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Some intriguing stages including cobbles, gravel and a big final week in the Pyrenees

The route of the 2018 Tour de France has been announced today in Paris with race director Christian Prudhomme promising an open and exciting race but also emphasising the safety of riders.

Highlights will include some tough stages during the opening week, a visit to the cobbles on the way to Roubaix, an ascent of the Alpe d’Huez, and what should be a thrilling short stage in the Pyrenees, where there will also be an unprecedented summit finish on the Col du Portet.

Tour de France overview map 2018.jpg

Tour de France overview map 2018.jpg

The race will get underway on Saturday 7 July in the Vendée region, with more than half of the 189km opening stage from Noirmoutier-en-l'Île to Fontenay-le-Comte raced along the coast, exposing the peloton to the  threat of crosswinds. Stage 3 meanwhile features a 35-kilometre team time trial starting and finishing in Cholet.

On the 40th anniversary of the first of Bernard Hinault’s five Tour de France victories, the race heads into his native Britanny after four days in the Vendée.

Stage 5 from L’Orient to Quimper is billed as providing a taste of an Ardennes Classic, while the following day’s Stage 6 includes a double ascent of the Mur-de-Bretagne, which hosts what previous editions suggest should be an exciting summit finish.

2018 TdF Stage 5.jpg

2018 TdF Stage 5.jpg

One of the most eagerly anticipated stages will be the ninth one from Arras to Roubaix, which will include 15 cobbled sections covering 21.9 kilometres in all.

A first rest day in Annecy will be followed by Stage 10 to Le Grand Bornand, including a 2 kilometre stretch on gravel roads. That stage will also provide the parcours for next year's Etape du Tour.

2018 TdF Stage 10.jpg

2018 TdF Stage 10.jpg

The race remains in the Alps for the following two days, with summit finishes at La Rosiere and Alpe d'Huez.

2018 TdF Stage 11.jpg

2018 TdF Stage 11.jpg

2018 TdF Stage 12.jpg

2018 TdF Stage 12.jpg

A second rest day in Carcassonne is followed by the race heading into the Pyrenees, including an unusually short 65-kilometre stage finishing on the Col d'Aspet which will see attacks from the start.

2018 TdF Stage 16.jpg

2018 TdF Stage 16.jpg

2018 TdF Stage 17.jpg

2018 TdF Stage 17.jpg

2018 TdF Stage 19.jpg

2018 TdF Stage 19.jpg

The only individual time trial of the race takes place in the Basque Country on the penultimate day and with a 900 metre climb at an average gradient of 10.2 per cent ahead of a descent to the finish in Espellette that could prove influential for the overall title.

The race will finish in Paris on 29 July.

Here's a look back at this year's race.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

9 comments

Avatar
Liam Cahill [83 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

Is it just me or does this feel like a proper tour route?

Flat first week, mountains, break away days, mountains then Paris.

Luvly!

Avatar
RobD [531 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Really looking forward to stage 17, at 65km of almost all climbing and decending it could be pretty unpredictible.

Probably not quite the route Tom Dumoulin was hoping for, I think this favours Froome a little more (as well as several others) not that I think that would necessarily stop him.

Avatar
Simon_MacMichael [2504 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Liam Cahill wrote:

Is it just me or does this feel like a proper tour route?

Flat first week, mountains, break away days, mountains then Paris.

Luvly!

I love that you think those two Breton stages I mentioneed are "flat"  3

ps - As in, you may consider them that way, my legs certainly wouldn't.

Avatar
Grahamd [723 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

The inclusion of gravel could be interesting. We've been told by the cycling companies that dedicated gravel bikes are seemingly required for gravel and specific tyres are also needed. So, are we going to see all the peloton switch bikes to support their sponsors? Or are we going to see that all this gravel bike hype is nonsense as the peloton continues on their road bikes unaffected? 

Avatar
Miller [55 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

It's only 2km of gravel. No-one ever said you would need a dedicated bike for 2km of relatively polite unsurfaced track.

If you want to venture off tarmac in a more committed way then a gravel bike isn't hype. 

 

Avatar
Goldfever4 [378 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

You don't already have your answer from Strade Bianche? Or Paris-Roubaix, or Flanders?

 

You do have a point though about the separate model category

 

Grahamd wrote:

The inclusion of gravel could be interesting. We've been told by the cycling companies that dedicated gravel bikes are seemingly required for gravel and specific tyres are also needed. So, are we going to see all the peloton switch bikes to support their sponsors? Or are we going to see that all this gravel bike hype is nonsense as the peloton continues on their road bikes unaffected? 

Avatar
Johnnystorm [96 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Grahamd wrote:

The inclusion of gravel could be interesting. We've been told by the cycling companies that dedicated gravel bikes are seemingly required for gravel and specific tyres are also needed. So, are we going to see all the peloton switch bikes to support their sponsors? Or are we going to see that all this gravel bike hype is nonsense as the peloton continues on their road bikes unaffected? 

Hmm. Being a super fit pro with a support car, half a dozen spare bikes on hand and your bike only having to survive 200k before seeing a mechanic isn't the same scenario as someone doing the Dirty Reiver or an off-road coast to coast ride.

Avatar
Miller [55 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Many, many years ago I cycled up to the Plateau des Glieres and found the memorial to the resistance and also the road continuing as unsurfaced. This was long before GPS computers and I would have had 23mm or even 21mm tyres. I remember wanting to continue but I didn't know how long the gravel section was and I did not have confidence that my tyres would survive so I turned back. I'd love to have a go on a current bike. The Etapers should enjoy this section, those who aren't stopped at the side swapping out an inner tube (a common sight in gravel events).

Avatar
BarryBianchi [419 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Bugger all climbing, as usual.  For that reason I'm, yet again, forced not to bother, and just sit at home on my fat arse watching it on T.V. trying not to let my beer froth get in the way.  When WILL they learn?