Details of the route to be covered during the 21 stages of the 2019 edition of the Tour de France were announced in Paris yesterday.
Next year’s French Grand Tour will depart from Brussels to mark the 50th anniversary of Belgian Eddy Merckx’s first of five Tour victories. It is also the 100th anniversary of the famous yellow jersey.
It will be the 116th edition of the Tour, but the 100th since the first yellow jersey was introduced in 1919.
The Tour next year will, according to the organisers, be the “highest in history” with 30 categorised climbs and five mountain-finish stages.
Three of the mountain finishes will be at an altitude above 2 000m and the race will cover a total 3 460km over its 21 days.
View more details of the stages below.
Stage one – July 6, Brussels to Brussels – 192km
The opening stage is a sprinters’ course and includes the steep Mur de Grammont as well as a possible cobbled section to add a different challenge. The route also heads past the Lion Mound memorial, where Napoleon was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815.
Stage two – July 7, Brussels Palais Royal to Brussels Atomium – 28km
The second stage will comprise a team time-trial and the yellow jersey from the first stage could potentially change shoulders if the holder is not surrounded by specialists for a collective effort.
Stage three – July 8, Binche to Epernay – 214km
A somewhat hilly stage, this will comprise a sequence of hills and punchy climbs such as the Côte de Mutigny, after crossing the border into France in the final 30km.
Stage four – July 9, Reims to Nancy – 215km
A flat and fast route, it should produce a bunch sprint on the 1.5km final stretch in Nancy.
Stage five – July 10, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges to Colmar – 169km
Another hilly stage, this moves through the villages of Alsace before riders take on the first real climbs of the Tour, such as the Côte des Trois-Épis.
Stage six – July 11, Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles – 157km
The Tour’s first mountain stage, here riders will take on several climbs including the Markstein, the Ballon d’Alsace and the Col des Chevrères.
Stage seven – July 12, Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saône – 230km
The seventh stage is the longest in the Tour, but it is a flat course which moves through Ornans.
Stage eight – July 13, Mâcon to Saint-Étienne – 199km
This is a somewhat mountainous stage, with riders having to tackle the Croix de Montmain, the Croix de Thel, the Croix Paquet, the Croix de Part and the Côte d’Aveize. The stage comprises a total 3 800m of elevation.
Stage nine – July 14, Saint-Étienne to Brioude – 170km
A hilly stage, the Mur d’Aurec-sur-Loire will be a decisive section and could potentially determine the winners. Expect drama on the Côte de Saint-Just, a 3.7km climb at 7.3 per cent gradient in the last 13km.
Stage 10 – July 15, Saint-Flour to Albi – 218km
A flat sprinter’s course at an altitude of merely 1 000m, this could make it challenging to reel in any potential breakaway.
Rest day – July 16.
Stage 11 – July 17, Albi to Toulouse – 167km
Riders will set off towards the Pyrenees through the Tarn department. It will be a stage suited to the sprinters, so their respective teammates should know how to play their cards right before the bunch sprint.
Stage 12 – July 18, Toulouse to Bagnères-de-Bigorre – 202km
This is a mountainous stage with climbs up Peyresourde and La Hourquette d’Ancizan. This will determine the best climbers before they head down to Bagnères-de-Bigorre.
Stage 13 – July 19, Pau to Pau – 27km
An individual time-trial, this is suited to riders with all-round qualities.
Stage 14 – July 20, Tarbes to Tourmalet – 117km
Riders will reach the 2 000m mark before even making it to the Col du Tourmalet. Earlier, the stage features two other climbs on the Col du Soulor.
Stage 15 – July 21, Limoux to Foix – 185km
A mountainous stage, this focuses on new climbs – the Côte de Montségur and the finish at Prat d’Albis, which is a 12km climb at an average gradient of 6.9 per cent. The stage has a total 4 700m of elevation.
Stage 16 – July 22, Nîmes to Nîmes – 177km
A loop taking place entirely in the department of Gard, here the peloton will get the opportunity to ride on the Pont du Gard, before a bunch sprint finish is likely in Nîmes at the end.
Stage 17 – July 23, Pont du Gard to Gap – 206km
Riders will move through the Rhone valley before they pass through Vaison-la-Romaine. The stage ends with a decisive climb up to La Sentinelle with under 10km to go.
Rest day – July 24
Stage 18 – July 25, Embrun to Valloire – 207km
Riders will move through the high mountains of the first big Alpine stage where they will ascend above 2 000m. The day will include climbs up Vars, the Izoard and the Galibier.
Stage 19 – July 26, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes – 123km
Another mountain stage, this will take riders to the summit of the Col de l’Iseran, which is at an altitude of 2 770m. That summit will be reached only for the eighth time in the Tour’s history and second on its south side, which is the toughest one.
Stage 20 – July 27, Albertville to Val Thorens – 131km
This is the third mountain finish above 2 000m, a first in the Tour’s history. Riders will take on the Cormet de Roselend before the final climb to Val Thorens. The stage has a total ascent of 4 450m.
Stage 21 – July 28, Rambouillet to Paris Champs-Élysées – 127km
The yellow jersey is traditionally set on the winner’s shoulders by the final stage. This is a course suited to the sprinters who will take the spoils on the Champs-Élysées. The hills of the Chevreuse valley could be decisive for the polka-dot jersey.