The 2020 Tour de France route has been officially revealed and there are some appetising highlights on the road to Paris.
Perhaps the most striking feature is the individual time trial, racing to the summit of La Planches de Belles Filles on the final day.
This year’s race will also feature a fascinating mix of overall contenders, with former winners Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) both planning to ride, while Chris Froome hopes to return from injury.
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) may also relish this year’s course after heartbreak last year, while Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) will be skipping the race despite it suiting his attributes.
The 107th edition will feature eight mountain stages with four summit finishes, nine flat stages, three hilly stages, and one individual time trial on the penultimate day. The race takes on mountains in the Alps, the Massif Central, the Pyrenees, the Jura and the Vosges across the three weeks.
The route moves from the Grand Départ in Nice northwards for an early summit finish to Ocières-Merlette at 1,875m in the Hautes-Alps on stage four. It will then head west through central France and down to the Pyrenees for two mountainous stages to Loudenvielle and Laruns.
The race will then transfer north to Le Charente Maritime for its first rest day before resuming on the west coast where crosswinds could feature. It will then again head through the centre of France and the Massif Central with a gruelling summit finish to Puy Mary. As it heads towards its climax riders will take on a summit finish to Grand Colombier in the Jura mountains before the race heads into the Alps for finishes to Méribel and La Roche-sur-Foron.
The Tour then heads north with a transition stage and culminates with a time trial up the steep slopes of La Planche des Belles Filles in the Vosges. The climb featured as a summit finish in the 2019 edition.
The race will conclude with its traditional run in to Paris and the Champs-Élysées.
The 2020 Tour de France will take place one week earlier than its normal place in the calendar, kicking off on Saturday June 27 and concluding on Sunday July 19 – this will allow riders with dreams of the Tokyo Olympics to travel and aclimaise ahead of the road race on Saturday July 25.
Tour de France 2020 route
|1||Sat June 27||Nice Moyen Pays||Nice||156km||Flat|
|2||Sun June 28||Nice Haut Pays||Nice||187km||Mountain|
|3||Mon June 29||Nice||Sisteron||198km||Flat|
|4||Tues June 30||Sisteron||Orcières-Merlette||157km||Hilly|
|5||Weds July 1||Gap||Privas||183km||Flat|
|6||Thurs July 2||Le Teil||Mount Aigoual||191km||Hilly|
|7||Fri July 3||Millau||Lavaur||168km||Hilly|
|8||Sat July 4||Cazères-sur-Garonne||Loudenvielle||140km||Mountain|
|9||Sun July 5||Pau||Laruns||154km||Mountain|
|Rest day||Mon July 6||Charente-Maritimes|
|10||Tues July 7||The Château d’Oleron||Saint-Martin-de-Ré||170km||Flat|
|11||Weds July 8||Châtelaillon-Plage||Poitiers||167km||Flat|
|12||Thurs July 9||Chauvigny||Sarran Corrèze||218km||Hilly|
|13||Fri July 10||Châtel-Guyon||Puy Mary Cantal||191km||Mountain|
|14||Sat July 11||Clermont-Ferrand||Lyon||197km||Flat|
|15||Sun July 12||Lyon||Grand Colombier||175km||Mountain|
|Rest day||Mon July 13||Isère|
|16||Tues July 14||La Tour-du-Pin||Villard-de-Lans||164km||Mountain|
|17||Weds July 15||Grenoble||Col de la Loze||168km||Mountain|
|18||Thurs July 16||Méribel||La-Roche-sur-Foron||168km||Mountain|
|19||Fri July 17||Bourg-en-Bresse||Champagnole||160km||Flat|
|20||Sat July 18||Lure||Planche de Belles Filles||36km||Time trial|
|21||Sun July 19||Mantes-la-Jolie||Paris (Champs-Élysées)||122km||Flat|
Every French mountain range included with late mountain time trial
The race will traverse every one of France’s mountain ranges, routing up and over 29 categorised climbs along the way.
There will be a total of six mountain finishes, and the organisers have shoehorned in some gravel on the Plateau de Glières, during stage 18.
The nature of the race shows its true colours early, too – with the first mountain stage as early as day two, during the Grand Depart in Nice.
There’s no letting up. Stage four concludes with a summit finish on Orcières-Merlette, which last featured 30-years ago in 1989. The 11km climb averages at 5.9 per cent, and though it’s far from the hardest of the race, should give us a glimpse into what’s to come.
The organisers have avoided summit finishes in the Pyrenees, but the planned parcours will be far from plain sailing. Stage eight send the peloton up the Col de Menté, the Porte de Balès and the Col de Peyresourde all in one day.
Following the rest day, stage 10 from Château d’Oleron to Saint-Martin-de-Ré is flat, but the 170km route may be enlivened by strong winds at the coast.
Stage 17 is the queen stage. Travelling from Grenoble to Méribel, the route will showcase the purpose built ‘cyclist’s road’, which leads to the peak of the Col de la Loze. If that wasn’t enough, riders will also climb the Col de la Madeleine on their way to the final ascent.
The following day sees the riders tackle a string of climbs: the Cormet de Roseland, Col des Saisies, Col des Aravis and Plateau de Glières and La-Roche-sur-Foron
Even the time trial will be one for the mountain goats, covering 36km and concluding at the peak of the Planche de Belles Filles. The meat of the stage will be the climb, which is 5.9km long and averages at 8.5 per cent.
With the race against the clock taking place on stage 20, the fight for the yellow jersey could be ongoing until the very end. Being the only time trial stage of the race, the draw for traditional testers may be limited.
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.
Stage three, June 29: Nice to Sisteron (198km)
A flat stage that should end in a sprint finish.
Stage four, June 30: Sisteron to Ocières-Merlette (157km) – summit finish
The race makes a brief foray into the Hautes-Alps with a summit finish to the ski resort of Ocières-Merlette at 1,875m.
Stage five, July 1: Gap to Privas (183km)
The riders head into Province and towards the Rhones Valley where a sprint finish should take place in Privas.
Stage six, July 2: Le Teil to Mont Aigoual (191km)
The riders will climb steep roads to a plateau and towards the finish of stage six. There’s 15km between the final ascent and the finish which should make for an unpredictable stage.
Stage seven, July 3: Millau to Lavaur (168km)
Wind and gruelling hilly roads could ruin this stage for the sprinters and favour a breakaway.
Stage eight, July 4: Cazères to Loudenvielle (140km)
The first stage in the Pyrenees will see riders take on the Col de Menté followed by the Port de Balès and the Col de Peyresourde before a downhill run to the finish.
Stage nine, July 5: Pau to Laruns (154km)
Another brutal climbing day in the Pyrenees comes straight after the last, with a stage that takes in the Col de la Hourcère, the Col de Soudet and the steep Col de Marie Blanque before heading down to Laruns for the finish.
Rest day, July 6: Le Charente Maritime
Stage 10, July 7: Île d’Oléron to Île de Ré (170km)
Crosswinds will almost certainly disrupt this flat stage between two islands on the west coast.
Stage 11, July 8: Châtelaillon-Plage to Poitiers (167km)
A straightforward flat stage should give the sprinters an opportunity as the races heads inland.
Stage 12, July 9: Chauvigny to Sarran (218km)
The longest stage of the Tour will also be a hilly affair and be a harsh test for riders. With a summit finish to follow the next day a breakaway could stay away.
Stage 13, July 10: Châtel-Guyon to Puy Mary (191km) – summit finish
The route through the Massif Central will see a first ever summit finish to Puy Mary. With 4,400m of climbing on the stage, riders will have to tackled the Col de Ceyssat and the Col de Neronne before the summit finish.
Stage 14, July 11: Clermont Ferrand to Lyon (197km)
A long stage with enough climbing to make it an unpredictable tussle between the breakaway and the sprinters. Three climbs – the Côtedela Duchère, the Montée de l’Observance and the Côte de la Croix-Rousse – close to Lyon will make this a tricky finale.
Stage 15, July 12: Lyon to Grand Colombier (175km) – summit finish
The race resumes in Lyon the next day with a summit finish to the well-trodden climb of Grand Colombier in the Jura mountain range.
Rest day, July 13: Isère
Stage 16, July 14: La Tour-du-Pin to Villard-de-Lans (164km)
There’s no easy reintroduction into the race following the second rest day with a mountainous stage that includes the Col de Porte ahead of the finish.
Stage 17, July 15: Grenoble to Méribel – Col de la Loze (168km) – summit finish
The race heads into the Alps proper with a summit finish to the Méribel up the Col de la Loze (2,304m) on a newly built road for cyclists that looks spectacular. Riders will have to traverse the HC Col de la Madeleine en route,
Stage 18, July 16: Méribel to La Roche-sur-Foron (168m)
With over 4,000m of climbing, the race take on the Cormet de Roseland which was omitted in 2019 following landslides. The stage then heads over the Col des Saisies, Les Aravis and the Plateau des Glières before the line in La Roche-sur-Foron.
Stage 19, July 17: Bourg-en-Bresse to Champagnole (160km)
A sprint stage should allow the GC riders to take stock ahead of a difficult and unusual penultimate stage.
Stage 20, July 18: Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles (ITT) (36km)
The competitive racing for the overall concludes with a 36km individual time trial to the top of La Planche des Belles Filles. The climb returns for a second consecutive year however riders will not go as far as 2019, finishing before the start of the gravel road. At 5.9km and 8.3 per cent average gradient, this final test could be decisive in the final GC standings.
Stage 21, July 19: Mantes-La-Jolie to Paris (Champs-Élysées) (122km)
The race concludes with it’s usual finish to the centre of the French capital.