Internet supremo Google has today announced the release of a new feature on its Google Maps which allows you to view street-level imagery of the route of the 2008 Tour de France, which starts tomorrow.
Each of the 21 stages are be clearly marked on the map, taking you on a journey of more than 3,500 km (2,200 miles), from the coast of Brittany, around the 21 hairpin bends of the notoriously steep Alpe d'Huez to the finishing line on the cobbled streets of the Champs Elysees.
Street View is a feature of Google Maps that enables users to view and navigate within 360 degree street-level imagery - think of it as a riders' eye view of the route. The detail is fascinating, you can zoom in and out of images and rotate them, as if turning your head, to see each side of the street. It appears as though one image has been taken every 5-10 metres.
The map is available at www.google.co.uk/tourdefrance2008.
Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France said "This is a new way for Tour de France fans to immerse themselves in the race, discovering the podiums where the winners will stand, or finding a city or route where the peloton will pass."
"I am sure the Tour's audience will make use of this surprising feature. I am very proud that, like the Tour de France, Google Maps is helping to give visibility to the regions of France."
Learn how to use Street View here: http://maps.google.fr/help/maps/streetview/
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