2021 Tour de France Route

The route for the 2021 Tour de France has been unveiled and it marks a return to tradition with more time trials and fewer summit finishes. Here’s a closer look at the route…

The start in Brittany’s been known but not the route. We have two stages for punchy riders to start, Stage 1 from Brest to Landerneau ends with an uphill finish of 3km at 5.7% which is narrow and steep at the start and will eject many sprinters. Stage 2 goes to Mûr-de-Bretagne and and finishes on the long climb – long for Brittany at least – that’s been used three times since 2011 and a pedant’s delight Mûr is a place rather than mur which means a wall. This will also be the location of La Course, the women’s race and presumably the last edition before the new women’s eight day Tour de France (the name is still be decided) is launched in 2022.

Stages 3 and 4 are likely sprint stages but feature the Brittany coast so watch out if the weather gets up and as locals say “the weather is nice several times a day” as in it often rains a few times a day too. Because Tour director Christian Prudhomme doesn’t like to have more than two sprint stages in a row Stage 5 is a 27km time trial. This is short, a 30 minute effort to revise the general classification but not resolve it. Stage 6 is another for the sprinters to Châteauroux.

Stage 7 is where the Tour picks up the planned route that was in the books until the Copenhagen grand départ got dropped. At 248km it’s the longest in the race and the longest stage since 2000 but for all the talk of distance for this stage, for the race itself there are only two other days with more than 200km. The race crosses the Morvan, one of France’s smaller mountain ranges. If you’ve never been, think hills rather than Alpine peaks. The stage features the tough Signal d’Uchon – also known as Mont Julien – with 2km at over 10% and this comes 20km from the finish in the mining and metalworking town of Le Creusot.

Stage 8 and the race skirts the Jura to go into the Alps  via the steep Gorges du Bronze and onto the hard Col de Romme-Col de la Colombière combo before a descent into Le Grand Bornand.

Stage 9 is a short stage but big day in the Alps. After the steep start up the Domancy climb it’s onto the Col des Saisies. The Cormet de Roselend is climbed via the chocolate-box scenic Col du Pré and then the long climb up to Tignes, a big road and the kind where Ineos or Jumbo-Visma can control things. Stage 10 ought to be a sprint as it skirts the Alps to reach Valence, but there are some hills along the way and an uphill run in town just before the line, it should be similar to 2018 where Peter Sagan won from a top-10 that read more like a spring classic than a pure sprint.

Stage 11 is the crowd pleaser with Mont Ventoux featuring twice, first comes the ascent from Sault, the gentlest of the three routes up but that’s relative, it’s a big climb. There’s the high speed toboggan descent to Malaucène before looping around to Bédoin to tackle Ventoux’s classic ascent and then the descent again to Malaucène for the finish. Why twice? Why not, it’s a way to make a show. Also Mont Ventoux’s summit is undergoing works to the road and viewpoint to make it more cycle-friendly, all car-traffic will be diverted to reserve the top for cyclists and pedestrians and this is a way to show it off.

Stages 12 and 13 are likely sprint finishes but on terrain where the local wind, the mistral and vent d’autan respectively, can become famous for a day.

Stage 14 is a medium mountain stage, a nice ride on quiet roads for much of the year and a day for the breakaway as they reach the Pyrenees and features the Col de Saint-Louis, a new climb for the Tour de France.

Stage 15 goes to Andorra via the main road into the microstate, these are big climbs that sap riders before the sting in the tail, the Collada de Beixalis, a much steeper climb with plenty of hairpins and it’s been used by the Vuelta… and also the Tour in 2016 and this time it’s downhill to the finish.

Stage 16 resumes after the rest day in Andorra and helpfully the peloton doesn’t have to climb out of the principality – something that almost cost Jacques Anquetil the 1964 Tour – because the start is moved over to the other side of the Port d’Envalira and so there’s descent to ease riders back into the race and a stage to suit the breakaway before a finish in Saint-Gaudens.

Stage 17 is a dash across the plains to the Pyrenees with the Peyresourde and Val Louron-Azet featuring before the “new” Col du Portet, the upper section was tarmacked in 2018 just in time for the Tour de France’s visit, a day when Nairo Quintana won and Chris Froome cracked. It’s now the highest paved pass in the French Pyrenees and a hard climb.

Stage 18 is the third and final summit finish, just 130km to the hairpin frenzy of Luz Ardiden which hasn’t featured for a decade now. Stage 19 is surely a sprint stage as it leaves the Pyrenees to cross the Landes pine forests and instead of going to Bordeaux and the classic sprint finish it’s to Libourne instead, a large town just outside.

Stage 20 and a 31km time trial in the Bordeaux vineyards. Starting in Libourne, a time check in Pomerol and a finish Saint-Emilion means the route reads like a wine menu but it’ll be a flat course for specialists. Stage 21 is the traditional Parisian criterium.

The Verdict
Three summit finishes, seven sprint stages and two solo time trials makes the 2021 Tour route look a bit more traditional. It is a reset on recent years and their trend of shrinking time trials and ever more mountains, and yes it’s the most amount of TT kilometres since 2013.

However it’s a question of perspective, this is no throwback to the 2000s or the 1990s, it’s similar to… 2016 which also had two time trials, skipped much of northern France and featured Mont Ventoux along the way too. 2021’s time trials are short and the reason behind this is presumably the exchange rate between time trials and summit finishes, where all-round GC riders can bank on putting minutes into the pure climbers in a time trial but the climbers can only take seconds in a summit finish.

Mont Ventoux features as does the Col du Tourmalet but otherwise there are few celebrity climbs, for example there’s no Alpe d’Huez, no Galibier and no Izoard. The race only visits the Alps for two days, a third would have allowed for one of those. A lot of pre-presentation gossip was about the Tour going to the western end of the Pyrenees but this didn’t happen and there are few new climbs, the Signal d’Uchon is one – apparently tackled in Paris-Nice long ago when some walked up – and the small Col de Saint-Louis on Stage 14 is another.

There are only three summit finishes but the race doesn’t lack climbing, it’s just we have downhill runs to finishes in Grand Bornand, Malaucène and Andorra. The top of the final climb here is a de facto finish line as anyone with 20 seconds can hope to keep this to the line. Today’s L’Equipe quotes Thierry Gouvenou, the Tour’s technical director, as in the course designer, and he says since riders tend to attack late on a summit finish – Exhibit A: the Grand Colombier summit finish – this is a way of making the action last longer, the late attack isn’t in the last two minutes of the race, it’s now in the last 20 minutes thanks to the descent.

Who does it suit? Before we get to the GC contenders the course suits plenty with the opening stages looking ideal for Julian Alaphilippe, Wout van Aert, Marc Hirschi, Max Schachmann and possibly Mathieu van der Poel if he rides given his Olympic ambitions. Will the sprinters be happier? There are probably seven opportunities which is as much as 2020 and there now seems to be a house policy at ASO to avoid multiple sprint stages. As for the yellow jersey we don’t know who is starting and the Giro’s route will be unveiled in January so teams will decide on programs next year. But even assuming every GC contender possible takes part it’s not an obvious pick this far out. The time trials look ideal for Tom Dumoulin but that depends on whether he can recover form last seen in 2018, similar for Geraint Thomas and the relative short distance caps their gains and Chris Froome gets a course to work towards too. Remco Evenepoel might fancy his chances. Primož Roglič and Tadej Pogačar look likely candidates as all rounders, neither the best on a long climb nor a time trial but sufficiently good at both. Egan Bernal’s got work to do to get back and the time trials are a relative weakness but he’s an obvious pick. It’s easier to say who the course doesn’t suit, even if everything went right for Mikel Landa it’s not what he’d chose. The same for Thibaut Pinot who can sometimes do a good time trial but prefers a hilly course, Nairo Quintana even more so. It’s open to plenty and that’s no bad thing. Let’s just hope France is open to all next summer too…

26 June: Stage 1 : Brest > Landerneau (187 km)
27 June: Stage 2 : Perros-Guirec > Mûr-de-Bretagne (182 km)
28 June: Stage 3 : Lorient > Pontivy (182 km)
29 June: Stage 4 : Redon > Fougères (152 km)
30 June: Stage 5 : Changé > Laval (27 km ITT)
01 July: Stage 6 : Tours > Châteauroux (144 km)
02 July: Stage 7 : Vierzon > Le Creusot (248 km)
03 July: Stage 8 : Oyonnax > Le Grand-Bornand (151 km)
04 July: Stage 9 : Cluses > Tignes (145 km)
05 July: Tignes rest day
06 July: Stage 10 : Albertville > Valence (186 km)
07 July: Stage 11 : Sorgues > Malaucène (199 km)
08 July: Stage 12 : Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux > Nîmes (161 km)
09 July: Stage 13 : Nîmes > Carcassonne (220 km)
10 July: Stage 14 : Carcassonne > Quillan (184 km)
11 July: Stage 15 : Céret > Andorre-la-Vieille (192 km)
12 July: Andorra rest day
13 July: Stage 16 : Pas-de-la-Case > Saint-Gaudens (169 km)
14 July: Stage 17 : Muret > Col de Portet (178 km)
15 July: Stage 18 : Pau > Luz-Ardiden (130 km)
16 July: Stage 19 : Mourenx > Libourne (203 km)
17 July: Stage 20 : Libourne > Saint-Emilion (31 km ITT)
18 July: Stage 21 : Chatou > Paris (112 km)

69 thoughts on “2021 Tour de France Route”

  1. What do you think is behind the move to “reset” the route? Maybe the organisers think the tour needs to be more distinguishable from the Giro and the Vuelta in terms of parcours? it does seem that in recent years the tour has been chasing the other two for short sharp shock style stages

    • The start in Brittany played its part, crossing the flat lands meant several sprint stages in a row so they wanted to drop a time trial in for variety. But it probably goes in cycles anyway, the Tour was due a return to the norm but it’s still a new norm, if 58km is a lot of time trialling it’s not much and there are still more mountain stages than there are sprint stages.

    • It’s possibly cos the big teams (Ineos/JV) will bring the mega-train to the TDF thus nullifying the big mountain stages. They can be much easier to control than more rolling terrain. So in recent years the bigger the mountain stage sometimes the more the big trains can make them quite boring. Less so in Giro/Vuelta where the teams aren’t quite as strong

  2. Good to see the often dismissed and less wealthy Pyrenees Orientales feature, and the return of the Col du Puymorens for the first time since 1993, a classic from the 60s and 70s.

      • Not sure why they don’t make them do all three climbs (someone is going to mention the cinder track, but that’s not a road). They’d be busy at club Cingles…
        (Did the Cingles for my stag, couldn’t face doing the double though).

  3. Interesting to hear the reason behind the downhill finishes, makes perfect sense I suppose. I wonder, though, how long it will be until a top GC man or two crashes and the whole thing is considered a bit too risky.

    The exchange rate between climbs and time trials is interesting. The Angliru is about as hard as any climb can reasonably be and even there the time differences were tiny really, if we consider Carapaz as a climber and Roglic as a time trialist. Historically its the climbs that have provided all the myth and drama at Grand Tours with all sorts of heroic stories from Coppi, Gaul, Merckx and whoever else. Now its the time trials. You pretty much have to have a time trial as the last proper stage to decide who the winner will be or else the top riders, whoever they are, will be more or less tied on time after following each other up to the top of a series of hills. Everyone is a climber. And everyone seemingly is towards the upper limit of how fast you can possibly go up a hill. Some of them can time trial and some of them can’t to varying degrees. And the ones that really can’t, Lopez or Bardet for example, don’t deserve to be in the reckoning.

    • Agreed on “everyone is a climber now”. Top prospects are always good against the clock as they are climbing up the mountains. I suspect there’s less and less room for pure climbers like Bernal or Quintana?
      It just feels that way.

      • I’ve often found the moniker ‘pure climber’ to be an odd one when applied to riders like Quintana. As the post above suggests, all the top riders climb as well as each other, so when we say ‘pure climber’ what we actually mean is ‘bad time triallist’ !

    • it’s not a new thing tho, good time trialists have always dominated over “pure” climbers in GTs. Anquetil was 100% kill them in the TT, defend in the mountains. Big Mig. Merckx, Hinault, Fignon, Lemond (and yeah, Lance) all excellent TTists. Conversely pure climbers rarely win GTs. Bahomontes, Pantani, Quintana, etc if they get any in their careers tend to get one or two when the parcours/luck (i.e. better time TTists not showing up, or withdrawing partway thru) swung their way. Bardet was only ever a “contender” bc the ASO tried to tilt the parcours in his favor/against Froome. Lopez basically a Colombian Virenque – or, a lesser Quintana.

      • It’s true, but they also had much more time trial to work with. The winners have always been able to time trial but in the past the mountains saw great long distances attacks that just aren’t possible now for a variety of reasons.
        And Lopez a Colombian Virenque… go upstairs and wash your mouth out with soap. ‘Superman’ can only dream to approach that level of cool. (Virenque was my first cycling hero, despite all the obvious stuff).

      • Agreed, the difference in recent years has been bringing these climbers into the GC battle when often they’ve been stage hunters in the past although in rare years they’ve triumphed, think Andy Schleck, Sastre, Pantani, Van Impe etc. More importantly idea has been to have more suspense that lasts longer and one way of doing this is to have a bigger cast of characters in contention late into the race.

        • Kind of, but historically Gaul, Van Impe, Pantani etc were the best climbers of their era and could outclimb the GC men even if they did get mowed down in the TT (though I think Gaul was quite good at TTs, but we all probably would be if we got stuck into enough amphetamine). Now climbers are worse at climbing that than the GC contenders, Froome, Roglic, Pogacar or whoever, and only ever win a stage by getting up the road and hoping the GC men don’t have their teams chase them. I think it must be to do with modern training and racing. Like they know that 6.5-7 watts per kilo is the upper limit of what is possible so they all train to be able to do that for an hour and then race at around that pace (guided by their computers) so that nobody can attack because it physically isn’t possible. You’d define a climber usually as someone who can deal in sudden accelerations on climbs but now the pace is so high there is nowhere for them to accelerate to, so now they are all basically Indurain/Ullrich/Wigginsing it up at a high constant tempo because if you don’t you’ll get dropped.

          • I wonder if it is self fulfilling – i.e. GC candidates get the top level of resources, best coaching, top sport science, nutrition planning etc that allows them to be amongst the best climbers in the world?
            It would also appear that better climbers are out there – for one stage at a time – but that they probably can’t be better climbers consistently through out a grand tour. Maybe that is to do with top climbers being of ‘slighter’ build than the GC all rounders who have a bit more reserves and tolerate the fatigue and cold a bit better. It must be draining being a slight guy and powering along at close to max watts on a flat stage, when a larger guy can be doing 80% their max.

          • To be honest I think the science of climbing, and perhaps also nutrition/energy costs are a little better known (I would also throw ‘preparation’ into that but I’m not looking to open that can).
            The days of the romantic climbers such as Robert Millar, Richard Virenque, Tommy Voeckler (though perhaps not a true climber) and Pantani just used to saunter off during a stage. In 1985 and 1986 TdF Hinault and Lemond did similar sorts of raids.
            But since US postal team we now we have science of the trains. I sort of point the finger at Ferrari a little here as he appears to have worked out the mechanics for this to some degree – my clearest evidence is Lance’s mid-race call to him to see whether he should be chasing a Pantani after he disappeared off the front in 2001. In Hamilton’s book, Ferrari crunches the numbers and tells Bruyneel to tell Lance that, no, Pantani is working too hard and will crack, which he duly did.
            The only other romantic climbers I remember since then is Andy Schleck, Floyd Landis and Michael Rasmussen, who paid little heed to the science of the sport, and perhaps the rules about PEDs (perhaps ought to throw Chris Froome’s Giro winning move in there too).
            The calculation, energy cost x effort, or whatever it is, makes swashbuckling raids pointless and now it’s just down to breakaways to create the romance. Teams seem to have this nailed.

      • All this talk of needing to be a climber and a TT specialist; Well, what’s the role of bonifs in this?
        This year of all years has seen us treated to the closest GTs of all time. It’s been the riders who dare to stay with the trains, who have the performance to cover the moves, the top-end fitness to sprint after a climb, the skill to gain on the descents, the power to TT that have won. And they have to get to the line first to pick up those bonifs. It’s not enough to sit-in and play the averages any more.
        – Isn’t this bike racing? AND there are enough of these all-round riders to give us some fine inspiration and entertainment. Remember, too that you don’t notice those riders who aren’t quite in this top drawer unless they evidently lack in just one area (..looking at you, Ilnur Zakarin) so really, if you feel the racing has missed a Lance or Indurain; isn’t that an issue in the watcher’s mind, and nowhere else?

    • This is why I think they should have a 15k Paris TT on the final Saturday then the Champs on Sunday. Accept the fact that the big spectable and drama is going to be the final TT not the final mountain stage. At least they should try this one year.

  4. Not sure about this route, it is certainly more traditional but it does seem to be missing something, the finish at Tignes doesnt really replace one of the big alpine cols. The Giro seems to include high altitude cols more often than the Tour these days. A ride up to a bunch of high altitude tower blocks hardly replaces the drama of, say, the Galibier. Not sure about the concept of the extending the action by having downhill finishes, most often not much happens and it encourages risk taking by the riders.

    Tom Dumoulin certainly comes to mind, Chris Froome too (assuming both are recovered by then). I cant see this route really favouring Richard Carapaz but maybe one last opportunity for Geraint Thomas (I am dubious about Egan Bernal’s chances based on media reports of his troubles, cant see this suiting Adam Yates so maybe TGH gets an early chance at co leadership at the Tour). Difficult to know where Primoz Roglic or Tadej Pogacar will be but maybe would suit either. Perhaps this is a route for the older riders? If it wasnt for the Olympics you might even throw Rohan Dennis into the mix.

    • It does have the Ventoux twice but I agree it does lack some serious Alpine altitude. It lacks a Galibier, Iseran or a Bonette perhaps. A cynic could say a bit more time trialling with few really long climbs and summit finishes, with downhill finishes instead, might be an acknowledgement that Bardet and Pinot are a lost cause and all hope is with Alaphilippe!

    • jc – I agree that if Chris Froome needed any incentive (clearly he doesn’t, this route is it. Same goes for Dumoulin. Froome seems to be getting just a little bit stronger each day in this Vuelta and banking a very late season GT, or even most of one, in his legs is surely going to provide a good platform for next season. If he gets into the Froome form of his glory years, he’ll definitely give the young guns a run for their money. Unfortunately, it’s a very big if.

  5. In recent years the winner of the Tour won the Tour of California the previous year. So this winner of next year’s Tour will be cancellation. Don’t argue. It’s science.

  6. It seems like a course for more of the boring, old Sky TTT style (Ineos, JV) on important stages. This course also looks like itll be good for a TT guy to do some marginal doping. Ugh.

  7. Signal d’Uchon is very hard indeed, my legs almost died there… Some old cyclist also told me the story of this old Paris-Nice where the riders had to walk because their gears weren’t adapted (Hinault-era if I remember well). Do we already know exactly the roads of this stage ?

    • If you go on YouTube they have those 3D trails which give you the vicinity of the roads – I was checking the Nimes stage as I wanted to see how close it goes to my father-in-law’s house. You’d need to know the area, but you can get a fairly good idea of where it goes. I wouldn’t be planning to stake my tent road side on the basis of it.

  8. Thanks for the great summon on the upcoming TdF route. I like it that there are more TT kms in it again.
    Another question: Is there something like a heatmap of the roads that the tour has been using ever since?

  9. A nice distraction to think about summer cycling races when it’s hard to look beyond the next 48 agonizing hours and the ever darker-seeming pandemic winter.

  10. More TT km now that Froome is out of the picture. The route planners seemed to be doing their best to stop a Sky procession for most of the past decade. That’s not necessary now that the big dog is on his last legs.

  11. I always think there’s a slight subtext to the routes, ie:

    I feel like in 2012 they had a route to help Bradley Wiggins and open up the British market.

    As Sky started to dominate the took away the TTs to shrink Froomes advantage over Quintana.

    Then those routes also began to help the French prospects so they continued…

    With this route, it seems to be so similar to 2016 and suited to Froome I’m wondering whether ASO are looking to help Froome to a fairytale fifth? Even if it’s extremely doubtful he’ll reach the necessary level.

    Just a hunch.

  12. Thanks for the write-up – as good as ever.

    Personal preference would be for at least one full on mountain epic, a la the Stelvio stage in the Giro this year.

  13. I like this route (except I’m in the Alps so would prefer more stages over this way but we can’t have everything).
    Having higher and harder summit finishes only serves to slim down the potential winners to the climbers. Far more interesting to have a wider range of ‘rider profiles’ like TTers, baroudeurs, even ace descenders, and of course climbers (who will have to attack with the knowledge that there isn’t multiple climbs of 15km at 9% in their pocket) in with a shout of winning the yellow jersey. But I draw the line at sprinters 😀

    • In short, it’s a course Julian Alaphilippe should thrive on IMHO. It seems the French have given up on Pinot being a yellow jersey contender.

      • When there are more mountains or longer climbs, it’s made to favor Pinot and Bardet.
        When there are more TT stages and shorter climbs, it’s made to facor Alaphilippe.

        So, basically, whatever the course is, it’s an ASO plot to favor the French riders?

        BTW, when did Alaphilippe decide to go for the overall?

        • These conspiracy theories never quite stand up, eg the pro Bardet route has a giant team time trial etc. ASO might quite like a French winner but they really want a contest, the Tour has a big audience in France and a part of this depends on French success (although millions tune in for the scenery too) but audiences around the world drop off if the contest gets boring. TV is responsible for a lot of the route design today.

          • A very happy co-incidence that the type of punchy route that TV/viewers like these days is also the ideal route for their most talented cyclist since perhaps Virenque. I don’t even think there is anything wrong with tailoring the route to your best domestic cyclist *if* he is good enough. Allaphillipe is, Bardet never really was. Or at least his talents were not specific enough to have a route tailored to him and him alone. Allaphillipe does.

            I’m also wondering if after 2019 ASO asked him if he wanted to have a crack at the GC again in 2020 – he said no, he wanted to have a last crack at the big one day races and then in 2021 he would focus himself on the TDF. Yeah it’s all a bit conspiracy-theoryish but the route definitely reflects it. And like I said, it’s not *that* much of a drama really. And the route has been trending this way anyway. A happy not-really-coincidence

          • Still not Alaphilippe’s route for me. The time trials are flat when he likes climbs he can attack, there are several long climbs like Tignes, Ventoux, Tourmalet, Luz Ardiden. Also his big goal is the Olympic road race (fingers crossed it happens) and to top that he’s just not made for the GC, he likes putting on a show rather than sitting on the wheels.

        • If Alaphilippe is in yellow after 1 and a half, 2 weeks, you think he’s not going to go for it? That’s not to say he won’t be cracked, but there’s no way anyone gives up the yellow jersey because it wasn’t their goal to begin with. Just look at Almeida at the Giro. And Alaphilippe himself at the Tour.

    • 🤣

      The only proper response to this is an emoji.

      On the other hand, Tom of Hackney is too much a stretch trying to fit the “Thomas” theme.

      Somehow ended up flipping the Instagram feed of the Hackney “T”, really level headed young chap. Especially moved by his post about photographer Tao who was fighting cancer and their friendship over the years.

      Incidentally, a Chinese friend not that much into road racing inquired if he had any Chinese ancestry. To which I can only point him to babynames.com

  14. One query – how is the Col du Portet at 2,215m “now the highest paved pass in the Pyrenees” when the race also includes the Port d’Envalira at 2,408m? The Envalira was definitely paved last time I rode over it.


  15. The route is one big ‘come get me’ plea to Allaphillipe. All those downhill finishes. Even the first 2 stages are puncheur ones. Get him in yellow early on, set him up for stage wins…and who knows what else? We’ve seen that QS can put together a team for GC if they really want to. This is the big one. He’s got the rainbow jersey now, maybe he can switch his focus a bit.

    • There’s not much more for now, it hasn’t been launched yet either as a concept, let alone the route. It will start on the same day as the Tour finishes and was supposed to start in 2021 but the Olympics have been postponed to 2021 the women’s race has to be moved back too given half the field will go to Tokyo. As the men ride into Paris the women should ride out and it’ll be an eight day race finishing the following Sunday. It’s likely to go to places the Tour visits, ASO has a habit of cross-selling, eg towns that host a stage of Paris-Nice get the Tour, this time ASO can say to towns wanting the Tour they should host the women’s race too. Hopefully a good mix of stages with sprints, mountains etc and a nice way to beat the post-Tour blues.

    • Not sure what the point is here, this is an old tabloid article that clearly is no longer pertinent.

      The start of the Tour in Denmark would have made it impossible to ride both the Tour and the Olympics in 2021, because the Tour start date was pushed back to accommodate the Euro football cup in Denmark. But the Tour starts from Brittany now, and a week earlier, so the same calendar as we have every 4 years.

      • Do you think it´s the fact that it is the first few days, hence a bit more “hectic” and “stressy” than once the race “settles down”? Or is it the track itself, as presumably it wouldn´t be regarded as any worse than throwing in sectors of Roubaix that we have seen in the past? Having ridden (ok, not “raced” and I´m the first to concede it´s entirely different), Roubaix a few times and having been fortunate enough to both ride the Tro Bro Sportive and zone hop the race for Team Joker (when Tiller crashed on the last lap!) myself, I´d say the ribon is a bit more forgiving.

  16. Haven’t read through all the comments (63 at the moment) to know if this has already been brought up, but having ridden down the Malaucene descent off Mt Ventoux a few times, I can’t imagine how the motos are going to keep out of the way of the cyclists. That is a wicked fast descent. And doing it twice? Hope they replace the brake pads/rotor pads on all the bikes the night before.
    I guess two times down the Bedouin route would be worse, as there’s more hard braking on that one. The drop to Malaucene may not require too many touches to the brakes for most of the pros.

    • It does seem a special descent for vehicles, ride it on a normal day and you often smell burned brake pads and clutch plates from tourists’ cars more than the pine forests. But the Tour should be ok the motos are used to long mountain stages and ASO sends all its staff who drive/ride race vehicles on special driving courses, hopefully nobody is going to be on the brakes all the way down.

  17. The romantic in me thinks it’s not a bad route for 2016 version of Cavendish, i think that’s wishful thinking given his lack of team and lack of results for 2+ years. One last hurrah would be an ending that matched his career. It will be interesting to see if he prioritises getting back in the road or continuing to chase the illusive gold olympic medal he covets

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