Tour de France Stage Profiles

2023 Tour de France route map

The profiles for all the stages of the 2023 Tour de France aren’t yet on the official race website but they’re been made available to the media and so if you want them all on one page or just to see one in particular, read on.

Stage 1 – Saturday 1 July

A series of sharp climbs that will thwart a sprint finish and stress out the peloton as riders jostle and joust for position going into these climbs. The final two of Vivero and Pike Bidea are staples from the Circuito de Getxo which will see most sprinters ejected and dejected before a flat finish in Bilbao.

Stage 2 – Sunday 2 July

The Clasica San Sebastian stage but only by approximation. The Jaizkibel climb is tackled from the eastern side, the opposite of the Klasikoa in August. It’s the longest stage of the race and as Christian Prudhomme quipped, the longest stage has never been this short. If the first two stages were announced long ago, it’s still worth dwelling on the prospect of fervent Basque fans and routes that invite racing from the start, even the polka dot jersey will be hard fought.

Stage 3 – Monday 3 July

A coastal procession to Bayonne for the first time since 2003 when Tyler Hamilton won after a long solo raid. This time it’s likely sprint finish but there are some climbs along the way.

Stage 4 – Tuesday 4 July

A tribute to André Darrigade who hails from Dax, the 93 year old was the best sprinter of his generation in the 1950s and still owns a newspaper and book store in Biarritz. The finish on the motor racing circuit means a likely sprint, dragster style.

Stage 5 – Wednesday 5 July

The first mountain stage as the race makes an incursion into the Pyrenees via the Col de Soudet and then the tough Marie-Blanque where the top part has 10% gradients. There’s the descent to Laruns, the same finish as 2020 where March Hirschi got caught and Tadej Pogačar won the stage.

Stage 6 – Thursday 6 July

The Aspin-Tourmalet combo is the hardest part of the stages. The climb to Cauterets, a summit finish? It does climb to a ski station but it’s 5% for a lot of the way as the road runs up a valley where the presence of an old rail/tram line proves the gradient isn’t too hard but it does tilt up towards the top.

Stage 7 – Friday 7 July

A start with a nod to former Tour winner, and tormentor of Eddy Merckx, Luis Ocaña, then stage for the sprinters as the race returns to Bordeaux after a long absence since 2010. It’s almost always a sprint finish because the terrain is flat and the city has those big, long haussmanian avenues.

Stage 8 – Saturday 8 July

A few hills along the way to sap the sprinters before a finish in the porcelain-making city of Limoges, last visited in 2016 when Marcel Kittel just beat Bryan Coquard in the uphill sprint. There’s another uphill finish, but it’s different one, slightly longer and with a tight turn at the foot.

Stage 9 – Sunday 9 July

Much is already being made of the Poulidor connection, the start in the town where he lived, the finish on the mythical Puy de Dôme volcano and there’ll be plenty more from the archives to come but it should be a good day’s sport to look forward to as well. Normally it’d be a 150km but the route has 3,600m of vertical gain as it seeks more climbs going via the Lac de Vassivière and Volvic before it reaches Clermont-Ferrand. From here it tackles a tough climb to get out of the city just to reach the flanks of the Puy. This will thin out the peloton before the final climb which is likely to be closed to the public… and team cars alike.

Stage 10 – Tuesday 11 July

A rest day in Clermont-Ferrand and then a hilly stage from a volcano theme park to show off more of the area, this is Romain Bardet country and a likely breakaway day with lumpy roads before the finish in Issoire.

Stage 11 – Wednesday 12 July

A flat stage across the old Bourbonnais region to Moulins, a passage across some of depopulated France’s empty area, past villages where many houses have the shutters are closed all day. With Moulins the Tour can finally end a trivia question because it’s the only departmental capital in mainland France never to host a stage.

Stage 12 – Thursday 13 July

After lumpy roads out of Roanne the race will tackle climbs like the Croix Montmain – 6km at 7% – and Croix Rosier as it climbs among the monts du beaujolais before a rendez vous in Belleville. A promising breakaway stage and scenic if the sun’s shining.

Stage 13 – Friday 14 July

The 14 juillet stage. There’s a passage across part of the Jura plateau before dropping down to the Rhone valley. Here the Grand Colombier is climbed from Culoz via the lacets, this is a beast of a climb comparable in raw stats to the Galibier and although without altitude, but it’s got attitude and views galore.

Stage 14 – Saturday 15 July

A hard day that’s almost always up or down, the race turns into the Chablais Alps to start the climbing via several short passes before the tough Col de Ramaz and then the mystical Joux-Plane, a confounding place that has seen many riders over the years label it their most feared climb. It’s chased by the classic toboggan descent into Morzine.

Stage 15 – Sunday 16 July

Another daunting day in the Alps and with 180km, what counts for a long stage these days in the Tour. After some gentler climbs to help the breakaway go clear, the second half is packed with tough ascents to the point where the Croix Fry is a categorised climb but the Aravis after isn’t, as if the route has too many mountains to label. The finish is described as “Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc” in the same way Ryanair describes Beauvais as Paris. The actual finish is in Le Bettex, a summit finish where Romain Bardet won in 2016, while Saint-Gervais down below hosts the rest day.

Stage 16 – Tuesday 18 July

The only time trial of the race and at 22km, the least amount of time trialling since 2015. It borrows roads used in the 2016 Tour’s time trial. It won’t be over that quickly because there’s a rise out of Passy and then the steep Domancy climb above Sallanches to the finish in Combloux, it’s not for the heavyset rouleurs. Don’t call it a mountain time trial but it’s not far off.

Stage 17 – Wednesday 19 July

Only 166km but with 5,100m of climbing and if we have to deploy the term, it’s the étape reine, the royal stage or “Queen Stage” as the literal translation goes. There’s Alpine aristocracy with Col de Saisies, the Cormet de Roselend… and then a climb labelled “Longfoy” but actually the Col du Tra. This long gradual pass was supposed to be climbed in 2019 on the last mountain stage but a landslide closed the roads and so it was never taken and if the climb isn’t fierce the descent is one of the most technical with over 30 hairpins in 9km. Then the drag up to Meribel which, despite the 8%, feels like a mere warm-up for what’s to come: the formidable Col de la Loze. Surely Europe’s most difficult cycle path with its ever-changing gradients and the 20% wall section at the top. This time it’s no summit finish, instead it’s down a steep road and only just wider than the cycle lane up before reaching Courchevel and a finish on the altiport.

Stage 18 – Thursday 20 July

A scenic route out of the Alps via the Lac du Bourget and the Rhône valley crossing some roads used earlier in the race before a flat finish with a very long finishing straight in Bourg-en-Bresse.

Stage 19 – Friday 21 July

Moirans has a population of just 2,120 but gets to host its second start after 2016. Is the mayor a big cycling fan? It’s a touristy place though for summer with campsites, river gorges and more while Poligny is the capital of Comté cheese, visit for the real thing rather than the slab of latex usually sold in supermarkets. But we’re left riffing on the tourism because the course doesn’t challenge too much, it’s another sprint finish? However there are some hills and desperate teams will want to salvage something via a breakaway win.

Stage 20 – Saturday 22 July

A dash across the Vosges with 133km and 3,600m of vertical gain and borrowing the Markstein finish used by Le Tour Femmes last summer but climbed here from the other side via the Platzerwaswel instead of the Grand Ballon. It’s a hard course after three weeks but not infernal, there’s talk of steep sections but don’t get sucked in by the hype, they’re rare points along the course. It’s more a slog with few recovery sections or valley roads to chase on.

Stage 21 – Sunday 23 July

The usual 60km parade that mutates into a 60km criterium and the finish on the Champs Elysées.

Closer to the start of the race you’ll also find reference material on the race rules like time bonuses, the points scale for the green and polka-dot jersey, time cuts and more as usual at

85 thoughts on “Tour de France Stage Profiles”

  1. First impression is that its an incredibly hilly route. Theres 2/3 sprint stages? The TT isn’t really worth talking about. Classic Prud’homme. The map of the route is pretty unsatisfying but the racing probably will be. Pogacar will be there after all and there’s plenty for him to go at there.

    • “The map of the route is pretty unsatisfying but the racing probably will be” Wait! You mean the racers might make the race? You also wrote: “Pogacar will be there after all…” As in one of those attacking guys in the Chiappucci mode?
      A lot of whining was done about the Giro’s transfer to Rome..will they start up on LeTour’s to Paris? It’s not 700 kms…but 2/3 of it.

      • I meant that it covers very little of France and isn’t what it’s name suggests it should be.
        Maybe the transfers wouldn’t be so long if the stages weren’t so short and all in the same places? Maybe those long flat stages had a purpose after all. Its a tour by bike, not bus/aeroplane.
        Chiappucci was no Pogacar. Even with the massive advantage of being one of the first on the EPO train.

        • In results you are correct – but in creating excitement with attacks El Diablo was cut from the same cloth. Maybe you weren’t following cycling back then?
          And to claim his exploits were solely from “the massive advantage of being one of the first on the EPO train.” is like claiming all of Froome’s results were from asthma meds.

        • Not a Chiappucci fan here, but just as one must say that Pogi (whom I’m a fan of!) has already achieved more than Chiappucci in his whole career, it must also be said that Chiappucci went attacking in an *even more* daring way on some specific occasions, and eventually bringing home total or partial success, thus reaching extremes which we haven’t yet seen in Pogacar – until now -, although Pogacar is of course impressively daring himself. He doesn’t need to go and try even harder? Guess so. But El Diablo deserves to be ackowledged for what he actually did.

          The whole EPO ruminating is just that, overthinking with a pinch of subtle whining, too. Just go and google “Huub Jacobs” and “EPO”. Lots of people took EPO, some of them as soon or sooner than Chiappucci and the rest. Only, just very very few of them carried out the same kind of exceptional feats. So, you can say at most that it was a necessary condition, surely not a sufficient one in order to make such a difference, even less so if the difference is in attitude and racing approach or strategy. You know, I suppose, that people are still being caught for EPO from time to time. Have some googling on the results of these current dopers, too.

          • Chiapucci”s victory at Sestriere in the 92 Tour was epic in every way. In the break on the first climb.
            Whittled the break down on the 2nd climb. Alone over the Mighty Iseran. Alone over Mont Cenis.
            Held off Bugno and Indurain for 60 k through the valley to the final climb of Sestriere.
            The tifosi went out of their minds. The moto couldn’t get through the crowd so Chiapucci passed it and waved the crowd out of his way.
            The day I saw that I said I’m buying the poster.
            That poster is still hanging in my museum.
            Find it on YouTube. It was incredible!!

          • “has already achieved more than Chiappucci in his whole career,”
            So has BigMig, Chris Froome and a whole lot of other….BORING racers. My argument is for attackers, racers who liven things up, even if they don’t end up on the highest place on the podium.
            Isn’t that what we want? It’s what I want. I believe in other circumstances El Diablo could have won more since so many times he was chased down in the race to be 2nd (and first Italian) while BigMig’s team sat around doing nothing, but that’s just coulda/woulda/shoulda.
            Pogacar is certainly a great example of what most of us want, a guy who tries despite what the conventional wisdom and pundits might think and manages to pull it off. Nibali was one of these too IMHO, but they’re too rare, especially in the daze of radio-controlled racing.

          • Larry, do you ever read complete sentences (or indeed whole paragraphs)? Now it seems to me that you´ve again stopped reading mid-sentence and rushed off to type a rant on one of your favourite subjects (instead of trying to figure out what the commentator you´re responding to has actually said and meant).

            Please understand that this is not meant so much as a comment on you personally but as a more general expression of dismay about how and why discussions too often go sour and turn out frustrating not only everyone involved but readers alike.

            PS Chiapucci was before my time – meaning before I began to follow road cycling beyond knowing who Eddy Merckx was (but you can ask me any question about cross-country skiing or skijumping in those years!) – and I must thank you all for pointing him out for me.

          • gabriele, you have a tendency to be vague and cryptic in your suggestions. In this case I’m curious what you’re specifically implying. What should we infer from the story of Huub Jacobs regarding EPO use in the peloton?

          • @KevinK
            Cryptic? The next sentence makes clear enough what I was trying to point out:

            “Lots of people took EPO, some of them as soon or sooner than Chiappucci and the rest. Only, just very very few of them carried out the same kind of exceptional feats. So, you can say at most that it was a necessary condition, surely not a sufficient one in order to make such a difference, even less so if the difference is in attitude and racing approach or strategy”.

            Huub Jacobs was reportedly providing PDM with EPO since the very start of the 90s, but although they became indeed notable for their collective athletical prowess as a team, none of them came even close to the sort of cycling feat which made Chiappucci so famous. And it’s not liking they were being conservative when pharmacy was concerned: in fact, they’re rather known for sort of a different cycling event, not exactly a Sestriere, more of a Sestr-exit.

          • Thursday – Yes, I DO read the entire post unless it’s from Anon Y. Mous, those I just ignore. Why can’t I point out a dismissive (but oh so obvious) statement like “Pogacar has already achieved more than Chiappucci in his whole career,”? And further that my point had zero to do with “achievements” (which I assume to be times on the top step of a podium) but creating excitement by attacking even when it was unlikely to succeed. Perhaps the author didn’t pay attention to cycling during El Diablo’s career but as others here have noted, his exploits were pretty damn exciting even when they resulted in nothing more than BigMig and his team having to stand up on the pedals and chase..for a change. Cycling needs more characters like him.

        • Draw a line from Bordeaux to Geneva or maybe Strasbourg and the terrain north of this is often very flat, so the idea is to go to where the terrain allows more variety. The unwritten rule is no more than two consecutive sprint stages.

          Of course this leaves Bretons and Normands enraged etc as the Tour is spending less time in these places, or revising old haunts like Mûr-de-Bretagne. It’s why the Roubaix cobbles are being used more often too these days.

        • I reread the article about Joux-Plane, and while Inrng just noticed that Pantani had climbed some parts of it on grand plateau, the Pantani police was here to defend il Pirata : Larry and gabriele. And now you attack Chiapucci : la polizia Pantani can also defend il Diablo ! 🙂
          Just joking, of course, don’t take it in a bad way. I remember dreaming about Chiapucci when I was a child (I had no TV and nobody cared about cycling in my family, I was just fantasizing about two or three stages I could see at my grandparents’ and some article I could read).

  2. Thanks very much for this – very useful.

    Two interesting opening stages. Bafflingly uninspiring final three meaningful days. Why would you have three flat stages out of the last four? And Stage 20 is preposterously short.

    The shortness of the stages isn’t something Prudhomme should be proud of. A grand tour should be a proper test of stamina.

    Long stages are also more likely to involve more complex tactics, whereas shorter stages tend to just be about the legs. Casual fans may prefer the latter, but those who know the sport well know that a variety of stage lengths is preferable and know that long multiple-mountain stages can provide the very best racing (despite the current – unfounded – dogma that ‘short stages are more exciting). Stage 15 is the only stage that comes close to that – and it doesn’t come very close at all.

    Don’t we want to see who is better between Vin and Pog over a >220km course with four or five cat. 1 or HC climbs? Maybe one of them is particularly strong or weak over this extra distance, and this could add tactical nuance to the entire race? We’ll never know.

    • “The shortness of the stages isn’t something Prudhomme should be proud of. A grand tour should be a proper test of stamina.”
      Agree totally. Is it due to TV viewers or to make “exciting racing”? Whatever it is, with today’s wind tunnel tested high tec nutrition and recovery, they’ll be plenty of time for all the PR & social media fun.

      • I have to say I disagree. A long stage isn’t necessarily a test of stamina, sometimes it’s just…long. 175k raced full gas is far more difficult than 275k where the peloton lays off and lets the break win. Milan-San Remo is really damn long, but 200k of it is a training ride for most of the peloton.

        • +1 … after all who had more stamina, the rider who produces 200 Watts for 3 hours or the rider who produces 300 Watts for two hours? If it were all about stamina then someone like Tim Declercq might come out on top with the time he puts in on the front.
          My take on this is that recovery is is big thing and in this context Evenepoel is quite interesting. He seems to be able to crack one day and then bounce back the next day fully normal.

          • The work done in both cases is the same. Stamina in my mind is to do with how much work the legs can do before they give out. You can drain them slowly or more quickly but there will be some sort of inherent work capacity.
            Complicating factors will be terrain and cadence but I was making a broad point.
            Somewhere in all of this I picked up the name of Charley Gaul who was, apparently, famous for his high cadence when climbing. It has never been 100% clear in my mind whether this is easier on the legs or not.

          • @150 Watts
            The nature itself of your simplification highlights the point: what do 200 or 300 watts mean for the rider you’re speaking about? You may say, well, dunno, normalised output, or the best he or she can do for that given time – whatever.
            Truth is that a road stage isn’t about a generic power output, as an ITT might be (not a very technical one, by the way).
            And even in that case, who’d you call the fondo rider, the one which is the best in the world delivering more watts in a shorter span of time, ot the one which is the best delivering *less watts* (but more than anybody else) through a longer effort? So you have the answer to your poorly formulated question above, which really assumed that the athlete wasn’t going at the highest possible speed when going at 200 watts (besides having all the proportions wrong).

            However, as I said, road cycling isn’t about steady or general power output. It’s about how and when. The curve of watts vs. duration of effort, though broadly the same, can really be significantly different from rider to rider. You *may* belong to very different percentiles depending on the effort duration (and you can train that, although only up to a certain point). I myself, as a cyclist, belong to a more selected percentile in the case of 3-5 minutes, 25-30 minutes or over 80 minutes efforts. With bad spots around 18 minutes, 40 minutes and 60 minutes… Now you know how to ride if you want to drop me even assuming a comparable state of form!
            And the relative performance as a function of previous efforts also varies from athlete to athlete.
            So, you’d call a fondo rider one who’s able to keep, say, 6.0 w/kg for 45′ on the final climb of a stage with previous repeated efforts deep into the third week of a GT, versus somebody who’d strike 6.2 w/kg for the same effort on a first week monoclimb.

            You can’t force the riders to produce any given level of relative effort in a given stage, be it long or short. Organisers are trying with steep climbs, but technology prevents that, too. Remember the 2022 Giro Diamante stage, for example. They tackled a very steep climb midway through the stage at amateur pace. Bye bye.
            The strategies of the peloton may change that, but it’s complex. Nibali turned the 2014 TDF in a contest suited to his qualities having Scarponi ride hard the climbs previous to the last one, Team Sky for Froome used the opposite strategy (all legit, until it occasionally turned into bullying). But they rode hard on the flat in 2016 or 2017 to sap the cilmbers’ legs. General work done won’t make you able to understand or predict much about how a race went or will go.

            Ferdi and J Evan made a lot of other important points.

            Short stages have historically been a part of road cycling since very ol’ times, although not from the very beginning (when cycling was more akin to what we now call ultraendurance or self-supported racing). I remember a lot of them which were frankly very very good, both in recent times and old ones. The 2016 Giro had both a spectacular long stage in Corvara (210 km, 6 categorised climb) and equally great short ones to Andalo or S. Anna, at some 130 km.

          • I really don’t see that individual rider characteristics have anything to do with the simple physics.
            Against that I suppose that just sitting on the bike for an extra hour under the hot sun takes its toll so it is not 100% about effort.
            My own bias (as a spectator) is for hilly stages. My pet peeve is the peleton riding in 20 minutes behind riders who are an hour down on the lead.

          • I don’t understand the point regarding power and time. A lot of riders can output 200 W for 60 minutes, but I doubt anyone can output the same amount of energy over one minute (eg 12000 W for 1 minute). Power curves are not hyperbolas.

          • The point is simply about total work done (joules). The numbers used are more or less random but allow simple arithmetic …two different way of doing the same amount of work.

        • A 230km stage has equal possibilities of being great or dull as a 175km stage – no more, no less. It does, however, provide a different kind of test. I’m not suggesting having only 230km stages, I’m suggesting having variety (even just one 230km stage), which tends to make racing less interesting. If I was Gabriele, I could list the tedious short stages I’ve seen, of which there have been many, but I distinctly remember that very short stage in the Giro where the GC riders did absolutely nothing. Length of stage does not decide what the GC riders do: we’ve seen that time and again. I’ve seen plenty of long stages where the GC riders go for it. Sometimes, so many people repeat something so often – particularly in the media – that people assume it’s true.

          • *more interesting

            Also, Milan-San Remo isn’t a useful comparison because that’s a mostly flat race, whereas I’m talking about a ~230km stage over multiple mountains. (I have no great affection for the 250km pan-flat stage.)

    • I think Prudhomme proceeds from the (wrong) assumption, which I doubt he believes himself but is idée acquise by the French public opinion, that riders dope more the longer the races.
      The thing with very long races is that someone must always be nose in the wind at the head of the peloton. A top domestique can do it only for a number of kilometers. The longer the stage, the more riders you need to burn just to keep a minimum control. If we went for (perfectly human in today’s context) 350 or 400 km stages, it would be very difficult for leaders to suck domestique wheels all day long (they’d run out if teammates). They’d usually be left to their own devices much further from the finish. And, at any rate, the average speed would decrease significantly, meaning (apart from more safety) that the overall energy-saving effect of drafting would also decrease significantly. Such very long stages would develop very differently, and would yield very different results and hierarchies. On the flat and even more in the mountains.

  3. I may be an outlier on this but I miss the long, hot and sleepy stages through the towns and villages of rural depopulated France.

    Stage 17 could be for Pidcock with a steep technical descent to the finish, at least if he can stay with the best – or break – to the final summit. Or is he supporting Martinez or Rodriguez for a GC placing, though, in that case, the top two (at least) places seem out of reach.

  4. The last long stage to Le Creusot in 2021 was actually very good, I wonder why they didn’t try to put at least one on this Tour… Did the 2023 Tour already mainly done in July 2021 ?
    Let’s hope that le Grand Fusil Gem will be in top form for the 3 stages around Clermont !

    • Super entertaining at 100 or less? Like for example?

      I remember a handful of those, and they aren’t really that different from a 110-130 km long, or better said “short”, stage – surely not better.

    • “The ideal Tour is one in which there is only one finisher”. OK, we may have moved on somewhat from Henri Desgranges, but there has to be an element in a Grand Tour that makes it a test of endurance as much as speed.

  5. If this year’s Giro was all about the third week, it looks like this year’s Tour is the antithesis. At least there shouldn’t be an issue of any of the sprinters quitting part-way through, with 3 of the 4 last stages potential sprints. Only 6 mountain stages in the entire race feels like fewer than usual, though as I’ve only been watching the Tour de France since 2017 I might be wrong.

  6. I think, or hope, that stage 20 in the Vosges will prove much better than y’all seem to make out for now. Those vosgien climbs are mean. Steep and irregular, my favourite being the Platzerwasel – already curious how that one will get pronounced in English commentary.

    • Prudhomme May be going for Vuelta 21 vibes here with the penultimate Galician nuttier than a fruitcake stage. Hard to see this playing out with the strength of the teams at the Tour, but we shall see

      • Legendary would be better, but this is just a personal bugbear of mine: the English meaning of myth being slightly different from the French work mythe, as it connotes things that are completely imaginary, as opposed to idealised versions of historic feats.

        Feel I’m on a losing battle with this one, though.

          • A lot of the Puys are mountains of volcanic origin, especially in the Massif Central, but it doesn’t mean volcano. And there are quite a few Puys that are just standard issue mountains. It’s from the same Latin root as podium.

  7. First and foremost a belated thank you Inrng for excellent previews and great daily reporting throughout the Giro, and now for the Tour as well. With GCN+ not having Tour rights it’ll be uninterrupted sleep Down Under in July but looking forward to your daily coverage again.

    At first glance the parcours looks like what Alaphillipe would have wanted two or three years ago. The first two stages look as if they could be chaotic an several respects, hopefully the peloton survives largely intact and the various contenders get through unscathed.

    • South of the start or finish?
      It’s gorgeous country, the ‘Périgord Vert’ and I’d recommend setting up in Brantôme if that’s an option – archetypal French country town with a medieval core and a resolute abbey alongside the Dronne.

    • Not knowing where, two big tips:

      – get there early so you can see all of the wacky publicity caravan
      – can’t stress this enough, you won’t really see the race unfold so treat it as a picnic first and foremost. Any hill or climb is nice, as it slows the riders down but also gives you a view

    • I live in Saint Pardoux la Rivière right at the foot of the largest climb on stage 8 so have been thinking about the possibilities on this stage way too much. Its basically flat and technically simple all the way from Libourne to our village, including through the previously mentioned touristy Brantôme, and then suddenly, in Saint Pardoux, after a bit of a false flat downhill, they hit the tightest turn of the day into the village followed by a second 120° turn. Immediately following this is the Cat 3 which has plenty of curves, trees and even a little technical descent to help attackers. The rest of the stage is relatively bumpy and curvy, again helpful for an escape. So, in a perfect world, there is a frantic race for position into our village, chaos in the two tight corners and narrow village lanes, and then Mathieu van der Poel attacks on the climb with only Podgčar able to follow. The two team up to stay to the finish allowing MvdP to win in his grandfather’s home region and Podgčar to have another race for the ages.

      You heard it here first.

      Never going to happen but if it does you want to either be on the second corner in Saint Pardoux la Rivière just after the bridge for the chaos or about 1/2 way up the Côte de Champs-Romain where it gets to about 9% and is nice and shady. Even if it doesn’t those are the best spots for the day I reckon. Park in Thiviers and ride in on the Flow Velo to avoid the road closure traffic.

      • So, in a perfect world, there is a frantic race for position into our village, (caused by DS’ screaming “Get to the front!” into earpieces ) chaos in the two tight corners and narrow village lanes, (where you hope nobody crashes out but will be glad you were there to see it when/if it happens) and then Mathieu van der Poel attacks on the climb with only Podgčar able to follow. (assuming they’re not the guys taken out in that frantic race for position).
        That’s your perfect world? I guess I don’t understand what fans of modern cycling want to see.

  8. Is this route with its short transfers and limited coverage of la Belle France because Prudhomme is giving in to the thugs who blocked the roads last year?

    • Not really, the protestors want improved building insulation. Also the route for each year’s Tour is 90% done by the time this year’s race starts.

      But the clients of the race route are mayors and many of them are Greens today and this is having an impact on the Tour

      ASO say shorter transfers save on emissions and energy and are better for the riders but if they really believe this we’ll see if they keep doing it or it’s just a quirk of this year’s race.

    • Don’t remember them doing anything ‘thuggish’. Not saying I agree with that particular method of protest: I tend to think a protest is more effective if it does more than simply publicise the issue (this is especially true when the issue is something everyone already knows about – so perhaps not in this particular instance).

  9. I’m going to make my – probably annual – complaint about time bonuses in grand tours.

    The idea of them is that they encourage attacking, but they don’t because riders will always try to win stages anyway.

    What they do is discourage longer-range attacks because riders are more likely to wait to sprint at the end, thus taking a small amount of time (maybe) and the time bonus.

    It also seems nonsensical that in a race over three weeks, the winner may not be decided by who took the least time.

    Roglic’s 2020 Vuelta win, to me, is dissatisfying as Carapaz actually completed the course in less time. Those were the rules at the start of the race, and this is not to take anything away from Roglic’s victory – he might well have raced differently had the rules been different.

    • But it’s not like Roglic was the only one who knew the bonus seconds were on-offer. Carapaz could have tried to win ’em but either couldn’t or wouldn’t…so what’s the problem?
      IMHO the best man wins..even if I don’t like him or how he did it! That’s why they have the race instead of handing out prizes based on what the punter’s think.

  10. I am delighted that Bordeaux finally gets its sprint finish back. Maybe it’s more of an acquired taste, but it brings back lots of memories of my younger self being glued to the TV as the fast men battled it out.

  11. I’m so excited by this route. Lots of hilly stages, not too many nailed-on sprints, barely any TT kms. Last year’s constant battles for the break look to be repeated, and I’m really glad that the final week doesn’t look like the Giro where everyone kept their powder dry (as difficult as that was) the first two weeks. I don’t see any obvious blow-up stages where the favorites kill the race halfway through, and the diversity of terrain means different types of riders will be in the hunt throughout. Of course there are the classic monsters where maybe Vingegaard runs away with it, but I don’t think that’s going to happen for some reason. Probably decided on Col de la Loze, but would be crazy if Stage 20 has GC implications; last 40km could be explosive.

  12. I see Pidcock is being talked of as the first yellow jersey holder. It is a really interesting opening stage with a number of classics specialists in the peloton.

    • INEOS make little sense to me recently… if Pidcock is in the running for the first yellow I firmly expect so will MVDP and WVA and both will likely beat him to it.

      Post Brailsford the way INEOS have been left behind in the era of the big 5/6 despite their budget confuses me no end – but really the big question is Bernal… have they been unlucky and their long term faith will be repaid or will it seem misplaced come July?

      Not to be a downer but the Bernal I’ve seen this year is fragile, tentative and a long way from the rider of 2018/19 and I fully expect him to either crash out the Tour or briefly shine riding to a creditable top10. While any top10 for a rider is a huge achievement I expect to come out of this Tour knowing Bernal cannot compete with Pog nor Vin and will be interested to see where INEOS go next.

      Rodriguez hasn’t kicked on as expected, Tao looked good at the Giro but it’s hard to believe he’ll ever be at Pog or Vin’s level and Pidcock, despite being an excellent rider, has yet to show he’s capable of even riding for GC let alone with riders who may soon be remembered as all time greats.

      I think INEOS management need to identify or buy a proper GC leader this winter and should have done so as soon a while ago before the gulf between UAE, Jumbo grew to what it has been the last few July’s.

      Question is who? Roglic as short term fix plus unlikely to beat Pog and Vin at the Tour? Remco seems committed to Quickstep and it’s also as yet unknown whether he can beat Pog and Vin in a GT? Can they break Ayuso’s contract? Cian Uijtdebroeks? Matteo Jorgenson? Or do they keep faith with Rodriguez?

      In saying all this – I expect a big result from Rodriguez this season so hopefully that’s a podium in the Tour. If I were INEOS though I’d be thinking of moving some riders on and making space for someone they truly believe could compete at the top in the near future – Ayuso is the only one who seems nailed on to me but his contract with UAE sounds watertight?

      • Is Bernal even riding the Tour this year? I thought Ineos had said that Martinez would be leading their Tour team & Bernal was tentatively pencilled in for the Vuelta. Not that I can see Martinez getting higher than top 5 at best, & top 10 seems more likely assuming no major GC attrition, but at least he isn’t crashing as much as Bernal!

        • Bernal is down for the Dauphiné but nothing’s certain after that. Martinez must be frustrating Ineos as he’s not fulfilled his potential. Thomas is, at the moment, Ineos’s only real GC contender – and he’s 37!

          • Was Martinez hired by Ineos as a potential grand tour contender though? I’d assumed he was employed as a high level domestique/possible contender in smaller races.

        • Apparently he did a recon of the Puy-de-Dome stage which suggests he will be there. It baffles me that some people are talking him up as a possible podium though, based on his season so far and everything he’s been through I would have though a solid top 30 and some good placings would be a good result, then build for 2024. He turns 27 in January so potentially still another five seasons of top form if he can fully recover from his injuries.

          • I’m now having visions of Bernal & Froome keeping each other company off the back of the peleton on the tough stages…! Ineos have had pretty terrible luck with two of their grand tour winners smashing themselves up in huge accidents.

  13. Martinez, I think, was supposed to be Bernal’s wingman in the GT’s and go for one week races on his own (a Richie Porte role). With Bernal’s crash, and the youngsters not performing miracles, Martinez has been forced into being a GT leader.
    As for Froome and Bernal keeping each other company at the rear of the peloton, it could well happen.

    • Thanks, that’s what I thought about Martinez. So not really his fault that he’s not on a level to contend the TdF as that wasn’t what was intended for him.

  14. Am I the only one missing a team time trial? While I’ll never argue that individual against-the-clock stages have no place in stage racing, the TTT was something I actually enjoyed watching. Of course it would better if they made ’em ride conventional machines but even with the current (otherwise useless) contraptions I like the team angle and it even used to seem a “horses for courses” thing – a bunch of skinny climbers might not be the best squad if some burly chrono men could power your rival to an advantage. But now that the best chrono men are quite often the best climbers too, perhaps that no longer matters? But I still like the idea of a rider like Ganna (or Cancellara back-in-the-day) taking heroic pulls while the GC men tried to hang on. Is the TTT dead now? That would be a shame IMHO.

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