The latest speculation about the 2009 Tour de France route comes from French newspaper La Provence. In its Thursday, September 18 edition, the paper claims that next year's Grande Boucle will include the famous Mont Ventoux.
"It is probable and it would be a time trial," reportedly said local politician Jean-Michel Ferrand. Indeed, Tour organiser ASO has a contract with the General Council of the region Provence to hold one passage of one of its races through the region each year. ASO event Paris-Nice regularly has one of its stages climbing the Ventoux, as it was done this spring to the Mont Serein ski station. But the mountain was last raced in the Grand Tour in 2002, which makes an inclusion in of the next French Grand Tours likely.
Next year, the Tour de France will start in Monaco, so much is already official. From there, it will probably wind its way through the South of France westwards, visiting Spain's Barcelona before or after tackling the Pyrenees. Still, La Provence speculates that a time trial up the mythical 'bald mountain' would not come during the first week - even if the route could allow it - but on the penultimate day of the race, as a location for the final time trial before Paris on Saturday, July 25. Wine village Rasteau would host the start for a 21.5km stage via Bedoin.
Other stage host towns are rumoured to be Pinerolo on the outskirts of Torino, Italy, Sisteron, Aubenas, La Grande-Motte, Montpellier, Sète (for a possible first time trial) and Andorra.
ASO will announce the parcours in late October.