This yr’s Tour de France is the very best within the historical past of the world’s largest bike race, with seven mountain levels and 5 gruelling summit finishes.
Throw in a meagre 54km towards the clock, half of which are available Stage 2’s workforce time trial (TTT), and the race seems made for the pure climbers.
That’s why Egan Bernal, the 22-year-old Colombian prodigy driving for Staff Ineos, has leapfrogged the reigning champion and his teammate Geraint Thomas because the race favorite within the absence of Chris Froome.
The three,480-km (2,145-mile) race set out on Saturday 6 July with a flat stage for sprinters across the metropolis of Brussels, with the motion remaining in Belgium for following day’s TTT.
After that, the motion snakes via the Champagne and Lorraine areas earlier than a primary mountain check on the Planche des Belles Filles, in Alsace.
The climbing will get more and more brutal when it reaches the Pyrenees after the primary relaxation day, earlier than culminating with 4 exhausting days within the Alps. Right here’s a take a look at each stage within the 2019 race.
- 1 Stage 1 – July 6: Bruxelles to Brussel, (194.5km)
- 2 Stage 2 – July 7: Bruxelles Palais Royal to Brussel Atomium (27.6km workforce time trial)
- 3 Stage three – July Eight: Binche to Epernay (215km)
- 4 Stage four – July 9: Reims to Nancy (213.5km)
- 5 Stage 5 – July 10: Saint-Die-des-Vosges to Colmar (175.5km)
- 6 Stage 6 – July 11: Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles (160.5km)
- 7 Stage 7 – July 12: Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saone (230km)
- 8 Stage Eight – July 13: Macon to St Etienne (200km)
- 9 Stage 9 – July 14: St Etienne to Briourde (170.5km)
- 10 Stage 10 – July 15: Saint-Flour to Albi (217.5km)
- 11 Stage 11 – July 17: Albi to Toulouse (167km)
- 12 Stage 12 – July 18: Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre (209.5km)
- 13 Stage 13 – July 19: Pau to Pau (27.2 time trial)
- 14 Stage 14 – July 20: Tarbes to Tourmalet Bareges (117.5km)
- 15 Stage 15 – July 21: Limoux to Foix Prat d’Albis (185.5km)
- 16 Stage 16 – July 23: Nimes to Nimes (177km)
- 17 Stage 17 – July 24: Pont du Gard to Hole (200km)
- 18 Stage 18 – July 25: Embrue to Valloire (208km)
- 19 Stage 19 – July 26: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes (126.5km)
- 20 Stage 20 – July 27: Albertville to Val Thorens (130km)
- 21 Stage 21 – July 28: Rambouillet to Paris Champs-Elysees (128km)
- 22 The Tour de France on TV
- 23 The important thing levels
Stage 1 – July 6: Bruxelles to Brussel, (194.5km)
The opening stage of the Tour touches on the perfect of Belgian biking, delving into each the Flemish Ardennes of the Tour of Flanders and passing by way of the childhood house of the good Eddy Merckx, Woluwe Saint-Pierre.
There are some rolling hills alongside the best way however the greater situation on this a part of the world is often wind – nevertheless, anticipate a dash in Brussels.
Stage 2 – July 7: Bruxelles Palais Royal to Brussel Atomium (27.6km workforce time trial)
An early check for the supporting casts of these concentrating on yellow within the type of a workforce time trial, which current historical past suggests can be intently matched.
In 4 TTTs on the Tour since 2011, solely the 2015 version left any decisive gaps between the highest contenders.
Stage three – July Eight: Binche to Epernay (215km)
4 categorised climbs within the ultimate 45 kilometres of a punchy third stage ought to make issues unpredictable because the race makes its approach into France.
Can the dash groups maintain issues collectively over these late lumps, or will the Classics specialists come to the fore?
Stage four – July 9: Reims to Nancy (213.5km)
Simply shy of 200km of close to pan-flat roads precede one late lump on the horizon earlier than an easy run to a dash end in Nantes.
Barring the primary week dramas which have characterised the primary week of current Excursions, this seems to be like one of many race’s quieter days.
Stage 5 – July 10: Saint-Die-des-Vosges to Colmar (175.5km)
The primary correct hills of the Tour come as they experience into the Vosges, the place stage 5 takes the peloton over 4 categorised climbs, with two rated as class two.
With basic classification hopefuls maybe protecting their powder dry for the subsequent day, this might see a breakaway prosper.
Stage 6 – July 11: Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles (160.5km)
The GC battle ought to come alive over seven categorised climbs, 4 of them class one, together with the summit end at La Planche des Belles Filles.
Current Tour historical past suggests whoever wears yellow right here will put on it in Paris – see Bradley Wiggins in 2012, Vincenzo Nibali in 2014 and Chris Froome in 2017.
This yr sees a change on the summit, with an additional kilometre together with 24 per cent gradients and gravel sections.
Stage 7 – July 12: Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saone (230km)
Though this can be a restoration day of types with flat roads taking the race south west in the direction of wine nation, at 230km that is hardly a relaxation.
Anticipate an extended, sluggish day with each probability of a headwind harassing the peloton, and a dash end anticipated.
Stage Eight – July 13: Macon to St Etienne (200km)
Though the lumpy Massif Central doesn’t rival the peaks of the Alps or Pyrenees, with seven categorised climbs this shall be a draining day on the legs.
A day with a number of attainable assault factors is designed to interrupt the management of the large groups, with the likes of Staff Ineos needing to remain cautious.
Stage 9 – July 14: St Etienne to Briourde (170.5km)
A stage that finishes in Romain Bardet’s house city isn’t actually troublesome sufficient for the good French hope to take victory, however how the locals would like to see the 28-year-old finish Bastille Day in yellow together with his household watching on.
As for the stage, anticipate an enormous breakaway, filled with Frenchmen, to assault one another on the ultimate climb which peaks 13 kilometres from the road.
Stage 10 – July 15: Saint-Flour to Albi (217.5km)
The ultimate stage earlier than the peloton reaches its first relaxation day presents grateful riders a largely downhill second half, with the dash groups hoping for an easy day.
Stage 11 – July 17: Albi to Toulouse (167km)
The final time a Tour stage completed in Toulouse, again in 2008, a younger debutant by the identify of Mark Cavendish took victory.
After two robust years of sickness, damage and misfortune the Manxman might definitely use a repeat 11 years on and, with the mountains looming, will probably be the sprinters’ final probability for some time.
Stage 12 – July 18: Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre (209.5km)
The races reaches the Pyrenees, though stage 12 is only a warm-up earlier than the extra arduous challenges to return.
Two class one climbs, the Peyresourde and the Hourquette d’Ancizan, present the main target earlier than an extended descent into Bagneres-de-Bigorre the place Eire’s Dan Martin took his first stage win in 2013.
Stage 13 – July 19: Pau to Pau (27.2 time trial)
The one particular person time trial of this yr’s Tour can be a check of power over a rolling course, but in addition a check of the top, with contenders cautious of the main mountains simply across the nook.
The eventual winner of the Tour has completed within the prime 4 of each very long time trial since 2011 however this time they could should handle their efforts and save their legs.
Stage 14 – July 20: Tarbes to Tourmalet Bareges (117.5km)
The primary of the 5 HC climbs concerned on this yr’s race comes on stage 14 – a brief, sharp 117.5km sprint to the summit of the long-lasting Tourmalet.
The very best surfaced climb within the Pyrenees has featured within the Tour 87 occasions however, remarkably, this shall be solely the second stage end on the summit.
Stage 15 – July 21: Limoux to Foix Prat d’Albis (185.5km)
A second summit end in a row comes on a extra conventional Pyrenean stage, which rolls over a number of testing climbs, sapping the legs and minds.
Nevertheless, this time there isn’t a custom to the end with the unknown amount of the Prat d’Albis making its Tour debut.
Stage 16 – July 23: Nimes to Nimes (177km)
After the second relaxation day comes a reasonably flat stage, though with fixed modifications of course on a loop beginning and ending in Nimes the sprinters’ plans might be disrupted if the Mistral wind blows.
Stage 17 – July 24: Pont du Gard to Hole (200km)
The race enters the Alps with one other transition stage, which options not one of the massive passes on a day of gradual climbing as much as Hole.
Though it seems to be like a day for the breakaway a punchy last climb of the Col de la Sentinelle might be a springboard for GC assaults, whereas it’s not inconceivable that some sprinters might survive in the primary group.
Stage 18 – July 25: Embrue to Valloire (208km)
There might solely be 5 HC climbs in the complete Tour, however two of them are available a single day because the riders deal with the Izoard and the Galibier earlier than dropping right down to the end in Valloire.
The stage winner ought to come from whichever group first crests the Galibier – showing for the 60th time because the Tour’s most common Alpine venue – and this could possibly be a decisive day general.
Stage 19 – July 26: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes (126.5km)
Stage 19 is a leg-sapping day designed to check the resolve of anybody planning a late transfer within the common classification.
The Iseran – at 2,770m the excessive level of the Tour – comes in the midst of the stage and casts an extended shadow earlier than the shorter climb to Tignes gives a chance for assaults.
Stage 20 – July 27: Albertville to Val Thorens (130km)
The final probability saloon for GC hopefuls doesn’t look an inviting one, with the Tour’s ultimate climb an excruciating 33.4km HC slog as much as Val Thorens.
If ever there was a Tour designed for a real climber, one with solely a handful of time trial kilometres and 4 HC climbs within the final three days might be it.
Stage 21 – July 28: Rambouillet to Paris Champs-Elysees (128km)
After the ardours of the race’s remaining week, the normal jolly into Paris will merely be a query of which sprinters survived the Alps to battle it out on the Champs-Elysees.
Geraint Thomas celebrates profitable final yr’s race alongside his teammate Chris Froome (Getty Pictures)
The Tour de France on TV
Each stage is being proven reside in full on each ITV4 and Eurosport 1, with Welsh language channel S4C additionally displaying prolonged reside protection.
For many who aren’t capable of sit by way of 5 or 6 hours of racing a day, all three channels are additionally displaying nightly highlights.
On ITV4, these are broadcast from 7.00pm-Eight.00pm, on Eurosport 1 they’re Eight.00pm-9.30pm and usually on S4C they’re a half-hour package deal at both 9.30pm or 10.00pm, so if Tour fever has properly and really struck you possibly can watch all of them.
The important thing levels
The Tour all the time throws up surprises, with crosswinds, crashes and controversy all the time enjoying a probably decisive position within the basic classification.
Which means precisely predicting the place the race might be gained is fraught with danger – however, with that in thoughts, listed here are 5 levels which stand out:
Stage 6: Mulhouse to La Planche Des Belles Filles
Launched to the Tour in 2012, the Planche des Belles Filles ascent instantly turned a basic, a steep, tortuous and brutal climb that includes a 20 per cent gradient on the prime.
The ultimate ascent comes after a number of different climbs together with the Markstein, the Ballon d’Alsace and the Col des Chevreres, which means the pack must be lowered to a small bunch of common classification contenders in the previous few kilometers.
Stage 13: Pau, particular person time trial
The one particular person time trial of this yr’s Tour is happening on a rolling terrain and options an uphill stretch of street with a seven per cent gradient.
An excellent probability for general contenders to realize priceless time on the pure climbers earlier than the race ventures into the excessive mountains, and the stage winner will obtain a particular collector’s shirt marking the 100th anniversary of the yellow jersey.
Stage 15: Limoux to Foix Prat d’Albis
The day after Stage 14 to the fabled Tourmalet, the ultimate gruelling day within the Pyrenees options greater than 39km of climbing, culminating with the 11.8km ascent of Prat d’Albis at a mean gradiant of 6.9 per cent.
Stage 19: Saint-Jean-De-Maurienne to Tignes
At 2,770 meters, the Iseran within the Alps is a Tour de France big, and one of many highest street passes in Europe the place skinny air will make issues robust for the peloton.
That is the eighth time will probably be tackled within the historical past of the race, from its harder south aspect, earlier than a ultimate 7.4km uphill effort to Tignes ski resort which flattens within the ultimate kilometre.
Stage 20: Albertville to Val Thorens
If the race lead continues to be up for grabs going into the ultimate actual stage, the Tour’s organisers have arrange a really perfect stage for a remaining showdown within the Alps.
There are three climbs and technical downhills over an explosive 130km, with the very best Tour in historical past ending with a 33km, 5.5 per cent ascent to the ski station of Val Thorens.
Egan Bernal has emerged as one of many favorite’s for this yr’s mountain-heavy Tour (AFP/Getty Photographs)
Tour de France – in numbers
100 – this yr marks the centenary of the yellow jersey being launched, although it’s the 106th Tour de France.
three,480 – distance (kilometres) to be coated on this yr’s race, a rise from three,351km final yr.
176 – riders concerned in Le Tour, eight in every of the 22 groups.
230 – stage seven (km), from Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saone, is the longest of the 21 on the schedule. The 117.5km stage 14, from Tarbes to Tourmalet Bareges, is the shortest excluding time trials.
2,770 – the very best level (metres) on the route, on the summit of the Col de l’Iseran on stage 19.
120 – riders within the ladies’s race, La Course.
121 – distance (km) coated on La Course, which takes place on July 19.
6/7 – Staff Sky, now rebranded as Group Ineos, have gained six of the final seven editions of the race, because of Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2012. Chris Froome in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 and Geraint Thomas final yr.
40.2 – Thomas’ common velocity (km/h) in profitable final yr’s race.
31 – riders pressured to desert final yr’s Tour.
61 – Thomas was the 61st totally different winner of the lads’s race.
34 – stage wins by Eddy Merckx, probably the most in Tour historical past. Second-placed Mark Cavendish has 30.
Eight – seconds. The narrowest profitable margin in Tour historical past, when Greg Le Mond beat Laurent Fignon in 1989.
12m – as much as 12m spectators are anticipated to observe from the roadside.
190 – nations through which the race might be broadcast.
3m – followers for the Tour’s official Twitter account.
Further reporting by AP and Press Affiliation