Saturday, 4 July 2009

Liberté, Fraternité, Echappée*

The news this morning that the Statue of Liberty will mark Independence Day with public being allowed to the crown from the first time since 9/11 is good news. It also coincides with the start of Le Grande Slog across France, Spain, Andorra, Switzerland and Italy towards her sister who sits on another Isle in the capital of the country of her birth. The full route is shown visually below.

On the 40th Anniversary of the moon landings is suitable marked with the penultimate stage up through the lunar landscape to the peak of Mont Ventoux, though it is 4 days late on the 25th to be a really fitting tribute for the day that there was 'one small step'.

Today however many Formula One fans will recognise parts of the course for the opening individual time trial of the 2009 Tour. Indeed the finish line is more used to the checkered flag than the kite marking Arrivée, and the Flamme Rouge marking a kilometre to go is in a very famous tunnel. They even race past the Casino though not through the iconic square. The pit lane instead of having mechanics working on cars will have mechanics doing last minute tweaks to machines about to ride up the the depart hut for 15.5km course that will take them up the steep climb of Moyenne Corniche to the high point a Category 4 climb of Côte de Beausoliel 2o5m up.

For the Grand Départ is taking place in the streets of Monaco some of it very familiar to speed fans of the four wheeled variety. See below for a full look at today's course.

*Translation of Title: Liberty, Brotherhood and Breakaway Group.

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