What could be better - a start in Switzerland, through Italy, down into Bourg St Maurice, via the Grand and Petit St Bernard passes, before a final climb up to Arc 1800.
Except the decision was taken for the riders to finish down in the valley in Bourg St Maurice - so that the suspense could continue right until the final Saturday and the climb of Mont Ventoux. Here's the Wikipedia account of the 2009 Tour.
In the event, the Ventoux stage proved to be a bit of a let-down, and the stage to Bourg is little remembered. Or at least remembered for the wrong things. The winner of the stage, Miguel Astarloza, later tested positive for drugs, and the stage was awarded to Sandy Casar.
Here are the riders on the descent to Bourg St Maurice.
The finish line was in the road leading from the SNCF roundabout to the Funiculaire:
The following day the riders left from Bourg St Maurice. Here they are on the very lower slopes of the Cormet du Roseland.
Lance Armstrong and co stayed - of course - in Arc 1950. The Euskatel Euskadi team, on the other hand, stayed in the more modest environs of Arc 1800. As did The Tour Doctor:
More on cycling in Les Arcs this summer here. If you think the 1st category climb from Bourg St Maurice is too easy, go down to Landry, take the (much harder) climb to Peisey and up to Arc 1800 on the summer road, and then continue to Arc 2000. The final climb from the Comborciere lift at 1800m to Arc 2000 (actually at 2100m) is a tough one....