A guide to the Tour de France
A stage by stage guide to the Tour de France 2018.
Saturday 7th July 2018
Profile of Stage 1, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
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.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Marcel Kittel
Read about Stage 1, Tour de France 2018.
Sunday 8th July 2018
Profile of Stage 2, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
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.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Fernando Gaviria
Read about Stage 2, Tour de France 2018.
Monday 9th July 2018
Profile of Stage 3, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Stage 3 is a 35.5-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.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: BMC Racing
Read about Stage 3, Tour de France 2018.
Tuesday 10th July 2018
Profile of Stage 4, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Stage 4 starts from La Baule and heads east north east via Pontchâteau, Blain, and Nozay. The intermediate sprint is at Derval, then it's west to Redon, where the race enters the modern region of Brittany. The day's one climb, the Cote de Saint-Jean-de-la-Poterie (Category 4) comes as the riders leave Redong. Stage 4 continues west via Limerzel and Muzillac, back towards the coast for a finish at Sarzeau. UCI President David Lappartient is also Mayor Sarzeau, which explains the choice of finish town. There's a 4-km straight line to the finish.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Mark Cavendish
Read about Stage 4, Tour de France 2018.
Wednesday 11th July 2018
Profile of Stage 5, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Stage 5 is 204.5km 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.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Peter Sagan
Read about Stage 5, Tour de France 2018.
Thursday 12th July 2018
Profile of Stage 6, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
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 Côte de Mûr-de-Bretagne (2km at 6.9%). At the top of the ascent the second time, comes the finish line.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Alexis Vuillermoz
Read about Stage 6, Tour de France 2018.
Friday 13th July 2018
Profile of Stage 7, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
At 231km, Stage 7 is the longest of any stage in the 2018 race. It is from Fougères to Chartres, with Alençon at about the half-way point. This Friday 13th could be unlucky for TV commentators. The big question is whether they will find enough to talk about. On ITV4, Ned Boulting has already prepared a question to David Millar about the length and colour of socks he wore when racing, and how cycling socks have evolved in the centuries since. They've sent an invitation to Robbie McEwen to come in and fill some time with an anecdote about when he won a sprint in Chartres in 2004 to take sixth place.
But back to the race (a phrase we can expect to hear once or twice on 13th July)! The wind could play a role in the last 40km, but the finish should be a bunch sprint.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Sonny Colbrelli
Read about Stage 7, Tour de France 2018.
Saturday 14th July 2018 (Bastille Day)
Profile of Stage 8, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Stage 8 is 181km from Dreux to Amiens Métropole. Will Tom Dumoulin be complaining that it is 'a very boring stage' and doing theatrical yawns to the cameras? Perhaps. 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?
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Arnaud Démare
Read about Stage 8, Tour de France 2018.
Sunday 15th July 2018
Profile of Stage 9, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Stage 9 is 156.5km 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. I'm telling you something you already know now, but not everybody can be at the front. A rest day follows Stage 9.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Greg van Avermaet
Read about Stage 9, Tour de France 2018.
Lake Annecy, by Hedgehog Cycling
Tuesday 17th July 2018
Profile of Stage 10, Tour de France 2018, ©ASO/Tour de France organisers
Stage 10 is 158.5km from Annecy to le Grand Bornand. It begins with an easy warm-up along the shores of the Lac d'Annecy, surely France's most beautiful lake. After that, it's all up and down - the route includes climbs of the Col de Bluffy, Col de la Croix Fry, 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, and the women's event, La Course by Le Tour de France, covers much of the men's Stage 10 route.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Romain Bardet
Read about Stage 10, Tour de France 2018.
Wednesday 18th July 2018
Profile of Stage 11, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Stage 11 is 108.5km 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. The final climb features changes in gradient, which could favour attacks.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Nairo Quintana
Read about Stage 11, Tour de France 2018.
Thursday 19th July 2018
Profile of Stage 12, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Stage 12 is 175.5km 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 a mountain classic to round off the Tour's stay in the Alps for another year.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Adam Yates
Read about Stage 12, Tour de France 2018.
Friday 20th July 2018
Profile of Stage 13, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Stage 13 is 169.5km from Bourg-d'Oisans to Valence. It passes through Vizille, with the first climb (Category 3) coming immediately after the town. The riders make their way to Grenoble, then follow the river Isère, with the Vercors mountains to their left. The second climb (Category 4) is just after the picturesque Pont-en-Royans. The climbs won't be enough to shake off any sprinters. If there's a breakaway, it's likely to be caught on the run west to Valence on the river Rhône. A bunch sprint in front of the Stade Pompidou is highly likely.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: André Greipel
Read about Stage 13, Tour de France 2018.
Saturday 21st July 2018
Profile of Stage 14, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Stage 14 is 188km 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 hills. The tough climbs there include the Col de la Croix de Berthel. The route reaches a peak of 1,246m, then the riders descend to Mende. After skirting Mende, they embark on a steep climb (Côte de la Croix Neuve) to the Mende-Brenoux aerodrome. After the summit, there's 1.5km of flat to the finish line.
La Croix Neuve 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. Unfortunately, the Merseyside rider hasn't been selected for the 2018 Tour de France, so I'm backing another talented Dimension Data team member to triumph.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Serge Pauwels
Read about Stage 14, Tour de France 2018.
Sunday 22nd July 2018
Profile of Stage 15, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Stage 15 is 181.5km from Millau to Carcassonne. This hilly stage goes through the Aveyron and the Tarn départements, then climbs the Pic de Nore in the Montagne Noire. There's a descent of the south side of the Montagne Noire (into the Aude département), before a flat finish on boulevard Marcou in Carcassonne. It should suit Classics riders, or any sprinters who can avoid being dropped on the Montagne Noire (or who can catch up on the descent).
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Thomas de Gendt
Read about Stage 15, Tour de France 2018.
Tuesday 24th July 2018
Profile of Stage 16, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
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.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Warren Barguil
Read about Stage 16, Tour de France 2018.
Wednesday 25th July 2018
Profile of Stage 17, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
The route of Stage 17 is only 65km from Bagnères-de-Luchon to the Col de Portet (Commune de Saint-Lary-Soulan). There's an innovative Formula One grid start to this short, mountainous stage. 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. The stage winner also takes mountain points and €5,000 for the Souvenir Henri Desgrange.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Dan Martin
Read about Stage 17, Tour de France 2018.
Thursday 26th July 2018
Profile of Stage 18, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Stage 18 is 171km 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. Those riders who are stressed could dip into the spa waters at Eugénie-les-Bains, or sip a glass or Madiran red wine - reputed to lower blood pressure. Will Marcel Kittel reprise his 2017 triumph in Pau?
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Alexander Kristoff
Read about Stage 18, Tour de France 2018.
Friday 27th July 2018
Profile of Stage 19, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Stage 19 is 200.5km 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.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Adam Yates
Read about Stage 19, Tour de France 2018.
Saturday 28th July 2018
Profile of Stage 20, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
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.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Tom Dumoulin
Read about Stage 20, Tour de France 2018.
Sunday 29th July 2018
Profile of Stage 21, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
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.
Hedgehog pick to win the stage: Sonny Colbrelli
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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