The Tour de France 2020, June 27 to July 19, is due to pass time in the country’s west, criss-cross to the Alps – including Alpe d’Huez – and back to the Pyrenees before its customary Paris finale.
Egan Bernal (Ineos), the first Colombian to win the Tour in 2019, is expected to defend his title alongside Ineos team-mate Chris Froome going for a record equalling fifth title. Organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) already confirmed Nice will host the Grand Départ. Two road stages are planned along the Côte d’Azur, adopted home to many professionals.
Details remain vague so early into ASO’s organising work for the 2020 route, but Cycling Weekly asked some insiders about possible scenarios.
Alpe d’Huez could return for the first time since 2018 when a fan marred the final by accidentally knocking Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) off his bike, suffering a fractured vertebra. Geraint Thomas won the stage in the yellow jersey on his way to capturing the 2018 title.
Like 2018, the Tour de France is expected to include the Alps first, in week two, and the Pyrenees second, in the final phase. It will involve some transfers and criss-crossing France.
The Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet near Marseille could host the finish of stage three or four. The Tour would travel west from Nice and eventually arrive to the Formula One circuit that celebrated Lewis Hamilton’s wins the last two years.
Since ASO largely ignored the west in 2019, a return is expected around the Bay of Biscay to areas like Bordeaux and Brittany. Noirmoutier with the Passage du Gois is rumoured to be part of the organiser’s plans.
To return to the Alps and Alpe d’Huez, the route will combine kilometres of driving with some long transfer stages, according to those insiders asked. The race could could revisit Mont Aigoual for a second time, after 1987, in a long and potentially decisive push through the Massif Central.
Egan Bernal comes from the high 2,650m altitude of Zipaquirá in central Colombia. However, he will unable to maximise his ability to process thin air during the 2020 route as director Christian Prudhomme is expected to keep the peloton at lower elevations compared the last edition. The decision will be music to ears of sprinters like Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), but could penalise Bernal in favour of classification riders like Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb).
It is uncertain if Tignes and Val Thorens will be paid back already in 2020, but the organisation should revisit the ski resorts and surrounding areas sometime soon. ASO had to seriously cut the final Alpine stages due to bad weather and landslides, which meant that host towns were unable to fully reap their investments.
Organiser RCS Sport similarly revisits areas if it is forced to cancel a Giro d’Italia stage. After the Stelvio/Val Martello stage was cut in 2013, it played a part again already in 2014, when Nairo Quintana (Movistar) rode on his way to becoming the first Colombian Giro winner.
The Aubisque, Peyresourde, Aspin, Ax 3 Domaine could all work their way back into the Tour in the tail-end of the 2020 route. Much is still unknown. For 2019, the organiser returned to summit finish at Col du Tourmalet where Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) won.
Details of the these mountain stages and the entire route should began to surface as the summer turns to autumn and the official presentation nears this October in Paris.
Tour de France 2020: 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.