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Tour de France 2009

Date range:
July 4-26, 2009
  • Tour de France, France, GT
  • Stages Expand the race menu
    • Stage 1

      Distance:
      15.5km
      Start location:
      Monaco
      End location:
      Monaco (ITT)
    • Stage 2

      Distance:
      187km
      Start location:
      Monaco
      End location:
      Brignoles
    • Stage 3

      Distance:
      196.5km
      Start location:
      Marseille
      End location:
      La Grande-Motte
    • Stage 4

      Distance:
      39km
      Start location:
      Montpellier
      End location:
      Montpellier (TTT)
    • Stage 5

      Distance:
      196.5km
      Start location:
      Le Cap d'Agde
      End location:
      Perpignan
    • Stage 6

      Distance:
      181.5km
      Start location:
      Gérone
      End location:
      Barcelone
    • Stage 7

      Distance:
      224km
      Start location:
      Barcelone
      End location:
      Andorre Arcalis
    • Stage 8

      Distance:
      176.5km
      Start location:
      Andorre-la-Vieille
      End location:
      Saint-Girons
    • Stage 9

      Distance:
      160.5km
      Start location:
      Saint-Gaudens
      End location:
      Tarbes
    • Rest day

      Location
      Limoges
    • Stage 10

      Distance:
      194.5km
      Start location:
      Limoges
      End location:
      Issoudun
    • Stage 11

      Distance:
      192km
      Start location:
      Vatan
      End location:
      Saint-Fargeau
    • Stage 12

      Distance:
      211.5km
      Start location:
      Tonnerre
      End location:
      Vittel
    • Stage 13

      Distance:
      200km
      Start location:
      Vittel
      End location:
      Colmar
    • Stage 14

      Distance:
      199km
      Start location:
      Colmar
      End location:
      Besançon
    • Stage 15

      Distance:
      207.5km
      Start location:
      Pontarlier
      End location:
      Verbier
    • Rest day

      Location
      Verbier
    • Stage 16

      Distance:
      159km
      Start location:
      Martigny
      End location:
      Bourg-Saint-Maurice
    • Stage 17

      Distance:
      169.5km
      Start location:
      Bourg-Saint-Maurice
      End location:
      Le Grand-Bornand
    • Stage 18

      Distance:
      40.5km
      Start location:
      Annecy
      End location:
      Annecy (ITT)
    • Stage 19

      Distance:
      178km
      Start location:
      Bourgoin-Jallieu
      End location:
      Aubenas
    • Stage 20

      Distance:
      167km
      Start location:
      Montélimar
      End location:
      Mont Ventoux
    • Stage 21

      Distance:
      164km
      Start location:
      Montereau-Fault-Yonne
      End location:
      Paris Champs-Élysées
  • Race history

July 06, Stage 3: Marseille - La Grande-Motte 196.5km

By:
Daniel Simms
Published:
June 30, 2009, 10:31 BST,
Updated:
July 21, 2009, 14:16 BST

Drama expected on way to bunch finish

A salty sea air stage from the Old Port in Marseille across the plains of the Camargue to the heart of "French Florida", La Grande-Motte. The wind should play an essential role in the crossing of protected nature reserve of Camargue - a marshland with pink flamingos and wild horses. The leaders should be on their guard as not only a sea breeze could disturb their ride, but also the dreaded Mistral gale from the North could make for dangerous echelons in the peloton.

The regional capital of Marseille was on the first Tour de France programme in 1903 as the finish line of the 374 km stage that left Lyon. In a much more agreeable format, the Tour's last visit to the Phocean city, in 2007, gave Cédric Vasseur a chance to stand out in the final Tour de France of his career. Today, the flat terrain of the Camargue will surely see a sprinter raise his arms in La Grande-Motte.

Vaughters' views

Jonathan VaughtersThis day is going to be harder to predict, as I’d need to be a very keen weatherman to be able to do it. This area of France is famous for “La Mistral”, which are very strong winds. If it’s blowing in the right direction, this could be a key stage to the whole Tour.

Some teams will be up front, others will be caught out. It's usually impossible to bring back a split on strong crosswinds if the riders up front are strong and feel the death rattle of a few GC contenders behind.

The winner? Hard to say, but perhaps a sprint/drag race between strong men like Cancellara and Thor Hushovd.