Alberto Contador wins 96th Tour de France
The 2009 Tour de France was the 96th edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours.
It started on 4 July in the principality of Monaco with a 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) individual time trial which included a section of the Circuit de Monaco. The race visited six countries: Monaco, France, Spain, Andorra, Switzerland and Italy, and finished on 26 July on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
The total length was 3,445 kilometres (2,141 mi), including 93 kilometres (58 mi) in time-trials. There were seven mountain stages, three of which had mountaintop finishes, and one medium-mountain stage. The race had a team time trial for the first time since 2005, the shortest distance in individual time trials since 1967, and the first penultimate-day mountain stage in the Tour's history.
2007 winner Alberto Contador won the race by a margin of 4′11″, having won both a mountain and time trial stage. His Astana team also supplied the third-place finisher, Lance Armstrong, and took the team classification. Andy Schleck, second overall, won the young riders' competition as he had the previous year, and Franco Pellizotti took the polkadot jersey as the King of the Mountains. Mark Cavendish won six stages, including the final stage on the Champs-Élysées, but was beaten to the points classification by Thor Hushovd, who consequently won the green jersey.
The race started in Monaco with a 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) individual time trial, won by Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara, who retained the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification throughout the first week, which was dominated by stages suited primarily to sprinters, with Mark Cavendish establishing himself as the strongest finisher. The significant action of the first week in relation to the overall classification was restricted to a split in the field on stage 3, and a team time trial the following day.
The second weekend saw the Tour in the Pyrenees, and the first attack on the field by eventual winner Alberto Contador, while the leadership was taken over by Rinaldo Nocentini. Thor Hushovd showed an ability to take points in stages that did not include flat sprint finishes that would be key to the contest for the points classification, and the main contenders for the mountains classification emerged. The journey towards the Alps the following week had a second pair of successive stage wins for Cavendish and a series of wins from riders in breakaways that held no threat to the general classification. An infringement in the sprint finish to stage 14 saw Cavendish relegated in finishing position, and Hushovd gaining the upper hand in the points classification.
The first alpine stage was the occasion of Contador's assumption of the race leadership, and the emergence of Andy Schleck as the only rider likely to challenge him in the mountains, and as the top young rider, giving Schleck the right to wear the white jersey. Franco Pellizotti focussed on collecting points on the climbs early in stages to overhaul Egoi Martínez in the race for the mountains classification, without threatening the race leaders. By the end of the three stages in the Alps, and after Contador's victory in the final time trial, it was only the minor placings that were realistically under question in the last mountain stage, held for the first time on the penultimate day of the tour on Mont Ventoux. Lance Armstrong, the seven time winner of the race who had returned from retirement, finished that stage ahead of his rivals for third place on the podium to secure that position.
The UCI introduced a ban on radio communication between team management and riders on stage 10, but the riders responded with a conservative style of racing for most of the stage and the intended repetition of the experiment on stage 13 was abandoned.
At the victory ceremony, the national anthem of Denmark was mistakenly played instead of that of Spain. Contador described the incident as an "enormous blunder" at a post-Tour press conference in Madrid.