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 inrng.com/tour.