Tour de France Guide

Tour de France route map


Here’s the 2015 Tour de France reference guide with facts, rules, figures and a profile of every stage with a quick take on the day added. In the coming days there will be more previews including a look at the candidates for to the overall win.

During the race just visit or use the links at the top of the page (menu if you’re on a mobile device)

Route Summary | Rider list| Jerseys & classifications | Prizes | Unmissable stages | TV Guide | iCal download

Stage 1 | Stage 2 | Stage 3 | Stage 4 | Stage 5 | Stage 6 | Stage 7 | Stage 8 | Stage 9 | Rest day
Stage 10 | Stage 11 | Stage 12 | Stage 13 | Stage 14 | Stage 15 | Stage 16 | Rest day
Stage 17 | Stage 18 | Stage 19 | Stage 20 | Stage 21

Here’s the 2015 Tour de France guide. There’s a profile of every stage with a quick take on the day added. Use the links at the top of the page here to find your way around the stage previews, the start list and the other points.

In addition on the morning of every stage there will be a full preview.

Route Summary

One short time trial stage and six summit finishes make this one for the climbers. The race starts with mini-version of the spring classics crammed into one week with wind-ravaged roads, cobbles, sharp uphill finishes. All this action means there are relatively few stages for the sprinters, probably just five in the whole race. The Alps and Pyrenees are both raced hard with the Alps having four consecutive days of racing with the crowded Alpe d’Huez climax.

Stage 1 – Saturday 4 July

The grand départ happens the Dutch university city of Utrecht. Don’t call it a prologue, Stage 1 is a stage in its own right as it’s almost 14km, enough to open up some significant time gaps. There’s the race for the yellow jersey and the secondary contest between the overall contenders as they look to take time or limit their losses. The course is flat with only canal bridges and underpasses altering the elevation. There are many 90 degree bends but they’re wide. A course for the powerful over the skilled.

Stage 2 – Sunday 5 July

Flat but potentially dangerous. First the Netherlands is a crowded place with a lot of street furniture and once the course gets away from towns the roads get more exposed to the wind. The latter part passes along the coast before it finishes on top of the Pijlerdam flood defence. This is open terrain where a light breeze can feel angry and the peloton will be wary of crosswinds.

Stage 3 – Monday 6 July

Next in the spring classics smörgåsbord sees the race traverse Belgium to pick up the finale of the the Flèche Wallonne in the Ardennes including the “new” Côte de Cherave climb just before the finish which should help split things up. We’ll the overall contenders duelling with the spring classics specialists on the infamous Mur de Huy.

Stage 4 – Tuesday 7 July

The race returns to French soil, literally, as it heads for the dirty cobbled lanes. This is the fear stage where the overall contenders worry their chances will turn to dust in the cobblestone lottery. The pavé sectors used are hard but not the nightmare zones from Paris-Roubaix.

Stage 5 – Wednesday 8 July

A day for the sprinters. The relative lack of chances for the sprinters in this year’s race surely dooms any breakaway attempt, the best escapees can hope for is their name and jersey on TV.

Stage 6 – Thursday 9 July

A seaside trip for the race. Nice for a ride but sending 200 riders along the northern coast could be risky if the wind gets up. Over the half the stage hugs the coast and much of it passes atop exposed cliffs before an uphill finish in Le Havre designed for Peter Sagan and Michael Matthews.

Stage 7 – Friday 10 July

Another of the days for the sprinters.

Stage 8 – Saturday 11 July

A stage across Brittany, a region that loves cycling so expect big crowds. No more so that than finish at Mûr de Bretagne, a village of just 2,000 people but its population will swell tenfold or more for the day. This uphill finish was used in 2011 with Cadel Evans getting the better of Alberto Contador.

Stage 9 – Sunday 12 July

A 28km team time trial over a difficult route with lumpy, exposed roads. The awkward final climb to the finish will test team cohesion. A long transfer to the Pyrenees and a rest day follows, a chance to lick wounds and examine the time differences.

Stage 10 – Tuesday 14 July
Grand Colombier Stage
The first summit finish of the race and where the time gaps between the contenders can go from seconds to minutes. Over more than a week of racing in the big ring the sudden change in rhythm often surprises some. The Col de Soudet is an awkward climb with irregular gradients and long sections above 10% before it flattens out to the line.

Stage 11 – Wednesday 15 July

A classic day across the Pyrenees with the Aspin and Tourmalet pairing. The Tour has visited Cauterets often for a climb to a ski station above the valley, this time it arrives in the town itself for a more gradual finish but an uphill slog all the same.

Stage 12 – Thursday 16 July
Tour de France Stage 12

The names are not as legendary but the stats show this is a giant day with 4,500m of vertical gain including the tough Plateau de Beille summit finish, 15.8km at 7.9%. It’s also a scenic ride across quiet valleys where the Tour de France is the biggest thing to happen every year.

Stage 13 – Friday 17 July
Tour de France Stage 13

A hard transition stage with many uncategorised climbs including the final ramp to the finish line just outside Rodez where the race climbs up for almost 600m at 10% just outside the HQ of RAGT, an agricultural business that sponsors the Tour.

Stage 14 – Saturday 18 July

The route skirts the landscapes described in Tim Krabbé’s The Rider novel but it’s all about the finish with the arrival on the small airport run above Mende via the sharp Col de La Croix Neuve sometimes known as the Montée Jalabert.

Stage 15 – Sunday 19 July
Tour de France Stage 15

A breakaway or a bunch sprint? All the climbs are steady with slopes of 4,5 or 6% before the finish in Valence.

Stage 16 – Monday 20 July
Tour de France Stage 15

The race rides into the Alps to Gap and then climbs the Col de Manse, a regular climb followed by an infamously irregular descent, the place where Lance Armstrong once ploughed across a field and where Andy Schleck’s nervousness allowed Cadel Evans to take time and helping him to win the 2011 Tour de France.

Stage 17 – Wednesday 22 July
Tour de France Stage 17

A air of déjà vu with the repeat of this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné stage with the Col d’Allos and Pra Loup, itself a recreation of the 1975 Tour de France when Bernard Thévenet took the yellow jersey off Eddy Merckx. You’ll probably be sick of the story of Merckx’s defeat being told again and again come the day but it’s a great stage to watch. The Col d’Allos is a hard climb with a very technical descent before the more regular but still tiring climb to Pra Loup.

Stage 18 – Thursday 23 July
Tour de France Stage 18

An uphill start to launch the breakaways and then a road that climbs or descends all day, even that calmer part of the profile around the intermediate sprint is up the awkward Romanche valley, a tiring road that often has a persistent headwind. The giant Col du Glandon is tackled before the races plunges to the Maurienne valley before the scenic climb of the Lacets de Montvernier and then a fast and straight run to the finish.

Stage 19 – Friday 24 July
Tour de France Stage 19

4,600m of vertical gain in less than 140km and they’ve added a valley section just for the sake of it. The opening climb of the Col du Chaussy leads halfway up Col de Madeleine before descending back down the valley and then taking a flat route in one direction before returning back in the same direction to scale the Col du Glandon for the second time in the week then onto to the Croix de Fer and then the rough Col du Mollard. A twisty, shaded descent takes the riders back to the valley again before the ski station summit finish to La Touissure, 18km at 6.1% and the steepest slopes at the start.

Stage 20 – Saturday 25 July
Tour de France Stage 20

At just 110.5km this is a short and sharp stage designed to encourage explosive racing from the start. Only the best laid plans can go wrong as emergency roadworks for a late change means and the race abandons the Col du Galibier for the Croix de Fer. It’s a touch easier and there’s just a little more flat road to the foot of Alpe d’Huez, the climax of the 2015 Tour. Ideally there’s still a battle to be had between the overall contenders but a coronation in front of the giant crowds would be fitting too.

Stage 21 – Sunday 26 July
Tour de France Stage 21

Ah Paris! As ever the final stage is a bizarre event, a parade that mutates into a criterium. Sèvres is famous for its porcelain and where the winner’s trophy is made. The race will use the entire length of the Champs Elysées, circling the Jardin des Tuileries at one end and the Arc de Triomphe at the other for a full lap.

Rider list – updated every day
pending publication

The Jerseys

Tour de France jerseys

There are four jerseys in the race: yellow, green, polka dot and white.

Yellow: the most famous one, the maillot jaune, it is awarded to the rider with the shortest overall time for all the stages added together, the rider who has covered the course faster than anyone else. First awarded in 1919, it is yellow because the race was organised by the newspaper L’Auto which was printed on yellow paper. Today it is sponsored by LCL, a bank. New for 2015 is the use of time bonuses of 10-6-4 seconds for the finish of each stage except the time trials.

Green: the points jersey, which tends to reward the sprinters. Points are awarded at the finish line and at one intermediate point in the stage and the rider with the most points wears the jersey. The allocation has been tweaked to reward the stage winners, for more on this see May’s Tour de France Points Competition Scale Revealed. It is sponsored by Skoda, a car company

  • Flat stages / Coefficient 1: 50-30-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-7-6-5-4-3 and 2 points for the first 15 riders to finish
  • Hilly finish-Medium mountain stages / Coefficient 2 and 3: 30-25-22-19-17-15-13-11-9-7-6-5-4-3-2 points for the first 15 riders to finish
  • Mountain Stages / Coefficient 4 and 5: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points for the first 15 riders to finish.
  • Individual time trial stages / Coefficient 6 : 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points to the first 15 riders to finish
  • Intermediate sprints: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points respectively for the first 15 riders
  • For more on the stage coefficients, scroll down

Polka dot: also known as the “King of the Mountains” jersey, points are awarded at the top of categorised climbs and mountain passes, with these graded from the easier 4th category to the hors catégorie climbs which are so hard they are off the scale. In reality these gradings are subjective. Again the rider with the most points wears the jersey and the race celebrates the 40th anniversary of the jersey this year. It is sponsored by Carrefour, a supermarket.

  • Hors Catégorie passes: 25,20,16,14,12,10,8,6,4,2 points respectively for first 10 riders to finish
  • Category 1 climbs: 10,8,6,4,2,1 points
  • Category 2: 5,3,2,1 points respectively
  • Category 3: 2, 1 points
  • Category 4: 1 point
  • Points are doubled for the final climb on a stage with a summit finish (Stages 10, 12, 17, 19 and 20).

White: for the best young rider, this is awarded on the same basis as the yellow jersey, except the rider must be born after 1 January 1990, ie aged 25 or under. It is sponsored by Krys, a chain of opticians.

Obviously a rider can’t wear two jerseys at once, they’d get too hot. So if a rider leads several classifications, they take the most prestigious jersey for themselves and the number two ranked rider in the other competition gets to wear the other jersey. For example if a rider has both the yellow jersey and the mountains jersey they’ll wear yellow whilst whoever is second in the mountains jersey will sport the polka dot jersey. If a rider has all the jerseys the priority for the others is green, mountains then white.

There’s also a daily “most combative” prize awarded every day to the rider who has attacked the most or tried the hardest. It is a subjective prize and awarded by a jury. The rider gets to stand on the podium after the stage and wear a red race number the next day. It is sponsored by Antargaz, a bottled gas company.

Tour Drance Stage Coefficients

Stage Coefficients: as mentioned for the points jersey competition each stage is awarded a “coefficient” or rating which has an impact on the points available. These ratings are also used to determine the time cut for riders finishing within a percentage of the stage winner’s time.

The Prizes

  • Each day on a normal stage there’s €8,000 for the winner, €4,000 for second place and a decreasing scale down to a modest €200 for 20th place.
  • For the final overall classification in Paris, first place brings in €450,000 and the Sèvres porcelain “omnisports trophy”, awarded “in the name of the Presidency of the French Republic“.
  • The full breakdown is €450,000 for first place, €200,000 for second place, €100,000 for third place and then €70,000, €50,000, €23,000, €11,500, €7,600, €4,500, €3,800, €3,000, €2,700, €2,500, €2,100, €2,000, €1,500, €1,300, €1,200, €1,000, €950, €900, €850, €750, €700 until € 650 for 25th place.
  • Then 26th to 30th place collects €600
  • 31st to 40th place gets €550
  • 41st to 50th place gets €500
  • 51st to 90th place gets €450
  • every other rider to finish collects €400

There are other pots of money available in the race:

  • €350 a day to whoever wears the yellow jersey, €300 for the other jersey holders
  • €25,000 for the final winner of the green and polka dot jerseys
  • €20,000 for the final winner of the white jersey
  • There’s also money for the first three in the intermediate sprint €1,500, €1000 and €500.
  • The climbs have cash too with the first three over an HC climb earning €800, €450 and €300
  • The highest point in the race sees a prize when on Stage 17 the Henri Desgrange prize is awarded at the top of the Col d’Allos and is worth €5,000 and the highest point in the Pyrenees, the Col du Tourmalet on Stage 11, brings the Jacques Goddet prize and another €5,000
  • The “most combative” prize is awarded and worth €2,000 each day, the “Super combative” prize is awarded in Paris and the winner collects €20,000.
  • There’s also a team prize with €2,800 awarded each day to the leading team on the overall, as calculated by the best three riders overall and €50,000 for the final winners in Paris. Note the team prize is calculated by adding the time of the best three riders each day rather than the best three on GC. For example if a team has riders A, B and C make the winning break one day then their times for the stage are taken and added together. If riders X, Y and Z on the same team go up the road the next day, their times are taken. So it’s the times of a team’s best three riders each day as opposed to the best three riders overall.
  • In addition, every team that starts gets paid €51,243 to cover expenses. And should a squad make it to Paris with seven or more riders they stand to collect an additional €1,600 bonus for each rider the have left.

Tour de France pave

The unmissable stages
This is the Tour de France and there’s always something to watch but there are some stages that matter more than others. If you need to plan ahead and book space in your diary, here are some suggestions for the stages to watch.

  • Stage 4 – Tuesday 7 July: the cobbles
  • Stage 10 – Tuesday 14 July: the first summit finish and Bastille day
  • Stage 11 – Wednesday 15 July: the Pyrenees
  • Stage 12 – Thursday 16 July: more Pyrenees and the Plateau de Beille summit finish
  • Stage 14 – Saturday 18 July: the sharp climb to Mende just before the line
  • Stage 17 – Wednesday 22 July: the Col d’Allos, its descent and the Pra Loup finish
  • Stage 18 – Thursday 23 July: a day across the Alps with the Lacets de Montvernier
  • Stage 19 – Friday 24 July: up and down all day before summit finish at La Toussuire
  • Stage 20 – Saturday 25 July: the final act and the Alpe d’Huez climax

TV Guide
As a rule there will be live coverage each day from 2.00pm Euro time onwards, with the finish planned each day between 5.00pm and 5.30pm. Eight stages will be screened live (1, 2, 3, 9, 12, 19, 20 and 21)

The race will be broadcast on a variety of channels around the world. There is no free stream on the internet but you will find a feast of legitimate feeds from some local broadcasters and failing this links to pirate streams are available from the likes of and

Downloadable Calendar
iCal Tour de France
You can download the stages in your organiser, phone, computer: ical file.

I’ve produced the calendar but over to you to incorporate it with whatever software you might use. For more IT support, click here. One or two clicks and it’s on your phone / Outlook etc calendar.

50 thoughts on “Tour de France Guide”

  1. If Nibali isn’t leading after week 1 on this course then he should be. And, if he is, that will help him during the rest of the race as he will be able to mark and not need to attack so much. For Froome, Quintana and Contador you suspect that they will just hope to get through to weeks 2 and 3 where they can play to their strengths.

  2. Tim Krabbé’s book is called The Rider, not the Racer….otherwise this article has got me through my final hour before lunch. Great summary as ever.

      • This comment made me laugh. I don’t own a bike either (yet), I started watching cycling because a friend (who was in the TdF’s ‘housewife’ demographic if only in the very loosest sense) got me into it. I wound up here because I read up on new interests obsessively, and this is a really good place to do that.

        That said, I bought a inrng cap to support the blog, but wouldn’t dream of wearing it while wandering about on foot (as hilarious as the reactions of the numerous pro-kit-wearing cyclists around here would be)

      • You can be interested in watching other people riding bikes without having any burning urge to do so yourself.
        Personally, I quite enjoy cycling, but rarely do it – it just isn’t safe in Britain: the drivers are completely unaware of your existence – and I own a bike that must be worth about £60, which I picked up off a dead bloke (not literally, by the side of the street having seen him being mown down by a car).
        And even having watched bike racing for two and a half decades, I’m still utterly uninterested in, and ill informed about, bike tech.

      • It’s a testament to the broad knowledge and inclusive tone of the INRNG, that someone like me who has never ridden competitively or “even owns a bike”can come to garner such enthusiasm and gain such insight into pro cycling. Not just the racing and tech but also how the real world and its realpolitik affects the sport.
        To the point where I’m not only travelling to stages of TdF and the Tour of Britain every year but occasionally standing on a roadside in the Loire Valley watching a double stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe.

  3. If the wind really did get up on Stage 6 (or even stage 2) how much would it have to get up before we had talk of neutralisation.

    Would they allow the kind of gaps we saw in Gent Wevelgem?

    A lot of people abandoned that day, obviously different in a one day race, but could it lead to the field being decimated and lots of riders missing the time limit.

    • They shouldn’t have held the race that day, and a lot of riders / teams thought likewise.
      If the weather were that bad again, they would surely shorten the route considerably.

      • I didn’t see it – curses – but widely held to be the best race of the year. Cycling is a dangerous sport and that day didn’t appear to be any more dangerous than others. Given the choice between gale force winds and the kinds of downhills they do, I know which I’d fear more (not to mention sprints).

          • I think that Stage 2 should have been in your ‘unmissable’ list, unless it’s a completely calm day… if the wind howls… who knows what will go on.
            I heard Cav is very keen for a stiff breeze as he trusts his Etixx boys to handle it a lot better than most. Maybe he gets that yellow jersey after all. (altho I think Dumoulin wins the prologue and hangs on to it until the Mur…)

          • in the unlikely event it’s calm… well the last 10k will be a battle royal for the sprint trains at least… on a pure long flat run-in it will be interesting to see how many trains try and line it up… Etixx, Soudal, Cofidis, Giant, MTN-Q, Bora-Argon, plus the floaters like Sagan, plus the top GC guys and their ‘protection’ – it could be quite a crowded road…

  4. A great shame that there will be no Marcel Kittel to contest the sprints this year.
    That opens things up a bit, especially for the Champs Elysees.
    Number 6 for Cavendish there ?
    That’s got to be worth a pair of socks at least InRng !? Haha.

  5. Can’t wait. A mate and myself are following the final 7 stages by bike, thanks for the preview INRNG, already scouting out where we’re going to watch!
    (P.s. if anyone is driving from the Alps to Paris and has space for 2 intrepid cyclists and their bikes let me know!!!)

    • In the Tour de France, I think it did in the past (in the 50ties).
      More recently, the Giro had a summt finish at the citadelle on a very rainy day (i didn’t check but I think it was 2006 and that Stefan Schumacher won).
      And, every year it is the finish of a one day race, the grand prix de wallonie (at the moment, it is held in Spetember).

      Anyway, this is no tough climb (but quite scenic). This is not very steep, and only 2km long. The most famous side is cobbled, but these are very tiny cobbles, nothing to do with RVV’s ones (let alone Roubaix’s).

      • Thanks, I’ll try and find some clips on youtube. Looks like a great place for a circuit finish. Maybe once up, fast descent and then a second climb, assuming the peloton wouldn’t be catching its own tail.

  6. There are other tougher climbs near namur that would make a nice combo with citadelle. As well, there is an awkwardly cobbled and much steeper street that climbs up the citadelle. Would love to see it raced once!

  7. Hi INRNG
    just a note LA isn’t worth a mention anymore
    sorry for being petty but the more he is discussed the more relevance we give to his performance
    re; he has been struck from the list and should be reflected as such
    PS, thanks for the best blog on the planet

  8. I really dislike this course, it feels like a bad “modern” Vuelta. Not only the stages are ridiculously short, it gives zero chance to TTists. People like Tony Martin or Tom Dumoulin should at least have the possibility to get 3 or 4 minutes on the climbers and then try to defend them on the mountains, and have a decent chance of cracking the top-5 or so. They should have about the same chances as a Purito or a Pozzovivo. If the Tour was supposed to be like this year, Bahamontes and Van Impe would have 5 victories each, and Jimenez annd Breu would also have a couple in their bags.

  9. “New for 2015 is the use of time bonuses of 10-6-4 seconds for the finish of each stage except the time trials.”

    Pretty sure this only applies to stages 2 to 8?

Comments are closed.