When Monday July 7
Where are we?
Having transferred south from Sheffield to Cambridge, a city as well renowned for its love of bikes as its university, the race heads towards the capital with an equally prestigious finish on The Mall, outside Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s central London home.
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What’s on the route?
Not a great deal in terms of difficulty for the riders. This is as flat as Tour stages come. After leaving Cambridgeshire, the route takes the race through the Essex countryside before a switch in direction takes the peloton into the city from the east. It’s not the prettiest stretch, even following all the development work that improved the area in the run-up to the London Olympics. The race will pass the Olympic Park and then make its way into the beating heart of the city, bringing the Monday afternoon rush hour to a halt. As it reaches the centre, the television audience will be treated to shots of the city’s most famous landmarks, including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.
What might happen?
It will be a big surprise if this stage does not end in a sprint finish. Assuming all went to plan in Harrogate and either Mark Cavendish or Marcel Kittel won, this will be the rematch. Cavendish had hoped to win the Olympic gold medal on The Mall two summers ago but was thwarted by a breakaway. This time it is certain to be a sprint. The climbs on the previous stage will more than likely have put the yellow jersey out of reach but he could pull on the green jersey here.
If you’re there The Vélo Festival in Cambridge from May to September. Cambridge is synonymous with cycling, and particularly with students criss-crossing the city by bike. The festival is a series of cycling, arts and cultural events celebrating life on two wheels. If you’re going to the capital, book a trip on the 135-metre tall London Eye in the morning and watch as the Tour de France takes over the city.
This is one of the flattest corners of England. Epping Forest was rumoured to have been used as a hideout by highwayman Dick Turpin in 1700s.