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Prudhomme presents 2010 Tour de France weighted with Pyrenean stages

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme presented the 2010 course today in Paris, France, to an audience that included past winners Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong. The three-week stage race, July 3 to 25, includes six mountain stages, four are Pyrenean stages in the final week.

"The Pyrénées will be crucial with three consecutive stages, and the last one only four days until the end of the Tour," said Prudhomme.

The 97th Tour de France starts in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and ends in Paris. It travels clockwise: south to Belgium, eastern France, the Alps and then west to the Pyrénées before Paris.

This year, the Alpine mountains were the final decisive stages. They come first next year, with stages to Morzine and Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. The race takes in four transitional stages before the final mountain stages. Pyrenean mountain stages to Ax-3 Domaines, Luchon, Pau and Col du Tourmalet come in the final week of racing.

The Col du Tourmalet comes only four days before the finish in Paris. The stage covers the Marie-Blanque and Soulor climbs before the Tourmalet mountaintop finish.

"This is only the second time only since 1974 that the race finishes on Tourmalet, when Jean-Pierre Danguillaume won," said Prudhomme.

There are two time trial stages. The race starts with a eight-kilometre prologue time trial stage in Rotterdam and ends with a 51-kilometre time trial to Pauillac on the penultimate day, stage 19.

The 21 days of racing, with rest days, total 3596 kilometres. The longest stage is stage seven, Montargis to Gueugnon, 225 kilometres.

Organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) held the presentation Palais des Congrès de Paris. The top three finishers of this year's race – Contador, Andy Schleck and Armstrong – and sprinter Mark Cavendish attended the presentation with other current and former professional cyclists.

Spaniard Contador won his second Tour de France this year by 4'11" over Schleck (Saxo Bank) and 5'24" over Astana teammate Armstrong.

Stage, Date, Cities, Distance
P, July 3, Rotterdam - Rotterdam, 8km
1, July 4, Rotterdam - Bruxelles, 224km
2, July 5, Bruxelles - Spa, 192km
3, July 6, Wanze - Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, 207km
4, July 7, Cambrai - Reims, 150km
5, July 8, Épernay - Montargis, 185km
6, July 9, Montargis - Gueugnon, 225km
7, July 10, Tournus - Station des Rousses, 161km
8, July 11, Station des Rousses - Morzine-Avoriaz, 189km
R, July 12, Morzine-Avoriaz
9, July 13, Morzine-Avoriaz - Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, 204km
10, July 14, Chambéry - Gap, 179km
11, July 15, Sisteron - Bourg-lès-Valence, 180km
12, July 16, Bourg-de-Péage - Mende, 210km
13, July 17, Rodez - Revel, 195km
14, July 18, Revel - Ax-3 Domaines, 184km
15, July 19, Pamiers - Bagnères-de-Luchon, 187km
16, July 20, Bagnères-de-Luchon - Pau, 196km
R, July 21, Pau
17, July 22, Pau - Col du Tourmalet, 174km
18, July 23, Salies-de-Béarn - Bordeaux, 190km
19, July 24, Bordeaux - Pauillac, 51km
20, July 25, Longjumeau - Paris Champs-Élysées, 105km

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