The route of the 2015 Tour de France has been unveiled in Paris this morning, and it looks like being a tough edition of the race, with summit finishes including the Alpe d’Huez on the final day, but just one short individual time trial, and a stage featuring pave sections for the second year running. Meanwhile, bonus seconds are back, and the points competition has also been overhauled.
Those changes to the points competition will benefit the winners of sprint stages, and all stages other than those against the clock will see bonus seconds awarded of 10, 6 and 4 seconds respectively for the first three men across the line.
Before a star studded audience in the Palais des Congrès in the French capital including current champion Vincenzo Nibali, race director Christian Prudhomme confirmed the final day in Paris will see the peloton race round the back of the Arc de Triomphe for the third year running, and the race’s last stage will be preceded by La Course, the women’s race which made its debut this year.
The presentation of the route, which had been accurately predicted yet again by Thomas Vergouwen of the Velowire website, was accompanied by this flythrough video.
The race starts on 4 July in the Netherlands, with an individual time trial – at 13.7km, well beyond the 8km distance that would see it classified in as a Prologue – in Utrecht. That is the only individual stage against the clock, though there is a team time trial later in the race.
It’s a flat, if technical course that will see the first yellow jersey of the race go to a time trial specialist, and the race recommences the next day in the same city with a road stage that takes it along the North Sea coast – beware of echelons – to Neeltje Jans.
Stage 3 begins in Antwerp and ends in Huy, making for a tough uphill finish. The race then crosses the northern French landscape, including the Somme, scarred by the First World War which will be commemorated during the race, with stage finishes in Cambrai, Amiens and Le Havre.
The Yorkshire Grand Depart will be a year-old memory by the time next year’s race starts, but one thing is clear – the first week or so of the race will be within easy striking distance of the Channel ports.
The race then heads into Britanny, with stages ending in Fougères and on the Mûr-de-Bretagne, which hosted a pulsating uphill finish in 2011, won by eventual champion Cadel Evans, followed by the individual time trial to and Plumelec.
The first rest day is in Pau, the city in the shadow of the Pyrenees and is where Alberto Contador claims to have eaten that infamous steak, and where it was revealed Fränk Schleck had failed a doping control. At least it’s the first rest day this time round.
Pau is one of the Tour’s regular gateways to or from the Pyrenees, and with the Alps featuring earlier last year, it’s natural that this time round the race should take the anti-clockwise route around what the French call ‘l’Hexagone.’
Stage finishes in a segment of the race that kicks off on Bastille Day include the ski station of La Pierre Saint-Martin, never used before in, Vallee de Saint-Savin, and the Plateau de Beille, which has already forged its place in Tour history.
Next comes the transition towards the Alps, where there will be a summit finish on the penultimate day of the race on Alpe d’Huez – preceded by a stage finish in Gap, with earlier finishes including Rodez, the Montée Laurent Jalabert in Mende and Valence.
The Alpe d’Huez stage finish will come after ones at Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and La Toussuire in a tough final week in theAlps that will decide the race, and will be followed by the traditional final day stage into Paris, staring in Sèvres.
2015 Tour de France route
Saturday, July 4
Utrecht - 14km individual time trial
Sunday, July 5
Utrecht to Zelande - 166km
Monday, July 6
Antwerp to Huy - 154km
Tuesday, July 7
Seraing to Cambrai - 221km
Wednesday, July 8
Arras to Amiens - 189km
Thursday, July 9
Abbeville to Le Havre - 191km
Friday, July 10
Livarot to Fougeres - 190km
Saturday, July 11
Rennes to Mur de Bretagne - 179km
Sunday, July 12
Vannes to Plumelec - 28km team time trial
Monday, July 13 - first rest day
Tuesday, July 14
Tarbes to La Pierre Saint-Martin - 167km
Wednesday, July 15
Pau to Cauterets-Vallee de Saint-Savin - 188km
Thursday, July 16
Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille - 195km
Friday, July 17
Muret to Rodez - 200km
Saturday, July 18
Rodez to Mende - 178km
Sunday, July 19
Mende to Valance - 182km
Monday, July 20
Bourg de Peage to Gap - 201km
Tuesday, July 21 – second rest day
Wednesday, July 22
Digne-les-Bains to Pra-Loup - 161km
Thursday, July 23
Gap to Saint-Jean de Maurienne - 185km
Friday, July 24
Saint-Jean de Maurienne to La Toussuire-Les Sybelles - 138km
Saturday, July 25
Modane Valfrejus to Alpe d'Huez - 110km
Sunday, July 26
Sevres to Paris - 107km
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.