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 inrng.com/tour or use the links at the top of the page (menu if you’re on a mobile device)
|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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A breakaway or a bunch sprint? All the climbs are steady with slopes of 4,5 or 6% before the finish in Valence.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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
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 cyclingfans.com and steephill.tv.
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.