By Jean-François Quénet in Varese, Italy
Before the announcement of the whole route of the 2009 Tour de France on October 22 in Paris, it became known that the Mont Ventoux will be back on the course after seven years of absence. The information was broken by Claude Haut, the president of the Vaucluse province.
The big news is about the day that the riders will have to climb the "Giant of Provence" – it will be on the second last day of the race, in July 25, prior to transferring to Paris for the traditional parade on the Champs-Élysées. Contrary to previous rumours, it will not be an uphill time trial but a normal stage starting in Montélimar. It means the course will go via Bédoin for the 21.6km grueling climb.
This is a typical choice by race director Christian Prudhomme who wants the suspense to be carried until the very end, but it was made before Lance Armstrong’s come back announcement. During his years racing the Tour de France and the Dauphiné, the Texan never liked the Mont Ventoux and never won up there. Together with Joux-Plane, he rated this climb as the one that made him suffer the most.