Tour de France Guide

With a week to go to the start in Bilbao, the full 2023 Tour de France guide is online, complete with stage profiles and comment on each day’s course, plus reference materials for the points and mountains competitions, time cuts and more, handy if you want more detail ahead of the race or during it.

Just go to for the next four weeks.

You’ll also find the link at the top of the page if you’re on a desktop, or on the drop-down menu for phone readers.

In the coming days there will a closer look at the points and mountains competitions, the preview of the contenders for the overall classification and more.

63 thoughts on “Tour de France Guide”

  1. Thanks again for the posts and the work you do!
    The official road book seems not to be on the official website, instead just a rules book and a press kit. The start and finish maps are not available at the official website, but can be seen on other websites. Is this correct?

    • What about it? All comments close automatically after a week or so, the conversation’s usually moved on by then. Above all for every genuine comment that gets posted, there are about ten spam attempts but software gets 99.9% of these but closing the comments keeps the bots away / saves bandwidth.

  2. Oh right thanks, didn’t realise the comments section got closed off.
    Was just hoping to follow the conversation out of interest that’s all.

    Love your work anyway, thanks!

    • Also… sometimes Mr Inrng is forced to close comments if his readers get a bit out of hand… hey should we talk about… (too many potential landmine topics)

  3. I’m so excited about the Tour. But Gino Mader’s death has made cycling a little harder to watch for me altogether. I wonder whether it would affect the descending in the tour. Last time around watching Pidcock descend like a maniac was thrilling and exciting. This year, something like that might cause me to turn off the TV.

    • I agree… it has put a damper on the last few weeks… please be safe everyone. I do genuinely think we should encourage even more medical supports rather than neutral service vehicles. I mean honestly who cares if a rider gets a flat and can’t chase on (teams need to keep better coverage via teammates covering and swapping bikes), you just wish a paramedic team or two followed the peloton at all times.

      We can fix a flat within moments, but it takes minutes for a proper medical team to arrive on scene… I’d much rather we push for extreme caution in a very very dangerous sport.

      • The Tour de France and all other races at WorldTour level do have multiple ambulances and medical cars/motos circulating with the race, such that it would be extremely rare (e.g. once every few years for each race) for a rider to crash badly and have no medical assistance within a couple of minutes.

        You won’t see them on TV that often because it’s not about them.

        If there is a major incident which results in all of them being occupied, the race will be brought to a halt until coverage is available again. At the Tour de France this usually results in the race being resumed because they have the most generous margins on both the medical support and the access to road closures, but at lower level races which don’t have those finances it can result in a stage being called off immediately and the riders proceeding to the finish under neutralised conditions

        • Agreed, the Tour de France has the medics vehicle you see with Florence Pommerie sometimes attending to a wounded rider who is holding onto the side of the convertible car… but the organisers employ 14 doctors on the race (they’re listed, don’t know if they’re all at the Tour at the same time, plus they might attend to the caravan, staff etc but still, it’s covered)

          Plus there’s paramedic ambulance crew in the convoy with the vehicle and there are usually team doctors around too, many are experienced in crash injuries, trauma etc. If a race is overwhelmed then as Dave says it’ll be paused until it can be restarted, or neutralised, the stage called off.

    • It is very sad. I’d just add we don’t know what the cause(s) of the accident were yet, there’s a police /traffic investigation in Switzerland into this. So for now lots of questions but not many firm answers.

      • Whatever the cause, it would certainly have something to do with going 100km/h without any real protection. I always knew this was a risk and I don’t believe such risk can be eliminated entirely in the future. For me, however, it never felt so real before. It was so jarring. Minutes after I learned what happened, I saw Zanna do a front flip down a the grassy hill narrowly missing that large tree stump. And then the photos of Mrs. Mader hugging the riders in the Swiss tour. If I wasn’t side-lined, it would certainly affect my descending. I don’t know whether it would affect any of the pros. I would expect it would affect some, but not most.

      • I’ve just spent a week in the Basque Country around Bilbao, and covered a fair bit of the route… I’ve noticed that on quite a few of the bends the roadside metal barriers (on the outside of the bends) have been fitted with a sort of metal “skirt” – they appear to be a recent addition. They would (I think) reduce the risk of a rider sliding underneath, in the event of a crash. I have no idea whether these have been added specifically for le Tour, or whether they are a general safety feature – does anyone else know?

        • Modified/upgraded barriers to prevent people going underneath is for motorcyclist and cyclist safety generally.

          Those old barriers with the gap underneath were death traps for motorcyclists, where ever they were. And for cyclists, on hills.

  4. Here we go! Another great July following Inrng…. Ahem I mean the tdf presented by Inrng… sorry, you get my point.

    Thank you for keeping this going.

  5. For countless years the go to place to follow the tour with insider knowledge. Super excited for the race and to read this blog daily. Here’s to some great racing.

  6. I always have this vague hope that Inrng would provide live commentary…there used to be a site in the US–I can’t recall the guy’s name, out of Laramie Wyoming–who would have a little live dialog on the race. There was always one fellow who would imitate Sean Kelly all the time: “The peloton is tree minutes tirty back…” and take hte piss out of Carlton Kirby mercilessly.

    • That was “Live Update Guy” with Charles Pelkey, Patrick O’Grady and whoever else (like yours truly -mostly during the Giro d’Italia) wanted to chime-in with snarky comments. They stopped awhile ago.
      As to Gino Mader and descending, I posted this
      Wonder if any comments about this will get made during LeTour? My guess is there’s an omerta on the subject enforced by the industry – same reason the TV directors seem to cut away from shots of any type of equipment failure so often?

      • Very interesting. Many, many years ago I was a, reasonably successful, rally co-driver. In those days the RAC Rally of Great Britain did not allow pace notes so the crews relied on reading the road off 1:50,000 OS Maps. I came up with the idea of making books of 1:25,000 maps to cover the route and, as a result, supplied nearly all the works teams (I even had Jean Todt drinking coffee in my kitchen). The difference in accuracy had a huge impact on the speed at which you could travel. Looking at that Garmin map it is far from accurate enough to make pacing decisions from. Perhaps it is better to ban the screen completely.

        • That must have been in the 1970-80s, then! 🙂

          But do we really know that pro riders actually use their computer maps to make pacing decisions?

          And in this particular case I understand that the descent wasn´t unfamiliar to Mäder, he had done it several times, in training and in races.

          A memory error in a descent one believes to be familiar could lead to a critical situation, but I would hesitate to suggest that as a likely cause.

          • MONDAY asks – But do we really know that pro riders actually use their computer maps to make pacing decisions?
            Did you read the post…where I wrote:

            Just a few days later, Italian National Champ Filippo Zana went off a mountain road in a different race and crashed, luckily unhurt. But when he said “My mistake. I trusted the bike computer”

            What’s an otherwise normal person to make of that? I understand why the gizmo makers want comments like those to go away…but if true…will the rule-makers do anything? Ya can’t really stop anyone from using ’em that way, you can only ban their use entirely – which would be fine by me!

          • I definitely use the map on my Garmin when descending unfamiliar roads. So far it’s never let me down but I’m also not racing flat-out, with all the incentives that can add for additional risk taking.

            You could argue that it’s better to just trust your eyes and adjust speed accordingly, but a few years ago on Arran (before using my computer to guide descents) I was going down a road that looked like it had a gentle dogleg around a corner (you could see the road continue straight just after the corner), when in reality it had a sharp double hairpin that then continued straight. I nearly crashed off the edge. The computer (so far!) has helped avoid similar situations.

          • Larry T asks and Monday answers: Yes, I read the post.

            @WillC: I, too, use the map, but only to give me additional information, not to rely on it.

          • Computers might mislead some riders to go faster than what would be safe, but I’m sure that they also warn riders of dangers that would be more difficult to judge with the “naked” eye. Some corners look gentle until you’re in them with way too much speed. I always try to ride with a really big safety margin and still, I’ve had to hold on for dear life in corners that initially looked like no big deal. Even if it’s my inexperience speaking, there are some inexperienced riders in the pro peloton as well For instance, some former footballers summersaulting off bridges come to mind.

          • No GPS computer will tell you if there is loose sand or gravel in a turn, or if the turn is “off camber”. Looking at and interpreting a GPS’s map on a tiny screen, means you’re *not* looking at the road … or at least, not *concentrating* on the road.
            I think it is foolhardy to fumble with GPS or maps during a descent.

          • I’m that old! There was also a route opening car, with an experienced crew. If they felt somewhere was particularly hazardous either because it hadn’t been noticed before or due to weather conditions, they’d mount a warning sign (exclamation mark) just before the hazard. Worked very well.

      • Mäder’s incident happened on probably the only hard / treacherous place of the Albula descent – iirc Ayuso himself had a tiny wobble at that corner, because you don’t see into the corner properly and it’s tighter than all those others between the pass and several hairpins down bellow.

        Well, we don’t know much, but based on some photos with tire marks leading to the edge that emerged online it seems the crash happened on a perfectly safe spot between two corners. Perhaps a lack of concentration, perhaps some medical problem…

        I don’t remember Mäder in any of the leading groups behind Ayuso… perhaps I am mistaken, but he didn’t even have a reason to tackle the descent particularly hard, did he?

        Accidents happen, and not always can be rationalised. It’s a sad moment, it’s a tragedy, but it’s also just a racing accident with fatal consequences. Road cycling is surely a dangerous pastime and even more hazardous job. Here in Czechia a hobby cyclist died after colliding with a doe last weekend. I tend to remind myself of Gino Mäders who didn’t returned home whike descending these days. But I don’t descent slower, I am afraid. It’ll be hard for some of those racers whizzing to Donostia or from Col de Loze next three weeks. But… they must tackle the fear.

      • It’s distasteful to speculatively and tendentiously link the death of a young man with a conspiracy theory about an industry enforced omertà on the use of bike computers.

        • OK then – “Nothing to see here folks! Move along! A young man is dead, but we don’t want to be distasteful. Don’t ask any questions.”
          Reminds me of the “thoughts and prayers” trotted out in the USA after every mass-shooting.

          • Let’s wait for the official report rather than speculate.

            When a rider died in a race a few years ago there were all sorts of “hot takes” about motorbikes causing the accident and it could have been distressing for the family to read that the death might have been prevented if this was done, if that was done. But when the police report and autopsy came out months later, the medical opinion wasn’t clear whether death was from the rider crashing first, or the subsequent collision with a moto.

            By all means play “armchair DS”, “armchair mechanic” or “armchair nutritionist” etc here but not “armchair pathologist”. And Larry it’s because we want to learn rather than forget that we hold back from sharing hunches online and adding noise to these things.

          • This exactly. If you’ve had any involvement with a formal inquest into an unexpected death you will understand a coroner is very willing to get into technical details and will call on experts where needed. The pathologist can say what happened to a person’s body that brought an end to life, whilst an engineer or course designer could comment on mechanical or perceptual reasons. Your best hope from there is that more deaths can be prevented and the learning goes on.
            That Filippo Zana went completely off a mountain road and into an abyss whilst on his own and at his own pace really does not help. Just glad it was a good landing.
            Each country has its own conventions on how roads are classified and furnished for vehicles. Cycle sport could step up with its own conventions, even if it’s a roadside sign or type of taping, so that riders from all nations get to know the hazards a road can present. It won’t stop riders crashing but it can’t do harm to let them know more in unfamiliar surroundings.
            Maybe race organisers and media coverage could help by pulling all press and camera motos out on descents: They either go completely ahead and out of sight, or they stay back and rejoin later. This would leave riders to descend at the pace they want, using all the road and so what if they back off a bit?
            And yes, I always hope everyone stays safe.

          • Fair enough. One year after Mader’s death I’ll be looking for your post on the investigation into what might have happened. Meanwhile, I’ll hope the rest of the peloton (and maybe cyclists-in-general) will look WTF they’re going rather than relying on an electronic gizmo. It’s not like they’re trying to land an airplane in the fog, this man was killed on what appeared to be a blue-sky day in the mountains and what Zana said is IMHO very troubling, since his crash seemed to be on an equally blue-sky day in the mountains.

          • Anyone who relies on the base maps provided on a head unit gets the guidance they deserve. If this really is a thing, the teams should know it’s simple to make your own course on an app from satellite view or course data gathered by other riders. Typical FIT files can include warnings and custom notes so riders can have programmed notes that are personalised. Maybe just don’t look down all the time, though, eh?

          • I notice when driving in Italy that the signs warning of a sharp bend pictorially describe the ‘exact sharpness’ of the bend (whereas in the UK, for instance, it’s just one sign for all ‘sharp’ bends). The Italian version is much better because in the UK a sign that says sharp bend can mean anything from ‘actually not sharp at all; I didn’t need to slow down, in fact’ to ‘180 degrees hairpin’. Perhaps signs such as these Italian ones could be added for racing? A lot of work, mind you.

          • Motorsport provides the answer.

            Use the 1-7 system from rally pace notes (1 slowest, 7 flat out) on corner warning signs.

            Take inspiration from the FIA flag system to work out consistent protocols for communicating warnings and neutralisations.

          • I’m trying to let this go as per Mr, INRNG’s request but IMHO part of the skill in bike racing is knowing how to read a road, especially in a mountain descent. Do we have to automate/computerize EVERYTHING?

          • Good point. It’s up to riders to decide the descending strategy.

            (Evenpoel was fast to criticize Albula *because* his descending sucks. Yes, I consider him a blatant hypocrite and yes, I may be mistaken.)

            Amateur racing such as Strava downhill segments and Youtube videos of the fastest descent of XY hill in full traffic is a different topic.

          • Do you really think there will be no skill involved if there were warnings on how sharp or dangerous a turn is?!? Really?! Warnings are not automation. Neither are maps. Warnings or no warnings, people like Mohoric will always be faster downhill than others.

          • That MTB guy asks: “Do you really think there will be no skill involved if there were warnings on how sharp or dangerous a turn is?!? Really?!”
            No. I never said that would happen and I never suggested there needed to be warnings on turns other than what they currently have.
            But just as I dislike the gizmos telling a racer he’s nearing his threshold or maxing out his watts going uphill (which may not replace intuition/skill, but artificially helps) I dislike the idea of gizmos providing a map of a descent…especially when/if (not such a big deal going uphill) the thing’s gonna crap out or give inaccurate information…making for some really dangerous conditions if the racer is relying on it instead of looking WTF he’s going.
            We’ll never know if this happened to poor Mader but Zana’s excuse for screwing-the-pooch on the descent makes me wonder.

    • There once was a man called Kirby,
      whose patter was terribly swervy.
      He thought he was smart,
      the boring old fart,
      but now he’s a bygone, if only!

  7. I used to do (with a bunch of mates) the Cyclingtips TdF game (Inrng’s daily predictions were very helpful for this!) …. now they have merged into Velo does anyone know a site that runs a game (preferably not behind a paywall because I’m a cheapskate…). Thanks

  8. Aside from going over the Tourmalet in the middle of Stage 6, the only stage with a climb + finish over 2,000m is Stage 17 to Courchevel. This is a low Tour.

    And of course the stages are short.

    Will this = more contenders?

    • Maybe less altitude but still a lot, it’s always hard to get accurate data but a back-of-the-envelope look suggests this Tour could have the most vertical gain since 2004 (2020 was close though) when the Tour crossed the 60,000 vertical metre mark, but in those days with distance as well. Now it’s more concentrated into these shorter distances, a lot more V+ per km.

Comments are closed.