Stage 1 :: Saturday July 4, 2009
15.5km :: Monaco
Well, that time is upon us, the first Stage Preview of the 2009 edition of Le Tour de France. We begin the July festivities in the Principality of Monaco, one of the few remaining City States left on the earth (can you name the others?) Monaco is the home of such natives as Boris Becker and Michael Rassmussen, bet you didn't know they were from Monaco!
Let's have a look at where we're goin and what we're gonna do...
Watch carefully now as I lean fully on Gavia for support.
The 2009 Tour begins in the principality of Monaco with a time trial. The course climbs into the foothills of the Alpes Maritimes just outside the city before descending to a flat finish between high-rise hotels and the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean. At 15.5 kilometers, the stage is too long to be a prologue, and will offer an early indication of who has brought race-winning legs to this year’s Tour de France. The course includes one category 4 climb, the Côte de Beausoleil, literally “beautiful sun,” which reaches a maximum elevation of 205 meters. The second half of the course descends to a flat finish along the beach on the Boulevard Louis II near Port Hercule.
Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 1 Preview at Steephill.tv
On with the pictorials... We start on the sunny coast of Monaco, that little sliver of tax haven on the shores of the Mediterranean. We also end there. In fact, we end basically on the southern leg of the same road as the start ramp.
Here we see the course from the southerly end, looking up.
Looking down the course from the north.
They ride around that little spit of yellow at the bottom and then head up the MASSIVE incline to the Cat.4 rated climb.
Wow... a whole 205m climb up to Beausoleil. Whew. I know, I scoff... I've still got Giro on the mind though. Add a few dozen more of those little 205m climbs in there and you'd have a nice Italian stage!
Back on down to the next little hairpin...
And then following the course of the Monaco Grand Prix...
Through the tunnel that goes under some fancy lookin' pools
... and ending right there where it started. 15.5km later.
That's all there is to it... Le Tour de France 2009 is now officially underway!