-wheeled bikes, or nineteenth-century wooden frames, if the bureaucrats really want to prove their ‘originality’? After all, the Tour is about them, not about cycling. Naturally, the cyclists are responding with go-slows on the days of the great experiment. Bring back Jean Marie Leblanc! No doubt Christian Prudhomme wants to put his mark on the Tour, but it’s a very dull mark. This is one of the basic errors of marketing, only an idiot tries to change a good and successful product. Perhaps Prudhomme will be welcome at Coca Cola?

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