We list the stages of the official route of the Tour de France 2015, as well as taking a look at some of the key points of the race
The 102nd Tour de France began for the 21st time outside of France, in the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands.
The first week of 2015 Tour had a very classics feel to it, with stage three finishing for the first time ever on the climb that culminates La Fleche Wallonne, the Mur de Huy. Cobbles featured for the second year in succession, although drier weather this year meant less mayhem for the front-runners than in 2014. Meanwhile, the Mûr-de-Bretagne provided a tough uphill finish to stage eight.
An unusually late team time trial on stage nine led into the first race day. After that, serious GC racing will begin after on stage 10, with the 2015 Tour’s first summit finish atop La Pierre Saint-Martin, which features for the first time in the race’s history.
Three days in the Pyrenees (July 14-16) were followed by a series of transition days across the southern edge of the Massif Central (July 17-19) which included a finish on the fast and punchy ‘Montee Laurent Jalabert’ above Mende.
After Alpine summit finishes at Pra Loup and La Toussuire (where Chris Froome fatefully attacked Bradley Wiggins in 2012), the penultimate day of the race was a short stage of 110km ending on Alpe d’Huez.
As ever, the Tour finished on the Champs-Élysées in Paris for the sprinters’ showdown which was won, almost inevitably, by Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) as the German claimed his fourth victory of this year’s race.
Tour de France 2015 stages
Stage 1: Saturday July 4, Utrecht – Utrecht (Ned) (ITT) 13.7km
This flat 13.7km individual time trial is the only one to feature in this year’s Tour. It was won in an eye-wateringly fast time by BMC’s Rohan Dennis, who claimed the race leader’s yellow jersey to continue an impressive start to 2015.
Stage one highlights:
Stage 2: Sunday July 5, Utrecht – Neeltje Jans (Ned) 166km
This flat stage was earmarked from the start as one that could be difficult in strong winds — and the weather gave the fans (if not the riders) exactly what they wanted. Andre Greipel sprinted to the stage win, but the big winners were Fabian Cancellara, whose time bonus for finishing third was enough to hand him the yellow jersey, and Chris Froome and Alberto Contador, who opened up more than a minute’s advantage over Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali.
Stage two highlights:
Stage 3: Monday July 6, Antwerp – Huy (Bel) 154km
Stage three’s finish on the Mur de Huy climb, the climax to the course of Spring Classic La Flèche Wallonne, was always likely to be a significant moment in the early portion of the race. Chris Froome produced a memorable surge to finish second on the stage and take the overall yellow jersey.
Stage three highlights:
Stage 4: Tuesday July 7, Seraing – Cambrai (Fra) 221km
The Classics-style fourth stage featured seven secteurs of cobbles across an epic 223.5km route that’s the longest of this year’s Tour. It didn’t quite live up to the mayhem of last year’s brutal cobbled stage, but the image of Tony Martin breaking free to finally claim the yellow jersey of 2015’s race put a smile on the faces of cycling fans everywhere.
Stage four highlights:
Stage 5: Wednesday July 8, Cambrai – Amiens 189km
André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) took his second stage win of the Tour on the flat stage to Amiens, beating the likes of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step). It was another stressful day of the Tour for the riders, blighted by wind, rain and crashes.
Stage five highlights:
Stage 6: Thursday July 9, Amiens – Le Havre 191km
Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick-Step) took the win on the small climb to the finish of stage six, but the headlines went to teammate and race leader Tony Martin, who fell in the final kilometre and suffered a suspected broken collarbone.
Stage six highlights:
Stage 7: Friday July 10, Livarot – Fougères 190km
Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step) took his first victory at the Tour de France since 2013, after coming from behind to sprint past his rivals André Greipel and Peter Sagan to the line, on the final flat stage of the Tour before Paris.
Stage seven highlights:
Stage 8: Saturday July 11, Rennes – Mûr-de-Bretagne 179km
The tough category three climb at Mûr-de-Bretagne was always likely to test the GC contenders, and it was inevitable that someone would lose time on the leaders. In the event, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) lost 10 seconds to Froome in yellow as Alexis Vouillermoz took the stage win.
Stage eight highlights:
Stage 9: Sunday July 12, Vannes – Plumelec 28km
Such a late team trial was inevitably tricky for teams with riders already out of the race, and it was world champions BMC Racing who lived up to their billing as favourites with the stage win. Team Sky, however, were only a second behind, allowing Froome to hold onto the yellow jersey as the race prepares to head into the mountains for the first time.
Stage nine highlights:
Rest day: Monday July 13, Pau
Stage 10: Tuesday July 14, Tarbes – La Pierre Saint-Martin 167km
Chris Froome stretched out a commanding lead on the first summit finish of the Tour on the new climb of La Pierre Saint-Martin on stage 10, putting minutes into all his rivals. The Sky leader attacked with 6.3km on the final climb with teammate Richie Porte coming in second behind the victorious Froome. Tejay van Garderen (BMC) remained second in GC, but his 12 second gap had become almost three minutes.
Stage ten highlights:
Stage 11: Wednesday July 15, Pau – Cauterets 188km
Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) took victory on the mammoth stage 11 taking in the climbs of Aspin, Tourmalet and Cauterets. The Pole made his move from the day’s main break up the breakaway, and comfortably soloed home on the 188k route to take his third ever stage win in the Tour. Chris Froome (Team Sky) retained the yellow jersey once again, while Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) lost even more time in what’s turning into a disastrous Tour for the Italian champion.
Stage 11 highlights:
Stage 12: Thursday July 16, Lannemazen – Plateau de Beille 195km
On what was widely regarded as the Queen Stage of this year’s race, stage 12 was not the explosive GC battle it may have been. Joaquim Rodriguez took a solo stage victory on Plateau de Beille, a 15.8km climb that has almost 1800m of ascent, as the overall contenders all arrived together 6-47 later. Thanks in no small part to the work of Sky teammate Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey by the same margin over his nearest rivals.
Stage 12 highlights:
Stage 13: Friday July 17, Muret – Rodez 200km
Peter Sagan finished second for the fourth time this Tour as he missed out on the stage victory to Greg Van Avermaet. The breakaway was caught with less than 1km to go, and a large peloton containing most of the main sprinters hit the last climb up to the finish at Rodez.
As Van Avermaet pushed on for the finish line, Sagan sat on his wheel and many would have expected him to round the Belgian and take the win, but the BMC man proved too strong.
Chris Froome finished in sixth and comfortably retained the leader’s yellow jersey.
Stage 13 highlights:
Stage 14: Saturday July 18, Rodez – Mende-Montée Laurent Jalabert 175km
A brutal climb to the finish in Mende – 3km at 10.1 per cent – gave the anticipated fireworks on a wonderfully exciting stage. A twenty-man breakaway was allowed to escape fairly early, and just when it looked as if the finale would come down to a two-way battle between Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Romain Bardet (AG2R), in slipped Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) to deliver MTN’s first ever Tour stage win… on Mandela Day to boot. Behind the breakaway, Chris Froome put yet another second into Nairo Quintana, even as the Colombian moved up into second place.
Stage 14 highlights:
Stage 15: Sunday July 19, Mende – Valence 182km
German sprinter André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) took his third stage win of the 2015 race after the day’s escape group were caught to set up a bunch sprint finish. Greipel won ahead of John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) to claim his ninth Tour stage victory since 2011. Froome safely retained the race lead on a day where the overall contenders were happy for the sprinters to occupy the limelight.
Stage 15 highlights:
Stage 16: Monday July 20, Bourg-de-Péage – Gap 201km
Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida) took a first Tour de France stage victory after making a solo break on the Col de Manse on stage 16, as Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) recorded a fifth second-place result of the race.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) retained the overall lead after his rivals pushed the pace on the descent of the final categry two climb, with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) claiming back a handful of seconds as he tries to restore some pride in what has been a dismal Tour campaign for the Italian.
The biggest drama came as Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) crashed off the road on the descent, with Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) running into the side of the Thomas as the Frenchman tried to overtake on a right hand bend.
Rest day: Tuesday July 21, Gap/Digne-les-Bains
Stage 17: Wednesday July 22, Digne-les-Bains – Pra-Loup (via the Col des Champs) 161km
A very mountainous day for the riders, that ended on the climb where Eddy Merckx effectively lost the 1975 Tour de France to Pra Loup. Chris Froome (Team Sky) successfully defended his 3-10 lead over Nairo Quintana (Movistar) as Giant-Alpecin’s Simon Geschke soloed to victory from the day’s breakaway.
The stage saw third place Tejay van Garderen (BMC) abandon the Tour after struggling with illness, while Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) lost a further two minutes on his rivals after crashing on the descent of the Col d’Allos.
Stage 18: Thursday July 23, Gap – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne 185km
The breakaway stuck it out to the end for the sixth time in the Tour’s last eight stages, as Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) soloed away from his fellow escapees 40km from home atop the Col du Glandon to glory.
The Frenchman held out over the aesthetically pleasing Lacets de Montvernier climb to take a famous victory ahead of compatriot Pierre Rolland (Europcar).
Meanwhile Chris Froome (Team Sky) wasn’t called on too much by his GC rivals, holding on to his yellow jersey lead as he crossed the line with the likes of Nario Quintana and Alejandro Valverde of Movistar.
Stage 19: Friday July 24, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – La Toussuire 138km
The 19th stage of the 2015 Tour de France saw race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) in real trouble for the first in the race, as he struggled to match the pace of Movistar’s Nairo Quintana on the final climb to La Toussuire, with the Colombian taking 30 seconds out of the Brit’s 3-10 lead going into the final mountain stage to Alpe d’Huez on Saturday.
No-one could catch 2014 Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) on the third day in the Alps, as the Italian broke away on the Col de la Croix de Fer to solo up the final climb to stage victory.
Stage 19 highlights:
Stage 20: Saturday July 25, Modane – L’Alpe d’Huez 110km
An outstanding day’s racing and a supreme display of climbing prowess saw Nairo Quintana push Chris Froome all the way – and even though the Colombian beat the Brit on the day, it was enough to seize the yellow jersey. Frenchman Thibaut Pinot won the stage and Quintana ate 1-20 minute out of Froome’s overall lead – but Froome still has a 1-12 minute advantage with only the procession into Paris left in this year’s race.
Stage 20 highlights:
Stage 21: Saturday July 26, Sèvres – Champs-Élysées, Paris 107km
Where else would the Tour finish? As Chris Froome enjoyed his ceremonial victory ride into Paris, the sprinters geared themselves up for one last daredevil finish — and it was Andre Greipel who claimed his fourth win of this year’s Tour with a typically muscular finish.
Stage 21 highlights:
Tour de France 2015