The route of next year’s Tour de France, due to have been unveiled tomorrow at the Palais des Congrès in Paris, will now be revealed on Sunday, with organisers ASO saying that the presentation will be broadcast live on television as well as on the race’s social media channels.
Each October, stars of the sport past and present as well as dignitaries from towns and cities hosting stages of the following year’s race are joined by fans and press in the 3,700-capacity venue as race director Christian Prudhomme reveals the full route.
But in a message posted to Twitter, ASO said that due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, this year’s presentation at the Palais des Congrès has been cancelled and the route will instead be revealed on Sunday. ASO said:
Taking into account the current public health situation, that is continually pushing the Government to take new decisions in the fight against COVID-19, the organisers of the Tour de France have decided not to unveil the 2021 edition’s route at the Palais des Congrès on Thursday 29th October 2020.
The Tour de France 2021 will instead be presented in detail as a Stade 2 (weekly sports programme) with Christian Prudhomme live on France Télévisions on Sunday 1st November.
An international programme will also be available simultaneously on all of the official broadcasters’ platforms around the world as well as on the Tour de France’s official platforms.
There are no details of the time of the broadcast as yet, although Stade2 usually airs at 2005hrs each Sunday evening on France 3.
In the UK, we’d expect the broadcast to air on British Eurosport and possibly ITV4, and from what ASO says it should also be available to watch on Tour de France social media channels such as YouTube.
What we do know for certain is that the race will begin in the city of Brest in Brittany, which in August replaced Copenhagen as the host of next year’s Grand Départ, with the Danish capital unable to host the event due to a clash with the postponed Euro 2020 football championships after the start date of the Tour de France was brought forward by a week to avoid conflict with the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Perennial Tour de France route-guesser Thomas Vergouwen of the website Velowire publishes his predictions of the parcours each year based on information from local news sites and councils as well as hotel bookings, and has a solid record of getting it right.
After four days in Britanny, he expects to see an individual time trial on Stage 5, with the race then heading across the country to visit the Alps on the second weekend, including a summit finish at Le Grand Bornand.
The second week is forecast to see a stage that takes in Mont Ventoux – but not a summit finish there – ahead of a block of stages either side of the rest day in the Pyrenees, including a potential visit to Andorra.
The final Saturday of the race is predicted to see an individual time trial close to Bordeaux, ahead of the transfer to Paris.
We’ll find out on Sunday just how close he has got to guessing the route of next year’s race, which runs from Saturday 26 June to Sunday 18 July.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.