What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotto Belisol: The route of the Tour de France 2014

Now the national championships are behind us the peloton gets ready for the Tour de France. The 101st edition consists of 21 stages. There are five summit finishes, one individual time trial and one cobblestone stage. The riders will start on Saturday the 5th of July in Leeds, England, and will arrive on the famous Champs-Elysées in Paris after 3.664 kilometers.

Royal finish at Buckingham Palace
The first stage on English soil is flat and so it’s the perfect opportunity for the sprinters to conquer the yellow jersey. The day after it’s the British version of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, with nine hills on the course. The last stage in England finishes in the capital, just outside Buckingham Palace. Just like the stage to Lille a day later also here there’s a big chance it will be a bunch sprint.

The start of the fifth stage is all about the First World War. After the start in the center of Ypres the Tour caravan gets a short version of Paris-Roubaix: 15.4 kilometers of cobblestones, divided over nine sections. Sectors like Orchies and Mons-en-Pévèle sound familiar. For many this day is marked in their agenda. Here the GC riders have to be attentive not to lose any time.

Climbing on Quatorze Juillet
In the next stages to Reims and Nancy there’s a chance of echelons. Also here the team leaders will have to look out. On the 12th of July there’s a first tough stage. The finish line is drawn on a third category climb in Gérardmer La Mauselaine. That climb is almost two kilometers long and has an average gradient of 10.3%. Explosive riders can have a go here. In the meantime the caravan will have arrived in the Vosges. In stage nine a breakaway might make it to the end and the day before the rest day, on the French national holiday, it’s up to the GC riders. That day the finish lies at La Planche des Belles Filles where Chris Froome showed himself a first time in 2012.

After the rest day in Besançon escapees can take another chance on the way to Oyonnax. Also in the 12th stage to Saint-Etienne a breakaway could battle for the win. The next day the riders have to climb again. This stage takes the peloton from Saint-Etienne to Chamrousse. The final climb to Chamrousse is just over 18 kilometers long at an average gradient of 7.3%.

The second stage in the Alps leads from Grenoble over the Col d’ Izoard to Risoul, where a final climb of 12.6 kilometers at just under 7% awaits the peloton. In the stage to Nîmes the GC riders will probably take a day off and it’s up to the sprinters again. On Monday the 21st of July the riders can recuperate on the rest day in Carcassonne.

Individual time trial in the final week
The final Tour week promises to be exciting. The stage to Bagnères-de-Luchon passes amongst other over the Port de Balès, a col hors catégorie, which ushers in the Pyrenees section. The day after, the stage starts in Saint-Gaudens and it goes via Spain over the Col du Portillon and Col du Peyresourde. The finish is located in Saint-Lary Plat d’Adet, a climb hors catégorie of over ten kilometers. Another mythical col in the stage Pau-Hautacam; that one goes over the Tourmalet. The 19th stage is suited for sprinters. The penultimate stage is an individual time trial of 54 kilometers in the Dordogne region.

Traditionally the Tour de France ends in Paris. With a criterium on the Champs-Elysées the sprinters will do their utmost best one last time and the winner of the 101st Tour de France can shine on the podium with the Arc de Triomphe in the background.

Week 1
Stage 1: 5th of July: Leeds – Harrogate (190.5 km)
Stage 2: 6th of July: York – Sheffield (201 km)
Stage 3: 7th of July: Cambridge – London (155 km)
Stage 4: 8th of July: Le Touquet Paris-Plage – Lille Métropole (163.5 km)
Stage 5: 9th of July: Ypres – Arenberg Porte du Hainaut (155.5 km)
Stage 6: 10th of July: Arras – Reims (194 km)
Stage 7: 11th of July: Epernay – Nancy (234.5 km)
Stage 8: 12th of July: Tomblaine – Gérardmer La Mauselaine (161 km)
Stage 9: 13th of July: Gérardmer – Mulhouse (170 km)

Week 2
Stage 10: 14th of July: Mulhouse – La Planche des Belles Filles (161.5 km)
Rest day 1: 15th of July: Besançon
Stage 11: 16th of July: Besançon – Oyonnax (187.5 km)
Stage 12: 17th of July: Bourg-en-Bresse – Saint-Etienne (185.5 km)
Stage 13: 18th of July: Saint-Etienne – Chamrousse (197.5 km)
Stage 14: 19th of July: Grenoble – Risoul (177 km)
Stage 15: 20th of July: Tallard – Nîmes (222 km)

Week 3
Rest day 2: 21st of July: Carcassonne
Stage 16: 22nd of July: Carcassonne – Bagnères-de-Luchon (237.5 km)
Stage 17: 23rd of July: Saint-Gaudens – Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet (124.5 km)
Stage 18: 24th of July: Pau – Hautacam (145.5 km)
Stage 19: 25th of July: Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour – Bergerac (208.5 km)
Stage 20: Saturday 26th of July: Bergerac – Périgueux (54 km) (ITT)
Stage 21: Sunday 27th of July: Evry – Paris Champs-Elysées (137.5 km)


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