Held since 1977 this will be the 36th edition. Some riders have traditionally used this race as final prep for the Tour and no doubt some will do this week, however this race mostly features domestic pro's and and pro-continental teams which makes this far more than just a dull training race and should lead to some exciting racing, especially come the mountainous stage 3 as this will be one of the biggest races of the year for many of these teams and riders.
Previous winners in history include names like Francesco Moser and Stephen Roche and more recently the likes of Levi Leipheimer, Thomas Voeckler, Daniel Martin, David Moncoutié and Vasili Kiryienka so this years winner will be in good company.
The race takes place in southern France around the Pyrenees mountain range. Though only stage 3 features high mountains, including the infamous Col du Tourmalet, the rest of the race is certainly not flat. Right from the off the course is undulating and lumpy and all four stages feature at least 2 categorised climbs. Anybody thinking they will get an easy ride here is mistaken.