The Tour de France 2019 kicked off on Saturday July 6, with three weeks of racing, including five mountain top finishes and a total of 3,460 kilometres.
The 106th edition of the Tour de France celebrates 100 years of the maillot jaune, and the race also honours Eddy Merckx with its Grand Départ from Brussels.
The race started in Belgium with a flat stage, followed by a team time trial, before the peloton headed into northern France for further sprint and punchy climbing stages. The first proper GC test will be when the race hits the Voges Mountains.
From there the race transfers south through the Massif Central and into the Pyrenees, where riders will face an individual time trial and two mountain stages, including a finish to the top of the Tourmalet.
The route moves across the south coast where it resumes in Nîmes, and begins its way into the Alps via Gap.
From there the riders will face the final crucial stages in the overall, with three tough mountain stages that will include the Col d’Izoard, Col du Galibier and Col d’Iseran. The race culminates with a finish to the ski resort of Val Thorens on stage 20, a long climb of over 33km.
Tour de France 2019: the stages
|1||Saturday, July 6||Brussels – Brussels||192km||>>>|
|2||Sunday, July 7||Brussels Palais Royal – Brussels Atomium||27km (TTT)||>>>|
|3||Monday, July 8||Binche – Épernay||214km||>>>|
|4||Tuesday, July 9||Reims – Nancy||215km||>>>|
|5||Wednesday, July 10||Saint-Dié-des-Vosges – Colmar||169km||>>>|
|6||Thursday, July 11||Mulhouse – La Planche des Belles Filles||157km||>>>|
|7||Friday, July 12||Belfort –Chalon-sur-Saône||230km||>>>|
|8||Saturday, July 13||Mâcon – Saint-Étienne||199km||>>>|
|9||Sunday, July 14||Saint-Étienne – Brioude||170km||>>>|
|10||Monday, July 15||Saint-Flour – Albi||218km||>>>|
|Rest day||Tuesday, July 16||Albi||—||—|
|11||Wednesday, July 17||Albi – Toulouse||167km||>>>|
|12||Thursday, July 18||Toulouse – Bagnères-de-Bigorre||209.5km||>>>|
|13||Friday, July 19||Pau – Pau||27km (ITT)||>>>|
|14||Saturday, July 20||Tarbes – Tourmalet||(117km)||>>>|
|15||Sunday, July 21||Limoux – Foix||185km||>>>|
|Rest Day||Monday, July 22||Nîmes||–||—|
|16||Tuesday, July 23||Nîmes – Nîmes||177km||>>>|
|17||Wednesday, July 24||Pont du Gard – Gap||206km||>>>|
|18||Thursday, July 25||Embrun – Valloire||207km||>>>|
|19||Friday, July 26||Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – Tignes||123km||>>>|
|20||Saturday, July 27||Albertville – Val Thorens||131km||>>>|
|21||Sunday, July 28||Rambouillet – Paris (Champs-Élysées)||127km||>>>|
The lead out: Tour Preview Show
Tour de France 2019: stage-by-stage
Stage one, July 6: Brussels – Brussels (194.5km)
Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) took an unexpected victory on stage one of the 2019 Tour de France, beating Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) to the line in Brussels.
The finale of the stage had been blighted by crashes, which saw stage favourite Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) go down just 1.5km from the line along with defending champion Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos). Both were able to get up and continue. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) also crashed earlier in the day, but was able to rejoin the bunch and later confirmed he suffered cuts to his knee and above his right eye.
Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) took the first polka-dot jersey of the race, getting in the day’s early breakaway to take maximum points on the first climb of the Mur de Grammont and was then second over the next classified climb of the Bosberg.
Stage two, July 7: Brussels Palais Royal – Brussels Atomium (27.6km, team time trial)
Jumbo-Visma followed up their sensational opening day to the Tour de France with victory on the stage two team time trial, beating Team Ineos by 20 seconds.
The victory means Mike Teunissen continues in the yellow jersey into stage three.
The TTT was the first crucial day for the general classification contenders, with Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) the two who lost the most on just the second day of the Tour.
Stage three, July 8: Binche – Épernay (215km)
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) won the stage, with a large enough margin to take the first French yellow jersey in five years.
The Classics style race was perfectly suited to his strengths, with the breakaway specialist making his move at 16km to go, to ride solo to the line.
In his wake, Michael Matthews (Sunweb) finished second, 26 seconds back. The final podium spot went to Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo).
Stage four, July 9: Reims – Nancy (213.5km)
A break of three escaped early on, gathering up a gap of around three minutes.
However, they were scooped up, with the last breakaway rider absorbed into the peloton with 16km to go.
Lead out trains came to the fore, but it was Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) who reached the line first, with Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) second and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) third.
Stage five, July 10: Saint-Dié-des-Vosges – Colmar (169km)
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) took the stage, with the strongest kick from a collection of lighter sprinters who made it over the first hilly stage at the front of the race.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) held on to his lead general classification, finishing safely in the bunch.
Stage six, July 11: Mulhouse – La Planche des Belles Filles (157km)
Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) took victory atop La Planche des Belles Filles on stage six of the Tour de France, beating Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) from the day’s breakaway. Ciccone still had a day to remember however, taking the yellow jersey from Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).
Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) was the best performing rider in the overall contest, making a late move with 100m to go to put a handful of seconds into his rivals.
Stage seven, July 12: Belfort – Chalon-sur-Saône (230km)
The longest stage of the Tour de France ended with an expected bunch sprint, with Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) taking the win narrowly on the line ahead of Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal).
Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) held on to the race lead in a fairly comfortable for the GC riders that saw no change in the top-10.
Stage eight, July 13: Mâcon – Saint-Étienne (199km)
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) soloed to a sensational victory on a gruelling stage eight of the 2019 Tour. De Gendt had been part of the day’s early breakaway and managed to hold off the attacking Frenchmen Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) who finished ahead of the other main contenders.
That, plus bonus seconds, saw Alaphilippe reclaim the yellow jersey while Pinot was able to move up to third place overall.
Stage nine, July 14: Saint-Étienne – Brioude (170km)With a Frenchman in yellow for Bastille Day, the Tour de France peloton were content to allow a breakaway to go up the road an ensure the stage win.
From the 15-man breakaway, only Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) remained, the South African champion Impey able to easily beat his Belgian rival to the line and take the win.
Julian Alaphilippe retained the overall lead with no significant changes on general classification.
Stage 10, July 15: Saint-Flour – Albi (218km)
Stage 10’s relatively straightforward profile flattered to deceive as crosswinds battered the peloton in the last 100km of the day.Ineos and Deceuninck-Quick-Step were able effectively split the peloton, with a number of GC contenders, including Mikel Landa (Movistar), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First) all losing significant time.Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) won the stage, out-sprinting Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) into Albi.
Rest day, July 16
Stage 11, July 17: Albi – Toulouse (167km)
Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) took his maiden Tour de France victory after narrowly beating Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) on the line in Toulouse.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) held on to the yellow jersey as the GC contenders stayed together ahead of the first stage into the Pyrenees.
Stage 12, July 18: Toulouse – Bagnères-de-Bigorre (209.5km)
The GC contenders took it easy after allowing a circa 40-man breakaway get up the road, with Julian Alaphilippe once again holding on to his overall lead over Geraint Thomas heading into the stage 13 time trial.
Britain’s Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) won the first stage in the Pyrenees, beating Pello Bilbao (Astana) and Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) to the line in a final sprint after the trio had broken clear of the lead group on the final climb of the Hourquette d’Ancizan. It’s Yates’ first win at the Tour, meaning he has now won stages in all three of the Grand Tours.
Stage 13, July 19: Pau – Pau (27km)
Julian Alaphilippe surprised everyone by crushing his rivals to win the Tour’s only time trial and extend his lead in the general classification. The Frenchman finished ahead of Geraint Thomas in second, while a number of GC hopefuls including Adam Yates, Dan Martin and Nairo Quintana all lost huge chunks of time to see them drop down the standings.
Stage 14, July 20: Tarbes – Tourmalet (117km)
The stage finish to the Tour’s most used climb, the Col du Tourmalet, would see the true overall contenders stand up. Julian Alaphilippe continued his sensational Tour to finish second on the stage behind compatriot Thibaut Pinot, who gained time to begin his fightback in the overall. Geraint Thomas lost 36 seconds to Pinot but remained in second place on GC at the end of the day.
Stage 15, July 21: Limoux – Foix (185km)
The last of the Pyrenean mountain stages saw riders take on a brand new summit finish to Prat d’Albis just outside Foix.
Simon Yates took his second stage win in just four days as he went solo from the day’s main breakaway to victory.
Thibaut Pinot was the best placed finisher of the GC contenders, moving up to fourth overall after finishing second on the stage. Julian Alaphilippe held on to the yellow jersey despite suffering and getting dropped on the final climb.
Rest day, July 22
Stage 16, July 23: Nîmes – Nîmes (177km)
Any sprinters still left after the brutal slopes of the last few days? If so, this is an opportunity for them to put on a display with a bunch surge into Nîmes.
The out-and-back route includes a 1.8km category four climb, but otherwise there’s not much elevation to be collected, though strong winds could play a part in the proceedings.
Stage 17, July 24: Pont du Gard – Gap (206km)
A hilly day in preparation for what’s to come – riders crest the 6km Col de la Sentinelle with 10km left to race. The 5 per cent slops mean that we’re likely to see a smaller group contest the win in Gap.
Though much of the day is uphill, it’s possible that a break could succeed and we could see a specialist come to the fore, especially with a high chance of early crosswinds offering an opportunity for a sneaky escape.
Stage 18, July 25: Embrun – Valloire (207km)
The race heads into the Alps with another gruelling stage that takes on the Col de Vars, Col d’Izoard, Col du Galibier before a finish in the town of Valloire. The 207km day adds up to 2,675m of climbing – a test of both legs and tactics.
Bonus seconds at the top of the Col du Galibier might lure a rider to attack, and keep on going down the other side…
Stage 19, July 26: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – Tignes (126km)
The second stage in the Alps sees riders face day of almost all uphill, with a long climb up to the Col de l’Iseran before the final summit finish to Tignes.
The Col de l’Iséran represents the highest point of the tour, at 2770m above sea level. Riders are racing at altitude by the 60km point, then they stay there.
With just days left to race, GC contenders won’t want to let any risky contenders get a distance.
Stage 20, July 27: Albertville – Val Thorens (131km)
The grand finale of the race proper culminates at the ski station of Val Thorens. A rarely used climb, it’s gruelling length – at 33.4km – will be more telling than the gradients. The climb might average just 5.5 per cent, but that’s skewed by some short downhill sections.
Today is ‘now or never’ for anyone wanting to shuffle the GC.
Stage 21, July 28: Rambouillet – Paris (Champs-Élysées) (127km)
A traditional finish in Paris which will finish with a sprint on the Champs-Élysées. Of course, the stage win will go to a sprinter – but it’ll have to be someone who has survived the last 20 days of racing.
Tour de France 2019 contenders
We’ve taken a look at every stage below. But first: who should our eyes be on?
This Tour is very much one for the climbers. There’s just one individual time trial, and it’s all uphill.
It’s a year of notable absences. Whilst reigning champion Geraint Thomas will start, his Team Ineos colleague Chris Froome has been knocked out of contention by a horror crash during a Critérium du Dauphiné recon and Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin has been sidelined following injury at the Giro d’Italia.
That’s not to say that there’s no competition. Richie Porte has set his sights on the race during his first year at Trek-Segafredo as has Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Frenchman Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale).
With both Adam and Simon riding for Mitchelton-Scott, the Yates twins cannot be discounted either – and flying form so far this year means we cannot ignore Jakob Fuglsang (Astana).
And though he’s young, Egan Bernal (Ineos) has hinted that he might be looking for a larger role than domestique to Thomas, following his Tour de Suisse win.
In the sprints, we’ll be watching Elia Viviani (Deceuninck–Quick-Step), after a disappointing Giro, as well as Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) – who was left at home last year. And of course, no one can ignore Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) – who has dominated the green jersey every year he’s finished the Tour. Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) will not be at the French race – after set backs over recent years.
How to watch the Tour de France
We’ve got a full TV guide for you – check it out here for timings.
There will be live coverage, daily, on Eurosport, ITV and Welsh channel S4C. Each channel will play highlights in the evening, too.