A guide to the Tour de France
A stage by stage guide to the Tour de France 2018.
Saturday 7th July 2018
The 2018 Grand Départ will take place in the Vendée in western France.
Stage 1 begins in Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile, on the Ile de Noirmoutier, and the race rejoins the mainland via the Pont de Noirmoutier. This first stage of the 2018 Tour de France then heads south along the Vendée coast, via les Sables-d'Olonne, before turning inland for a finish at Fontenay-le-Comte. This looks like a classic sprint stage, albeit one that could be affected by crosswinds.
There will be time bonuses for the first three finishers, so Stage 1 is an opportunity for the day's winner to take the yellow jersey.
Read about Stage 1, Tour de France 2018.
Sunday 8th July 2018
Stage 2 starts in Mouilleron-Saint-Germain, and is an
anti-clockwise route through the Vendée (from 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock)
via Pouzauges, Montaigu, and Aizenay to la Roche-sur-Yon. This is a day
out in rolling countryside of fields and thick hedges, known as the bocage vendéen.
It's a racing certainty that there'll be a bunch sprint to decide the
winner. The yellow jersey could change hands.
Read about Stage 2, Tour de France 2018.
Stage 3 on Monday 9th July 2018 is a 35-km team time trial in the Maine-et-Loire département. The route starts and finishes in the centres of Cholet. The race organisers say there are several changes of rhythm over the route, and three climbs, which should ensure a challenging ride.
Read about Stage 3, Tour de France 2018.
Stage 4 on Tuesday 10th July 2018 starts from La Baule and heads east north east via Pontchâteau, Blain, and Nozay towards Brittany. The border with Brittany marks the end of the Grand Départ. The Stage 4 route continues through Brittany, and veers west back towards the coast for a finish at Sarzeau.
Read about Stage 4, Tour de France 2018.
Stage 5 is 203km from Lorient via Concarneau to Quimper. The first part of the route takes the riders north west, by or near the coast to Concarneau. The second half of the stage is inland into the Black Mountains, and involves five categorised côtes. In particular, the ascent of Menez Quelerc'h could split the field. This terrain resembles that of a Belgian Classic race. There's a short, sharp uphill section just before the finish in Quimper.
Read about Stage 5, Tour de France 2018.
The route of Stage 6 is 181km from Brest to Mûr de Bretagne Guerlédan. The route takes in the Roc de Trévézel climb in the Monts d'Arrée hills, then passes via Huelgoat and Carhaix-Plouguer on the way to Mûr de Bretagne. Here, there's a 16km finishing circuit, involving two ascents of the Cote de Mûr de Bretagne (2km at 6.9%). At the top of the ascent the second time, comes the finish line.
Read about Stage 6, Tour de France 2018.
Friday 13th July 2018
The route of Stage 7 is 231km (the longest distance of any stage in the 2018 race) from Fougères to Chartres. Alençon is likely to be on the route, at about the half-way point. The wind could play a role in the last 40km, but the finish should be a bunch sprint.
Read about Stage 7, Tour de France 2018.
The route of Stage 8 is 181km from Dreux to Amiens Métropole. Winds could split the peloton in the closing kilometres, but it should come down to a bunch sprint in Amiens. A French rider will be keen to secure the victory on Bastille Day - maybe Arnaud Démare?
Read about Stage 8, Tour de France 2018.
The route of Stage 9 is 154km from Arras Citadelle to Roubaix. There are fifteen sections of cobbles, totalling 21.7km. It'll either be sunshine and dust or rain and mud. Either way, both GC contenders and Classics/cobbles specialists will want to be up at the front battling for the win. A rest day follows Stage 9.
Read about Stage 9, Tour de France 2018.
Lake Annecy, by Hedgehog Cycling
Tuesday 17th July 2018
The route of Stage 10 is 159km from Annecy to le Grand Bornand. It includes climbs of the Col de la Croix Fry, to the plateau des Glières (where there is a stretch of dirt road across the plateau), the Col de Romme, and the Col de la Colombière. The stage ends with a descent to le Grand Bornand.
The Etape du Tour will be on the route of Stage 10.
Read about Stage 10, Tour de France 2018.
The route of Stage 11 is 108km from Albertville to la Rosière Espace San Bernado. It takes in the Montée de Bisanne, the Col du Pré, the Cormet de Roselend, and the final climb to la Rosière. This mid-distance mountain stage is all climbing and descending, which should make for an intense and exciting race.
La Course, the women's event linked to the Tour de France, is being held over a 118km route which is largely the same as the men's Stage 11.
Read about Stage 11, Tour de France 2018.
The route of Stage 12 is 175km from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Alpe d'Huez. Climbs before the final ascent to Alpe d'Huez include Col de la Madeleine, the Lacets de Montvernier, and the Col de la Croix de Fer. This should be an Alpine classic to round off the Tour's stay in that mountain range for another year.
Read about Stage 12, Tour de France 2018.
The route of Stage 13 is 169km from Bourg-d'Oisans to Valence. It seems that the route will be north west to Grenoble, skirting the mountainous Vercors, then broadly following the river Isère south west to Valence on the river Rhône. After the Alps, this is a chance for the sprinters. Who knows which of the fast men will be on form, but the finish is certain to be fiercely contested.
Read about Stage 13, Tour de France 2018.
The route of Stage 14 is 187km from Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Mende. From the river Rhône, the peloton winds its way up the Ardèche gorges, then continues west into the Cévennes mountains. Towards the finish at the Mende-Brenoux aerodrome, there's a steep climb (Côte de la Croix Neuve) followed by 1km of flat. This finish is well-known to followers of the Tour de France. It may no longer be referred to as the Montée Laurent Jalabert, since doubt has been cast on the feats of many riders of his era. After a 2015 win, perhaps it should be known as Steve Cummings climb.
Read about Stage 14, Tour de France 2018.
The route of Stage 15 is 181km from Millau to Carcassonne. This hilly stage goes through the Aveyron, then climbs the Pic de Nore in the Montagne Noire. There's a descent of the south side of the Montagne Noire, before a flat finish in Carcassonne. It should suit Classics riders, or any sprinters who can avoid being dropped in the Montagne Noire (or who can catch up on the descent).
Read about Stage 15, Tour de France 2018.
Stage 16 is 218km from Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon. There's a long approach to the Pyrenean cols, which are packed into the final third of the parcours. The Col de Portet-d'Aspet is quickly followed by the Col de Menté. The race then dips into Catalonia, to climb the Col du Portillon from the east, and cross back into France for a downhill finish - 10km of descending to Bagnères-de-Luchon.
Read about Stage 16, Tour de France 2018.
The route of Stage 17 is only 65km from Bagnères-de-Luchon to the Col de Portet (Commune de Saint-Lary-Soulan). As well as the Col de Portet at the end, the riders must climb the Col de Peyresourde/Montée de Peyragudes and the Col de Val Louron-Azet. The course is all up or down, with hardly any flat, and the race organisers expect it to be dynamite.
Read about Stage 17, Tour de France 2018.
Stage 18 is 172km from Trie-sur-Baïse to Pau. It's a flat stage in the middle of the Tour's stay in the Pyrenees, so for the sprinters it represents an oasis in a desert. Will Marcel Kittel reprise his 2017 triumph in Pau?
Read about Stage 18, Tour de France 2018.
Stage 19 is 200km from Lourdes to Laruns. It includes several Pyrenean classics - the Col d'Aspin, the Col du Tourmalet, and the Col d'Aubisque. It's the last mountain stage, so for some climbers and GC contenders, attacking will be compulsory. There's nearly 20km of descent to the finish, and wet weather would make that part of the stage treacherous.
Read about Stage 19, Tour de France 2018.
Stage 20 is a 31-km individual time trial over a route between Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle and Espelette, in the Basque country. According to Romain Sicard, who took part in the official reconnaissance in October 2017, there's isn't a single metre of flat. The roads are sometimes narrow and winding, and there are sharp ascents, particularly to the Col de Pinodieta, as well as fast downhill sections. This ITT, which could spice up the general classification, finishes in Espelette, known for the production of red chili peppers.
Read about Stage 20, Tour de France 2018.
Stage 21 is the traditional final stage of the Tour de France, with the GC already settled, and a prestigious stage win on the Champs-Elysées at stake. The start is at Houilles. The riders head into Paris via the Bois de Boulogne, then tackle a finishing circuit, up the Champs-Elysées, round the Arc de Triomphe, and back down to the Louvre via place de l'Alma. There'll be a sprint, for the most coveted stage win of the race. Read about Stage 21, Tour de France 2018.
The 2019 Tour de France begins with a Grand Départ in the Belgian capital Brussels.
The 2017 Tour de France began with a Grand Départ in
Duesseldorf, Germany, and raced through the Jura, Burgundy, the
Dordogne, the Pyreneees, Provence, the Alps, and Marseille for a time
trial, before the traditional Paris finish. Read a stage by stage guide to the route of
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