If you haven’t yet seen the stage profile for the London prologue of this year’s Tour de France, it’s worth taking a peek:

From the Tour’s website, we have this verbal description of the route:

On Saturday 7th July 2007, starting on Whitehall, in front of Trafalgar Square, the riders will race past Downing Street towards Parliament Square on an 8 km course.

Turning at the Houses of Parliament, the route goes along Victoria Street, past Westminster Abbey and in front of Buckingham Palace.

After the Palace the riders will pass through the middle of Wellington Arch, before looping through London’s most famous park, Hyde Park.

Finally the riders will pass back around Hyde Park Corner and along Constitution Hill, before ending on The Mall with Buckingham Palace as a backdrop.

The route designers have cleverly structured the prologue to pass by several of London’s big tourist attractions, which are listed above. Will the Queen be watching from a Buckingham Palace window or balcony? One can only hope. But even though London is likely to be crowded beyond belief on July 7th, I think it’d be a great time to be in the city. Spend a few days there, take in the sights, and then watch some of the world’s best cyclists race around one of the world’s great cities.

If you’ll be in London for the Tour start – or for anything else, really – be sure to check out the London Travel Guide.