On October 15, Tour de France organiser ASO will unveil a unique 2020 route that, according to rumours, climbs to altitude in the early days and time trials La Planche de Belles Filles ahead of the Paris finale.
The race, bumped up in the calendar for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, runs June 27 to July 19. Already, ASO announced it will begin in Nice. The Côte d’Azur Grand Départ will see two road stages around the town that is home to many professional riders. Afterwards, details remain vague but are coming into focus ahead of the route announcement in Paris.
Already day two climbs the Col de Turini and in the final, the Col d’Èze to finish on the Promenade des Anglais. Instead of going to the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, where Formula One’s Lewis Hamilton won in the last two years, ASO is considering the Orcières-Merlette summit finish at 1,850 metres on day four. French media outlet Dici reported the race’s return to the site where Greg LeMond won when the Tour last visited in 1989.
Such early climbing days would swing in to the favour of defending champion Egan Bernal and his four-time champion team-mate Chris Froome. Already, the Ineos leadership question could be solved at 1,850 metres on day four.
The race will cut through the through the Massif Central and is expected to revisit Mont Aigoual for a second time after 1987. This is the highest point of the Gard département. The push towards the Pyrénées would continue from here.
Not much is known about the time in the Pyrenean mountain range, where this year Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) won the Tourmalet stage. The 2020 route should stop in Loudenvielle, but it is uncertain which of the mountain passes – like Aubisque, Peyresourde, Aspin and Ax 3 Domaine – race director Christian Prudhomme will choose. On Sunday, July 5, the Tour should celebrate its big day in the mountains that separate France from Spain.
The route then heads along the west coast in its second week. Here, ASO will give more attention since it largely skipped this area lately. Along the Bay of Biscay, north of Bordeaux, the Tour is said to be visiting Châtelaillon-Plage and Île de Ré. A finish is now expected in Sarran, home of the recently deceased former president Jacques Chirac. Inland, the race could climb to finish at Pas de Peyrol at 1,589m, according to La Montagne.
The Tour then heads back east to the Alps, perhaps in the Vallée de la Tarentaise. One idea is that Tignes and Val Thorens will feature again after bad weather that brought on landslides ruined those stages in 2019. At this point, Alpe d’Huez is not expected to feature in 2020.
What has emerged in L’Est Républicain, however, is that the Tour could return to La Planche des Belles Filles where Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) won and took the yellow jersey in 2019. After a Jura Mountain stage 19, stage 20 could see the Vosges Mountains welcome the race back to the Planche. The article suggested that one year after the new gravel finish, a time trial could host the race’s mountainous finale.
For certain, ASO will unveil everything in Paris on Tuesday, October 15, and that besides the start in Nice, Paris will again host the stage finish with a likely sprint on the Champs-Élysées.
Tour de France 2020 route: Stage-by-stage
Stage one, June 27: Nice to Nice (170km)
The first stage will be a 170km route suited to the sprinters, starting and finishing in Nice.
But it will not be a straight run for the fast men, with four tough climbs scattered along the way and a fast finishing circuit to conclude.
Taking in many of the same roads as Paris-Nice, the opening stage will finish on the famous Promenade des Anglais on the seafront.
Stage two, June 28: Nice to Nice (190km)
Stage two will be a major departure from the traditional opening of the Tour, heading to the mountains on only the second day.
Over 190km, the peloton will race over four cols, including the high summits of the Col de la Colmiane and the Col de Turini.
Stages three to 21 TBC.