Tour de France 2018 route: Alpe d’Huez and Paris-Roubaix cobbles to return for 2018 race
Everything you need to know about the stages of the 2018 Tour de France route
As previously announced, the 2018 Tour de France will start on Saturday, July 7 with the Grand Départ in the Vendée region in the west of France.
The opening stage of the 105th edition of the race will start in Noirmoutier-en-l’Île and is one of two flat stages to begin the race that will see the sprinters fight for the yellow jersey, before a 35km team time trial starting and finishing in Cholet on stage three.
From there the race will head north into Brittany, with a lumpy stage between Lorient and Quimper before the first uphill finish of the race coming on the Mûr de Bretagne on stage six.
The next important stage should be stage nine, a short 154km stage that will take on 21.7km of cobbles over 15 sectors on the way to the finish in Roubaix that is likely to be scheduled earlier in the day so as not to clash with the final of the football World Cup in Russia.
After a rest day in Annecy, the riders will face three days in the mountains, with back-to-back summit finishes at La Rosière and Alpe d’Huez, the first time that the Alpe has featured in the Tour since Thibaut Pinot won there in 2015. There will also be a little bit of gravel for the riders to deal with at Plateau des Glières on stage 10.
Stage 10 will also be used for La Course, the women’s race reduced to one day after the anti-climax of 2017’s time trial around Marseille.
The second half of the second week sees the race traverse France, including an uphill finish into Mende where Steve Cummings won in 2015.
The Pyrénées will be the race’s final mountain range for the first time since 2014, with five the south west of France, including a summit finish at the Col-de-Portet at the end of the 65km stage 17, the shortest road stage in the race for a number years.
The queen stage of the race comes two days later, with a hellish 200km stage between Lourdes and Laruns, taking in the Col d’Aspin, Col du Tourmalet, and Col d’Aubisque.
As was the case in 2017, the Tour de France will be decided by an individual time trial on the penultimate day, with a 31km time trial between Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle and Espelette. This stage has rolling climbs throughout, with a steep 900m climb just three kilometres from the finish.
As is traditional the 2018 Tour de France will finish in Paris where the winner will be crowned on the Champs-Élysées.
Tour de France 2018 route: stage-by-stage
Stage one: Noirmoutier-en-l’Île to Fontenay-le-Comte, 189km
Starting on the island of Noirmoutier-en-l’Île off the west coast of the Vendé region, this stage had originally planned to cross the Passage du Gois causeway. However after the race was pushed back a week due to the football World Cup, this causeway will now be covered by the tide, meaning riders will have to use the road bridge across the the mainland on the way to a flat finish in Fontenay-le-Comte
Stage two: Mouilleron-Saint-Germain to La Roche-sur-Yon, 183km
A second flat finish on the trot should see the same sprinters contest the stage win as on the opening stage. However with time bonuses of 10, six, and four seconds available on the finish line, as well three, two, and one seconds available at another point on the stage, it’s possible that the yellow jersey could change hands.
Stage three: Cholet to Cholet, 35km (TTT)
When the race last started in the Vendée back in 2011, there was a team time trial, and the discipline returns in 2018, with a 35km test starting and finishing in Cholet that could see a few GC contenders lose time if they’re on weaker teams.
Stage four: La Baule to Sarzeau, 192km
Likely to be another stage for the sprinters, although with a smattering of Breton climbs that will trouble any riders who are short of form. Sarzeau will host a Tour de France stage finish for the first time in its history, which will surely be attended by the town’s mayor, and president of the UCI, David Lappartient.
Stage five: Lorient to Quimper, 181km
A tricky stage through Brittany, this stage features barely a kilometre of flat road as the riders face five categorised climbs and countless other uncategorised climbs over the 181km between Lorient and Quimper.
Stage six: Brest to Mûr de Bretagne, 203km
The first uphill finish of the race will take place on the Mûr de Bretagne, a two kilometre climb that has been used as a stage finish twice before: in 2011 when Cadel Evans showed the form that would see him win that year, and in 2015 by Alexis Vuillermoz. The climb itself ramps up to more than 10 per cent for the first kilometre, before easing off a little for the final 1,000m to the line
Stage seven: Fougères to Chartres, 231km
The longest stage of the race sees the riders come within just 85km (as the crow flies) of the Champs-Élysées, and, like the final stage just over two weeks later, is likely to end in a sprint finish.
Stage eight: Dreux to Amiens, 181km
The second of a pair of stages for the sprinters, stage eight finishes in Amiens, the hometown of French president Emmanuel Macron, where André Greipel won in 2015.
Stage nine: Arras to Roubaix, 154km
A short, but difficult ending to the first week, stage nine sees the riders tackle 15 cobbled sectors totalling nearly 22km, the greatest distance of cobbles included in the Tour’s last five ventures onto the pavé. A number of these sectors are taken from the parcours of Paris-Roubaix, including the five-star sector of Mons-en-Pévèle.
Stage 10: Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand, 159km
After a rest day by the shores of Lake Annecy the riders face their first mountain test of the race, with four climbs on the way to Le Grand-Bornand. Although the Col de la Colombière, which is crested just 15km from the finish, is probably the best known, the Montée du Plateau des Glières is arguably the toughest, averaging 11.2 per cent for six kilometres, and riders being greeted with a couple of kilometres of gravel roads after the summit.
Stage 11: Albertville to La Rosière, 108km
The shortest of the three stages in the Alps, stage 11 starts off with climbs of the Montée de Bisanne and the Col du Pré, both of which feature long stretches of gradients in double figures, before a more steady climb up to the summit finish in La Rosière.
Stage 12: Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Alpe d’Huez, 175km
Alpe d’Huez returns to the race for the first time since 2015, but before the riders get there they have to get over the other hors-categorie climbs of the Col de la Madeleine and the Col de la Croix de Fer, as well as the spectacular Lacets de Montvernier ise back in 2016. The famous 21 hairpins of the Alpe will then decide the stage winner, with the GC riders having no excuses to hold back with the race heading out of the mountains the following day.
Stage 13: Bourg d’Oisans to Valence, 169km
After three tough days in the mountains, the peloton can look forward to an easier day on the road to Valence. The finish should suit the sprinters, but don’t write off the chances of a breakaway.
Stage 14: Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteuax to Mende, 187km
The uphill finish the the aerodrome at Mende is a Tour de France regular, with Steve Cummings being the last victor here in 2015. The steep climb of the Côte de la Croix Neuve averages more than 10 per cent for its three kilometres, before a flat finish on the aerodrome runway.
Stage 15: Millau to Carcassonne, 181km
If Peter Sagan has packed his climbing legs, then this stage is tailor-made for the three-time world champion. The finish into the spectacular walled city of Carcassonne is flat, but it is preceded by the 12.3km, 6.3 per cent climb of the Pic de Nore, which the riders will crest just over 40km from the finish.
Stage 16: Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon, 218km
A long day in the saddle to bring the race into the mountains, the first two-thirds of the stage are flat before the triple whammy of the Col de Portet-d’Aspet, the Col de Menté, and the Col du Portillon. This latter climb is relatively short at eight kilometres, but with should be crucial with just a 10km descent remaining to the finish.
Stage 17: Bagnères-de-Luchon to Saint-Lary-Soulan/Col-de-Portet, 65km
No, that’s not a typo, this really is a 65km road stage – the shortest non-split road stage of the last 30 years. And packed into those 65km are three climbs, with the Montée du Peyragudes – where Chris Froome lost time in 2017 – and the Col de Val Louron-Azet, followed by the final summit finish of the race to Saint-Lary-Soulan/Col de Portet – an unrelenting climb averaging nearly nine per cent for its 16km length.
Stage 18: Trie-sur-Baïse to Pau, 172km
A chance for a bit of respite for the GC contenders, stage 18 will see the race temporarily head out of the Pyrénées for a flat stage into Pau. This is the last stage for the sprinters before the grand finale in Paris, so if the green jersey is still up for grabs then don’t bet on a breakaway.
Stage 19: Lourdes to Laruns, 200km
Arguably the queen stage of the race, the 200km stage between Lourdes and Laruns features some of the Tour’s great climbs in the Col d’Aspin, Col du Tourmalet, and Col d’Aubisque. With a time trial on the agenda for the following day, this is the last chance for the climbers to impose themselves on the race, especially those who can also take advantage of the descent to the finish in Laruns.
Stage 20: Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle to Espelette, 31km (ITT)
As was the case in 2017, the penultimate day of the Tour will see the race decided in a time trial. The 31km length of the test means that there is even less individual time trialling than last year, again beating the record for the lowest number of individual time trial kilometres in the race’s history. However this final time trial is tougher than the 2017 stage in Marseille, with a tough, rolling parcours, and a 900m climb averaging 10.2 per cent just three kilometres from the finish.
Stage 21: Houilles to Paris, 115km
After the time trial in the far south west of the country, then Tour caravan will face a long drive up to Paris for the final stage of the race. As usual this will be a ceremonial stage contested by the sprinters, with the yellow jersey awarded on the Champs-Élysées.
Stages of the 2018 Tour de France route
Tour de France 2017 route
The 2017 Tour de France visited the Alps twice, with the Pyrénées sandwiched in between and a time trial on stage 20 to decide the overall winner.
Riders on the Tour de France start list faced a challenge in Dusseldorf, Germany, as the opening stage presented torrential downpour. The race visited Belgium and Luxembourg within the first four days before skirting down the east side of France until the first rest day.
A transfer to the Pyrénées awaited riders ahead of the second week before the race headed back across the Massif Central into the Alps for a second time.
Stages of the Tour de France 2017 Route
The Tour de France route 2017: stage by stage
Full information and stage profiles for each day of the 2017 Tour.
Stage one: Düsseldorf (DE) 14km ITT
It was announced before the 2016 Tour de France that the grand départ for the 2017 edition will take place on German soil in the city of Düsseldorf. This first stage will comprise of a short time trial, similar to that of the 2015 race, which started with a 13.8km TT around Utrecht.
Stage two: Dusseldorf (DE) – Liège (BE), 203.5km
Stage two will also start in Düsseldorf, doing a small tour of the local area before heading out of town towards an unknown finish. The location of the city to the north west of Germany means we could be in for a stage finish in Belgium as the race heads towards France, with Liège – host of the 2012 Grand Départ – hosting the stage finish.
Stage three: Verviers (BE) – Longwy, 212.5km
As can be expected with a race through Belgium, the parcours is pretty lumpy and the general classification could be shaken up early in the race with an uphill finish. It’s no mountain climb, but the ascent to Longwy hits 11 per cent over its 1.6km, averaging 5.8 per cent. Expect to see the Classics specialists and GC favourites in contention at the end.
Stage four: Mondorf-les-Bains (LU) – Vittel, 207.5km
The small town of Mondorf les Basins is Luxembourg’s only thermal bath resort and is home to retired pro Andy Schleck and his brother Frank. From here riders will take on 207.5km to another bath city in Vittel, home to the water springs that made the company of the same name so successful.
Stage five: Vittel – La Planche des Belles Filles, 160.5km (Summit finish)
The Tour de France returns to La Planche des Belles Filles, the site of Chris Froome’s first Tour stage win. Could this be the place where the Team Sky leader takes the early lead in the race as the leaders get their first chance to test their legs.
Stage six: Vesoul – Troyes, 216km
The iconic town of Troyes has featured in the Tour eight times with its distinctive exposed timber buildings in the old town. Riders will finish here after a 216km ride from Vesoul, a city that was voted ‘the most athletic’ in France in 2001.
Stage seven: Troyes – Nuits-Saint-Georges, 213.5km
The region of Nuits-Saint-Georges plays host not only to the Tour de France this year but is renown for making some of the finest wines in the world. After 213.5km in the baking sun towards the mountains, who will be sipping the sweet liquor of a stage win and who will be harvesting the grapes of wrath?
Stage eight: Dole – Station des Rousses, 187.5km (Summit finish)
A lumpy stage is characterised by two categorised climbs in the final third of the day, culminating in an ascent to Station des Rousses.
Stage nine: Nantua – Chambéry, 181.5km (Mountains)
Starting at altitude in Nantua, the peloton faces a categorised climb from the gun up the Cote des Neyrolles, with the route also taking in the Col de la Binche and the Grand Colombier in the middle kilometres and the daunting Mont du Chat immediately before the descent into Chambéry.
Rest day in Dordogne
Riders will spend the day in Dordogne, a place known for it’s stunning valleys and historic castles that line the landscape.
Stage 10: Périgueux – Bergerac, 178km
Sitting on the Dordogne river, Bergerac is famous for more than being a 80s detective drama series of the same name, the town is known for both its wine and tobacco. Some struggling riders may relish the shorter stage.
Stage 11: Eymet – Pau, 203.5km
With the tour nearing the Pyrénées, sprinters will want to get a victory here even if it’s just to keep morale up for the upcoming climbs.
Stage 12: Pau – Peyragudes, 214.5km (Summit finish)
The race enters the Pyrénées from its traditional base, Pau, and as in 2016 the stage from the city will take in five categorised climbs, including the Col de Peyresourde immediately before the final climb to Peyregudes. The descent of the Peyresourde was the location of Chris Froome’s stage-winning attack in 2016, where he put 13 seconds into his rivals on stage eight.
Stage 13: Saint-Girons – Foix, 101km
The second Pyrénéean stage takes in three main climbs, including the Col d’Agnes and the Mur de Péguère before dropping down into Foix for the finish. At just 100km, this stage is the shortest mountain stage in Tour de France history and should be set up for some exciting racing.
Stage 14: Blagnac – Rodez, 181.5km
The Tour returns to Rodez, having previously visited in 2015 as the race began its migration across to the Alps. Greg Van Avermaet continued Peter Sagan‘s run of second-place finishes in that edition, beating the green jersey wearer in sweltering heat on an uphill finish.
Stage 15: Laissac-Sévérac L’Eglise – Le Puy-en-Velay, 189.5km
The first category climb on the Tour’s 15th stage will favour a breakaway, particularly with riders happier to spend a bit more energy with the prospect of a rest day on the horizon. With some tough days to come, this stage is unlikely to shape the GC in any dramatic fashion.
Rest day in Le Puy-en-Velay
Known for its lace-making, lentils and its cathedral, riders will be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of a town that has played host to historic figures such as Charlemagne and his grandson, Charles the bald.
Stage 16: Brioude – Romans-sur-Isère, 165km
Brioude will be the start of stage 16 on this year’s Tour de France route, as it was back in 2008 where Luis Leon Sanchez crossed the line in Aurillac in first after counter-attacking on the final descent 9km out.
Stage 17: La Mure – Serre Chevalier, 183km
The first stage in the second visit to the Alps sees the iconic climb of the Col du Galibier as the penultimate ascent of the day.
Starting in La Mure, the peloton traverses the Col d’Ornon, the Col de la Croix de Fer and the Col du Télégraphe. The rider leading the stage at the top of the Galibier will be awarded the Prix Henri Desgrange, as the race passes its highest point.
Stage 18: Briançon – Col d’Izoard, 178km (Summit finish)
A little bit of history for the 104th edition as the race finishes for the first time on the Col d’Izoard. The mountain has featured 34 times since 1922, but never has as stage finished on the climb. Interestingly, the Tour’s women’s race, La Course, will be contested on the Col d’Izoard this year – the first time in its four year history it has not taken place on the cobbles of the Champs-Élysées.
Stage 19: Embrun – Salon-de-Provence, 222.5km
Shunning the tradition of recent years, stage 19 heads out of the mountains and towards the Provence region. A rolling stage may not shake up the general classification too much, though, as the riders prepare themselves for the following day’s time trial.
Stage 20: Marseille ITT, 22.5km
Penultimate stage time trials are not uncommon for the Tour de France, with the last being in 2014, although it’s not often that the race heads south for the final stage before Paris.
You can’t get much further south than Marseille, where the deciding time trial will take place, with a long transfer for riders and staff up to the outskirts of Paris.
Stage 21: Montgeron – Paris, 103km
For the 42nd consecutive edition, the Tour de France will finish on the Champs-Élysées, where the fast men will battle it out for the ‘unofficial sprinters’ World Championship’ and the race leader will be crowned the winner.
Tour de France 2016 route
The 2016 and 103rd edition of the Tour de France route was officially revealed in Paris in October 2015, with its 21 stages between Mont Saint-Michel and Paris including a stage up the legendary climb of Mont Ventoux, as well as two tough looking individual time trials.
Below is a full listing of all the stages including each route profile, as supplied by Tour de France organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO).
Stage 1: Saturday July 2, Mont Saint Michel to Utah Beach – Sainte Marie du Mont, 188km
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) won the first stage of the 2016 Tour de France to Utah Beach and with it, the coveted maillot jaune. The Manxman beat Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quick Step) to the line to take his 27th victory at the Tour, keeping him third in the all-time stage winner rankings, one behind Bernard Hinault.
Stage 2: Sunday July 3, Saint Lô to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, 183km
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) ended his Tour de France stage-winning drought with victory on the tough finale in Cherbourg, swapping his rainbow jersey for this fist ever Tour yellow jersey in the process. It was a difficult day for Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Richie Porte (BMC), who both lost time.
Stage 3: Monday July 4, Granville to Angers, 223.5km
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) claimed his second stage victory of the race, narrowly beating André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) in a photo finish.
Stage 4: Tuesday July 5, Saumur to Limoges, 237.5km
Having looked slightly off the pace on the previous three stages, Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) opened his 2016 Tour account with a win on the tough finish in Limoges that featured a slight rise to the line. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) retained the overall lead.
Stage 5: Wednesday July 6, Limoges to Le Lioran, 216km
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) took a solo victory on stage five to move into the overall race lead by a significant margin: five minutes and 11 seconds to next best rider, Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep). Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) lost more time, and Vinceno Nibali (Astana) slipped right out of the running after finishing eight and a half minutes behind the GC group.
Stage 6: Thursday July 7, Arpajon-sur-Cère to Montauban, 190.5km
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) took his third stage win of the 2016 Tour, sprinting clear of rival Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep). British rider Dan McLay (Fortuneo Vital Concept) put in a strong sprint to finish in third, remarkable given that this is his debut Tour. There was no change overall, with Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) keeping the yellow jersey.
Stage 7: Friday July 8, L’Isle-Jourdain to Lac de Payolle, 162.5km
Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) put in a trademark solo attack from the escape group over the Col d’Aspin to net the stage victory, giving Dimension Data (and Britain) its fourth win of the Tour. Race leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) also put himself into the day’s escape group and finished fifth to extend his lead in the general classification.
Stage 8: Saturday July 9, Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon, 184km
Chris Froome (Team Sky) pulled off the unexpected by attacking on the descent of the final climb and taking the stage victory and overall lead on day eight. It was day that saw the first rider abandon the Tour and sets Froome up for a defence of his narrow lead on stage nine.
Stage 9: Sunday July 10, Val d’Aran (Spain): Vielha to Arcalis (Andorra), 184.5km
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) took the stage win in driving rain at Andorra Arcalis, as Chris Froome (Team Sky), Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) finished together to leave the general classification largely unaffected.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) was forced to retire after a race blighted by crashes and illness.
Rest day 1: Monday July 11, Andorra
Stage 10: Tuesday July 12, Andorra to Revel, 197km
This looked like it could be one for a breakaway, and that’s the way it went. Once the break stuck it was a strong group and so became clear it would stay away to the end. When things broke down towards the end, Orica-BikeExchange found themselves with three in the lead group, and made it count when Michael Matthews took the stage win.
The GC top 10 remained unchanged, and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) put himself back in the green jersey.
Stage 11: Wednesday July 13, Carcassonne to Montpelier, 162.5km
The stage did not go as we expected, and certainly not how the sprinters would have wanted. Crosswinds played havoc with the bunch, causing splits and echelons.
The decisive move of the day came when Peter Sagan and Tinkoff teammate Maciej Bodnar went off the front and were then joined – possibly to everyone’s surprise – by Team Sky duo Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.
It looked like they might just ride away and gain a huge time advantage, but in the end Froome got just six seconds of a gap by the finish, and a bonus of a further six seconds thanks to his second place behind Sagan.
Stage 12: Thursday July 14, Montpellier to Mont Ventoux , 184km
A chaotic finish to stage 12 saw Chris Froome (Sky) lose and then regain the race lead after an incident with a motorcycle and the huge crowds packing the side of the roads. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) won the stage, which had been shortened due to extremely high wins at the summit of Mont Ventoux.
Stage 13: Friday July 15, Bourg Saint Andéol to La Caverne du Pont d’Arc, 37.5km ITT
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) obliterated the opposition in the Tour’s long time trial, placing over a minute ahead of second-placed Chris Froome (Team Sky). However, Froome was well ahead of his GC rivals and extended his overall lead. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) moved up to second overall as Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) slipped to third.
Stage 14: Saturday July 16, Montélimar to Villars-les-Dombes, 208.5km
The general classification stayed unchanged, but surely won’t be the case over the next few stages in the mountains.
Stage 15: Sunday July 17, Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz, 160km
Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling) won from a breakaway as Fabio Aru (Astana) was the only contender to really challenge race leader Chris Froome in the mountains.
Froome was having none of it, though, crossing the line in the main group with all of his rivals. The Team Sky leader did work through all but one helper by the finish line, however.
Stage 16: Monday July 18, Moirans-en-Montagne to Bern (Switzerland), 209km
The technical finish, involving cobbled climbs and twisting roads, whittled down the pack but many of the big name sprinters were still present.
Rest day 2: Tuesday July 19, Bern, Switzerland
Stage 17: Wednesday July 20, Bern to Finhaut-Emosson (Switzerland), 184.5km
Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) won the stage solo but the main battle was going on further down the mountain.
In the end Chris Froome (Team Sky) extended his lead in the GC over everyone except Richie Porte (BMC Racing), whose wheel he followed in familiar style up to the finish line. Porte looked strong on the climb and a good showing on tomorrow’s uphill time trial could see his podium ambitions realised.
Quintana was one of the big losers of the day as he had no answer for the moves of Porte and Froome, and his chances of a podium finish suffered.
Stage 18: Thursday July 21, Sallanches to Megève, 17km ITT
The top 6 remained unchanged in order but the time gaps differed to the start of the stage. Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) in third place gained slightly on second placed Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), but also lost time to some of those behind him.
Places two to six are separated by just 68 seconds so even if the overall win seems like a done deal, the fight for a podium place should provide some entertainment over the last two competitive stages.
Stage 19: Friday July 22, Albertville to Saint-Gervais-Mont Blanc, 146km
Chris Froome (Team Sky) minimised his losses on the stage after a crash on the wet final descent. But it was Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) who finished the day happiest, as he won the stage after a late attack and moved up to second in GC. Froome remains over four minutes ahead in the maillot jaune, while Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has replaced Britain’s Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) in third.
Stage 20: Saturday July 23, Megève to Morzine, 146.5km
Wet conditions caused the group of GC contenders including race leader Chris Froome (Sky) to proceed with caution throughout the final mountains stage, including up and down the Col de Joux Plane. With only the processional stage into Paris remaining, Froome has all but sewn up his third Tour title.
Jon Izaguirre (Movistar) won the stage from the day’s escape group.
Stage 21: Sunday July 24, Chantilly to Paris Champs-Élysées, 113km
A fast and furious finale to the 2016 Tour de France saw German powerhouse André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) take his customary stage win at the Tour, beating green jersey winner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) to the line in Paris. Chris Froome (Sky) finished safely just behind the bunch to secure his third Tour overall title.
Here’s a look back at the route of the 2015 Tour de France, plus stage highlights and brief reports about how the 102nd Grande Boucle unfolded.
Tour de France 2015 route
The 102nd Tour de France began for the 21st time outside of France, in the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands.
The first week of 2015 Tour had a very classics feel to it, with stage three finishing for the first time ever on the climb that culminates La Fleche Wallonne, the Mur de Huy. Cobbles featured for the second year in succession, although drier weather this year meant less mayhem for the front-runners than in 2014. Meanwhile, the Mûr-de-Bretagne provided a tough uphill finish to stage eight.
An unusually late team time trial on stage nine led into the first race day. After that, serious GC racing will begin after on stage 10, with the 2015 Tour’s first summit finish atop La Pierre Saint-Martin, which features for the first time in the race’s history.
Three days in the Pyrenees (July 14-16) were followed by a series of transition days across the southern edge of the Massif Central (July 17-19) which included a finish on the fast and punchy ‘Montee Laurent Jalabert’ above Mende.
After Alpine summit finishes at Pra Loup and La Toussuire (where Chris Froome fatefully attacked Bradley Wiggins in 2012), the penultimate day of the race was a short stage of 110km ending on Alpe d’Huez.
As ever, the Tour finished on the Champs-Élysées in Paris for the sprinters’ showdown which was won, almost inevitably, by Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) as the German claimed his fourth victory of this year’s race.
Tour de France 2015 stages
Stage 1: Saturday July 4, Utrecht – Utrecht (Ned) (ITT) 13.7km
This flat 13.7km individual time trial is the only one to feature in this year’s Tour. It was won in an eye-wateringly fast time by BMC’s Rohan Dennis, who claimed the race leader’s yellow jersey to continue an impressive start to 2015.
Stage 2: Sunday July 5, Utrecht – Neeltje Jans (Ned) 166km
This flat stage was earmarked from the start as one that could be difficult in strong winds — and the weather gave the fans (if not the riders) exactly what they wanted. Andre Greipel sprinted to the stage win, but the big winners were Fabian Cancellara, whose time bonus for finishing third was enough to hand him the yellow jersey, and Chris Froome and Alberto Contador, who opened up more than a minute’s advantage over Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali.
Stage 3: Monday July 6, Antwerp – Huy (Bel) 154km
Stage three’s finish on the Mur de Huy climb, the climax to the course of Spring Classic La Flèche Wallonne, was always likely to be a significant moment in the early portion of the race. Chris Froome produced a memorable surge to finish second on the stage and take the overall yellow jersey.
Stage 4: Tuesday July 7, Seraing – Cambrai (Fra) 221km
The Classics-style fourth stage featured seven secteurs of cobbles across an epic 223.5km route that’s the longest of this year’s Tour. It didn’t quite live up to the mayhem of last year’s brutal cobbled stage, but the image of Tony Martin breaking free to finally claim the yellow jersey of 2015’s race put a smile on the faces of cycling fans everywhere.
Stage 5: Wednesday July 8, Cambrai – Amiens 189km
André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) took his second stage win of the Tour on the flat stage to Amiens, beating the likes of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step). It was another stressful day of the Tour for the riders, blighted by wind, rain and crashes.
Stage 6: Thursday July 9, Amiens – Le Havre 191km
Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quick Step) took the win on the small climb to the finish of stage six, but the headlines went to teammate and race leader Tony Martin, who fell in the final kilometre and suffered a suspected broken collarbone.
Stage 7: Friday July 10, Livarot – Fougères 190km
Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step) took his first victory at the Tour de France since 2013, after coming from behind to sprint past his rivals André Greipel and Peter Sagan to the line, on the final flat stage of the Tour before Paris.
Stage 8: Saturday July 11, Rennes – Mûr-de-Bretagne 179km
The tough category three climb at Mûr-de-Bretagne was always likely to test the GC contenders, and it was inevitable that someone would lose time on the leaders. In the event, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) lost 10 seconds to Froome in yellow as Alexis Vouillermoz took the stage win.
Stage 9: Sunday July 12, Vannes – Plumelec 28km
Such a late team trial was inevitably tricky for teams with riders already out of the race, and it was world champions BMC Racing who lived up to their billing as favourites with the stage win. Team Sky, however, were only a second behind, allowing Froome to hold onto the yellow jersey as the race prepares to head into the mountains for the first time.
Rest day: Monday July 13, Pau
Stage 10: Tuesday July 14, Tarbes – La Pierre Saint-Martin 167km
Chris Froome stretched out a commanding lead on the first summit finish of the Tour on the new climb of La Pierre Saint-Martin on stage 10, putting minutes into all his rivals. The Sky leader attacked with 6.3km on the final climb with teammate Richie Porte coming in second behind the victorious Froome. Tejay van Garderen (BMC) remained second in GC, but his 12 second gap had become almost three minutes.
Stage 11: Wednesday July 15, Pau – Cauterets 188km
Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) took victory on the mammoth stage 11 taking in the climbs of Aspin, Tourmalet and Cauterets. The Pole made his move from the day’s main break up the breakaway, and comfortably soloed home on the 188k route to take his third ever stage win in the Tour. Chris Froome (Team Sky) retained the yellow jersey once again, while Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) lost even more time in what’s turning into a disastrous Tour for the Italian champion.
Stage 12: Thursday July 16, Lannemazen – Plateau de Beille 195km
On what was widely regarded as the Queen Stage of this year’s race, stage 12 was not the explosive GC battle it may have been. Joaquim Rodriguez took a solo stage victory on Plateau de Beille, a 15.8km climb that has almost 1800m of ascent, as the overall contenders all arrived together 6-47 later. Thanks in no small part to the work of Sky teammate Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey by the same margin over his nearest rivals.
Stage 13: Friday July 17, Muret – Rodez 200km
Peter Sagan finished second for the fourth time this Tour as he missed out on the stage victory to Greg Van Avermaet. The breakaway was caught with less than 1km to go, and a large peloton containing most of the main sprinters hit the last climb up to the finish at Rodez.
As Van Avermaet pushed on for the finish line, Sagan sat on his wheel and many would have expected him to round the Belgian and take the win, but the BMC man proved too strong.
Chris Froome finished in sixth and comfortably retained the leader’s yellow jersey.
Stage 14: Saturday July 18, Rodez – Mende-Montée Laurent Jalabert 175km
A brutal climb to the finish in Mende – 3km at 10.1 per cent – gave the anticipated fireworks on a wonderfully exciting stage. A twenty-man breakaway was allowed to escape fairly early, and just when it looked as if the finale would come down to a two-way battle between Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Romain Bardet (AG2R), in slipped Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) to deliver MTN’s first ever Tour stage win… on Mandela Day to boot. Behind the breakaway, Chris Froome put yet another second into Nairo Quintana, even as the Colombian moved up into second place.
Stage 15: Sunday July 19, Mende – Valence 182km
German sprinter André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) took his third stage win of the 2015 race after the day’s escape group were caught to set up a bunch sprint finish. Greipel won ahead of John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) to claim his ninth Tour stage victory since 2011. Froome safely retained the race lead on a day where the overall contenders were happy for the sprinters to occupy the limelight.
Stage 16: Monday July 20, Bourg-de-Péage – Gap 201km
Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida) took a first Tour de France stage victory after making a solo break on the Col de Manse on stage 16, as Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) recorded a fifth second-place result of the race.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) retained the overall lead after his rivals pushed the pace on the descent of the final categry two climb, with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) claiming back a handful of seconds as he tries to restore some pride in what has been a dismal Tour campaign for the Italian.
The biggest drama came as Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) crashed off the road on the descent, with Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) running into the side of the Thomas as the Frenchman tried to overtake on a right hand bend.
Rest day: Tuesday July 21, Gap/Digne-les-Bains
Stage 17: Wednesday July 22, Digne-les-Bains – Pra-Loup (via the Col des Champs) 161km
A very mountainous day for the riders, that ended on the climb where Eddy Merckx effectively lost the 1975 Tour de France to Pra Loup. Chris Froome (Team Sky) successfully defended his 3-10 lead over Nairo Quintana (Movistar) as Giant-Alpecin’s Simon Geschke soloed to victory from the day’s breakaway.
The stage saw third place Tejay van Garderen (BMC) abandon the Tour after struggling with illness, while Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) lost a further two minutes on his rivals after crashing on the descent of the Col d’Allos.
Stage 18: Thursday July 23, Gap – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne 185km
The breakaway stuck it out to the end for the sixth time in the Tour’s last eight stages, as Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) soloed away from his fellow escapees 40km from home atop the Col du Glandon to glory.
The Frenchman held out over the aesthetically pleasing Lacets de Montvernier climb to take a famous victory ahead of compatriot Pierre Rolland (Europcar).
Meanwhile Chris Froome (Team Sky) wasn’t called on too much by his GC rivals, holding on to his yellow jersey lead as he crossed the line with the likes of Nario Quintana and Alejandro Valverde of Movistar.
Stage 19: Friday July 24, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – La Toussuire 138km
The 19th stage of the 2015 Tour de France saw race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) in real trouble for the first in the race, as he struggled to match the pace of Movistar’s Nairo Quintana on the final climb to La Toussuire, with the Colombian taking 30 seconds out of the Brit’s 3-10 lead going into the final mountain stage to Alpe d’Huez on Saturday.
No-one could catch 2014 Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) on the third day in the Alps, as the Italian broke away on the Col de la Croix de Fer to solo up the final climb to stage victory.
Stage 20: Saturday July 25, Modane – L’Alpe d’Huez 110km
An outstanding day’s racing and a supreme display of climbing prowess saw Nairo Quintana push Chris Froome all the way – and even though the Colombian beat the Brit on the day, it was enough to seize the yellow jersey. Frenchman Thibaut Pinot won the stage and Quintana ate 1-20 minute out of Froome’s overall lead – but Froome still has a 1-12 minute advantage with only the procession into Paris left in this year’s race.
Stage 21: Saturday July 26, Sèvres – Champs-Élysées, Paris 107km
Where else would the Tour finish? As Chris Froome enjoyed his ceremonial victory ride into Paris, the sprinters geared themselves up for one last daredevil finish — and it was Andre Greipel who claimed his fourth win of this year’s Tour with a typically muscular finish.
Tour de France 2015