A guide to the Tour de France

Tour de France knitted mini-jerseys

Tour de France 2018 route announcement

The outline of the route of the Tour de France 2018 was announced at a press conference at the Palais des Congrès in Paris today. Highlights include a double ascent of the Mur de Bretagne on Stage 6, a return to Alpe-d'Huez on Stage 12, and a short (65km), sharp Pyrenean Stage 17.

This video shows the route:

As was already known, the Grand Départ 2018 is in the Vendée, with Stage 1 starting on the Ile de Noirmoutier, and the race staying in the area for three and a half days. The rest of the route was revealed in Paris. These are the 21 stages of the 2018 edition of the race.

The stages of the 2018 Tour de France

Stage 1, Tour de France 2018: Ile de Noirmoutier to Fontenay-le-Comte


Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile, by Aoudot25, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The race begins with a 195-km stage from the Ile de Noirmoutier, along the coast, then inland to Fontenay-le-Comte. The race could be affected by crosswinds, but should finish in a bunch sprint.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: Mouilleron-Saint-Germain to la Roche-sur-Yon

Stage 2 takes the riders for a 183-km tour of the Bocage Vendéen, with rolling roads through small towns and villages. It should be another opportunity for the sprinters at the finish in la Roche-sur-Yon.

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: Cholet team time trial

Stage 3 is a team time trial - quite unusual for the Tour de France in recent years. The 35-km route includes rhythm changes and a small hill.

Stage 4, Tour de France 2018: la Baule to Sarzeau

La Baule

La Baule, by Arlenz Chen, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

The Tour heads into Brittany on Stage 4, with a 192km route finishing in Sarzeau.

Stage 5, Tour de France 2018: Lorient to Quimper

This Breton stage is 203km from Lorient to Quimper.

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: Brest to the Mur de Bretagne Guerlédan

Stage 6 is 181km, including a finishing circuit that tackles the Mur de Bretagne twice. 

Stage 7, Tour de France 2018: Fougères to Chartres


Fougères, by Tim Schofield, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 7 is the longest stage of the 2018 race (231km). The Medieval citadel of Fougères is the backdrop for the start, and the Gothic Cathedral of Chartres will provide the scenery for the finish.

Stage 8, Tour de France 2018: Dreux to Amiens Métropole

Stage 8 takes the riders north, on a 181-km route with a finish at Amiens Métropole.

Stage 9, Tour de France 2018: Arras Citadelle to Roubaix

Stage 9 is 154km, and takes in fifteen sectors of cobbles totalling 22km. It finishes just short of the Roubaix velodrome.

Stage 10, Tour de France 2018: Annecy to le Grand Bornand

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy, by HedgehogCycling

The Tour de France is in the Alps on Stage 10. From Annecy, the route heads south along the shore of the Lac d'Annecy, to the end (Bout du Lac), before heading into the mountains. The riders climb the Col de la Croix Fry, and then ascend to the plateau des Glières, where there's a stretch of dirt road. There are two more climbs - the Col de Romme and the Col de la Colombière - before a descent to le Grand Bornand.

L'Etape du Tour is to use the route of Stage 10.

Stage 11, Tour de France 2018: Albertville to la Rosière


Albertville,by HedgehogCycling

Stage 11 is 108km in the Alps, and provides the route for La Course, the women's event, as well as Stage 11 of the men's Tour. This Alpine stage climbs the Col du Cormet de Roseland and Col du Petit Saint-Bernard, finishing at la Rosière Espace San Bernado.

Stage 12, Tour de France 2018: Bourg Saint-Maurice to Alpe d'Huez

Stage 12 is the last day in the Alps - 175km from Bourg Saint-Maurice to Alpe-d'Huez. The route includes the Col de la Madeleine, the Lacets de Montvernier, and Col de la Croix de Fer, before the final climb to Alpe-d'Huez.

Stage 13, Tour de France 2018: Bourg-d'Oisans to Valence

A 169-km yomp from Bourg-d'Oisans to Valence provides an opportunity for the sprinters.

Stage 14, Tour de France 2018: Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Mende

Stage 14 heads through the Gorges de l'Ardèche, then into the Massif Central, with climbs of the Col de la Croix de Berthel and the Côte de la Croix Neuve. The stage distance is 187km.

Stage 15, Tour de France 2018: Millau to Carcassonne


Carcassonne, by Nelson Minar, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

This 181km stage takes the riders through the hilly countryside of the Aveyron and the Tarn, with the main difficulty a climb of the Pic de Nore. Carcassonne is the spectacular location of the finish.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2018: Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon

Into the Pyrenees! The climbs include the Col de Portet d'Aspet, the Col de Montet, and the Col du Portillon. The 218-km route ends with a descent to Bagnères-de-Luchon.

Stage 17, Tour de France 2018: Bagneres-de-Luchon to Saint-Lary-Soulan (Col de Portet)

Stage 17 is only 65km long, but includes a lot of climbing. There are ascents of the Col de Val Louron-Azet and the Col de Portet.

Stage 18, Tour de France 2018: Trie-sur-Baïse to Pau

Chateau de Pau

Chateau de Pau, by Turol Jones, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

This 172-km stage in the south west of France ends in Pau, where a sprinter should win on the day. 

Stage 19, Tour de France 2018: Lourdes to Laruns

Top of the Col d'Aspin

Top of the Col d'Aspin, by Stephen Colebourne, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The race now goes back into the Pyrenees, with climbs in the second half of the stage, of the Col d'Aspin, the Col du Tourmalet, the Col des Bordères, and the Col d'Aubisque.

Stage 20, Tour de France 2018: Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle to Espelette

This 31km time trial is for puncheurs not rouleurs. It could prove critical to the General Classification, as it is the last opportunity to gain time.

Stage 21, Tour de France 2018: Houilles to Paris Champs-Elysées

The final stage of the 2018 Tour de France is 115km. It starts in Houilles, and heads into Paris via the Bois de Boulogne. 

Stage 21 usually starts about 4pm. The finishing circuit will be the familiar one, going around the Arc de Triomphe, with the finish line part-way up the Champs-Elysées.

The 'Vélo d'Or'

Before the route announcement, Chris Froome was awarded the 'Vélo d'Or', a recognition that he achieved more success than any other professional cyclist in 2017.

Stop killing cyclists, urges Christian Prudhomme

Before speaking about the race route Christian Prudhomme gave a message about cycle safety on the road, partly prompted by the death of Michele Scarponi who was killed by the driver of a truck. The President of ASO held up a jersey with a reminder of the rules on passing cyclists in France (leave at least 1m50, and 1m at lower speeds in town). M Prudhomme said that the roads should be shared, and drivers must show respect for vulnerable road users including cyclists.

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Tour de Yorkshire 2018

Crowds at the Tour de Yorkshire

The 2018 Tour de Yorkshire takes place over four days from 3rd to 6th May 2018. Host towns include Ilkley, Barnsley, and Beverley.

Read about the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire.

Stage by stage guide to the Tour de France 2018


Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile, by Aoudot25, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The 2018 Tour de France begins with the Grand Départ in the Vendée. It heads to Brittany, then the north of France, before a transfer to the Alps.

After the Alps comes the Massif Central and the south west, with a visit to Carcassonne.

The penultimate stage is a 31-km ITT, before the traditional finish in Paris.

Read a stage by stage guide to the Tour de France 2018.

Peloton on Cote de Blubberhouses, 2014 Tour de FranceCannondale rider, 2015 Tour de France, stage 1, UtrechtSpectator, Utrecht, 2015 Tour de France

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