2010 Tour de France to Celebrate Pyrenees Centenary
The Pyrenees, crossed by Tour de France riders for the first time 100 years ago, will take center stage in next year's route, which will be officially unveiled tomorrow.
The Pyrenees, crossed by Tour de France riders for the first time 100 years ago, will take center stage in next year's route, which will be officially unveiled on Wednesday.
"It is no secret that the Tour de France will celebrate the Pyrenees 100 years after the riders climbed their mountain passes for the first time," Tour director Christian Prudhomme told Reuters ahead of the 2010 race presentation in Paris.
"I tried to build a route that is balanced, never boring and remains exciting until the end."
Four stages and a rest day will belong to the Pyrenees, where Belgian great Eddy Merckx destroyed the field in 1969 for the first of his five Tour victories, sources told Reuters.
Riders will also tackle the Col d'Aubisque and intimidating Col du Tourmalet, which Merckx rode through on his way to winning the 17th stage by almost eight minutes that year.
Merckx, who will turn 65 two weeks before the Grand Depart in Rotterdam with a time trial, is widely expected to attend the second stage to Brussels before the race goes to northern France.
The caravan will then head to the Champagne region before one stage in the Jura mountains, just before entering the Alps.
Briton Mark Cavendish is expected to collect a few more Tour stages en route to the Pyrenees, but the green jersey will be his for the first time only if he manages to bear the pain through the Pyrenees.
The crossing of the mountain range could be devastating for the pack but champion Alberto Contador, arguably the world's best climber, will not be complaining.
One of the stages in the Pyrenees should go through the demanding Cols de Peyresourde, Aspin, Aubisque and Tourmalet.
Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong, who suffered in the mountains this year, will have to rediscover his best form if he is to stay on the Spaniard's wheel.
Contador, Armstrong, Cavendish and Luxembourg's Andy Schleck will be among those attending Wednesday's ceremony at the Palais des Congres in Paris, France.
Give us your 2010 Tour de France route thoughts and comments in our Roadcycling.com forums today.