2009 Tour de France begins July 4

June 28, 2009

I was puttering around Boston recently and for some reason I thought the Tour was beginning on July 7 this year. Not wanting to leave readers in the lurch, I decided to take a closer look and realized the race begins a week from yesterday.

The first stage is an individual Time Trial of 15KM. According to Bicycling.com, here’s the stage description…

The Tour hasn’t visited Monaco in 45 years–partly because the principality is so small that wrapping 15km of racing into its 2 square kilometers is a trick. But what Monaco lacks in size it makes up for in star power–something the race also possesses for its 96th edition. Three former Tour winners will line up at the start. Look for the GC favorites to come out hard; Armstrong in particular has to send a message about his form. With no time bonuses on offer again this year, breakaway artists like Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) will be motivated to turn in good times to position themselves for an early yellow jersey via a breakaway in the coming stages. *Only stages 8km or shorter are considered prologues, which is why this year’s race begins with Stage 1.

That whole prologue thing is interesting to me, but aside from meaning the Tour has one fewer stage this year (meaning a real 21 instead of 21 and a prologue) there are still thousands of KMs to ride for the 189 riders in the tour.

Next post we’ll examine some of the teams and favorites. Share your predictions for the race right here in the comments.