Tour-de-Google Earth?

This year's Tour-de-France is already underway, and now you can get a taste for what awaits the 199 riders with Google Earth's 3D map of the course.

With every stage, hill and bump mapped out in exquisite detail the only thing missing from the tiltable, scrollable and zoomable map is the riders themselves. Simply install the KML file (Google Earth's geographic markup language) and you can follow the race for yourself, on your PC.

This addition, via the official Tour-de-France website, is just another example of how Google's heavy web-presence is oozing its way into a major sporting event. Not only is it a great way of giving Tour-fanatics an accurate representation of their idols' fate, it's a great mainstream advert for the Google empire and its array of toys.

You can now download a variety of KML files from the Google Earth homepage, including commercially-driven top 500 hotel lists, Discovery Channel-endorsed national park lists and of course the giant Maxim poster erected to get the lads mag onto Google Earth.

With such a powerful tool now available for free, everyone can now shout "hey there's my house!" - even Mac and Linux users.

View: Tour-de-France on Google Earth
Download: Google Earth

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