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Why does the tour de France visit other countries?

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Tour de France translates as "Tour of France" and, as such, you might think it only goes through one country - France.

However the route of the race changes regularly and over its history the course has visited Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, and even crossed the Channel to visit Ireland and Great Britain.

The 2009 race will start in Monaco, and also visit Spain, Andorra, Switzerland and Italy.

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