The 2015 Tour de France will start in the Netherlands on Saturday 4th July with a route very different from this year and looks to be one for the climbers.
A picture paints a thousand words so here’s the official map of the route. Our analysis follows…
Stages worth watching
Tuesday July 7
Seriang – Cambrai, 221km
This stage includes seven sectors of cobbles and if it is anything like the 2014 version then it will be epic and could shape the outcome of the race.
GC contenders will want their team cars close to the front of the convoy, for a quicker response to any mechanicals, so expect to see them very active for a top placing on the previous day’s stage which finishes on the steep slope of the Mur de Huy.
Tuesday July 14
Tarbes – La Pierre Saint-Martin, 167km
The first real day in the mountains is not the longest or has the most metres of climbing but crucially comes after the first rest day in the Tour. This can play havoc as rider’s react differently to a day off and there are no easy roads in the Pyrenees so it’s hard to guess how this will go.
It’s also Bastille Day in France and a national holiday so the French riders will be more fired up than usual on this stage.
Saturday July 25
Modane – L’Alpe d’Huez, 110km
This is a short stage but expect to see lots of action as it’s the last chance for anyone to try and either seal their win or attack to win it. If any rider has been in the lead for a while then tiredness could be a factor while other riders may simply wait and put everything into this day.
Either way this is one not to be missed. Whoever is in yellow at the end of today’s stage will be the winner of the race as the next day is the sprinter’s stage in Paris and will not shape the overall.
Who it favours
No fewer than 11 stages are classed as ‘mountainous’ or ‘medium mountains’. And even two flat days also have an uphill finish. There’s very little time trialling (a short 13.7km individual time trial on day one and a 28km team time trial on day none) so you could say the course looks tailor made for the Columbian climber Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
The route also suits 2014 winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and previous winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) although the other favourite Chris Froome (Sky) has already expressed doubts about riding due to the short time trial distances.
The sprinters have at least five stages which should end in a bunch gallop and there are also a few stages for the Classics riders. Stage 3 will finish on the infamous short, steep slope of the Mur de Huy in Belgium.
Stage 4 will see the race tackle seven sections of cobbles on their first day back in France. This means all GC (General Classification ie overall position) contenders will have to be alert during the first week as the cobbles, steep finishes and cross winds could mean time loses very early on.
What will surely prove to be a pivotal stage looks to be the penultimate day to Alpe d’Huez. The stage is only 110km long but will be the last chance for anyone to gain back time before the usual final day sprinter’s stage on the Champs-Élysées.
GC riders and teams will be tired by this time so any weaknesses will be exploited and expect to see some last gasp attempts to win the Tour on this stage.
2015 Tour de France stages
Stage 1. Saturday July 4, Utrecht – Utrecht 13.7km (ITT) – Flat
Stage 2. Sunday July 5, Utrecht – Neeltje 166km – Flat
Stage 3. Monday July 6, Antwerp – Huy (Bel) 154km – Uphill finish
Stage 4. Tuesday July 7, Seriang – Cambrai (Fra) 221km – Flat with cobbles
Stage 5. Wednesday July 8, Cambrai – Amiens 189km – Flat
Stage 6. Thursday July 9, Amiens – Le Havre 191km – Flat
Stage 7. Friday July 10, Livarot – Fougères 190km – Flat
Stage 8. Saturday July 11, Rennes – Mûr-de-Bretagne 179km – Uphill finish
Stage 9. Sunday July 12, Vannes – Plumelec 28km – Team Time Trial
Rest day. Monday July 13, Pau
Stage 10. Tuesday July 14, Tarbes – La Pierre Saint-Martin 167km – Mountain
Stage 11. Wednesday July 15, Pau – Cauterets 188km – Mountain
Stage 12. Thursday July 16, Lannemazen – Plateau de Beille 195km – Mountain
Stage 13. Friday July 17, Muret – Rodez 200km – Medium mountain
Stage 14. Saturday July 18, Rodez – Mende-Montée Laurent Jalabert 175km – Medium mountain
Stage 15. Sunday July 19, Mende – Valence 182km – Medium mountain
Stage 16. Monday July 20, Bourg-de-Péage – Gap 201km – Medium mountain
Rest day: Tuesday July 21, Gap/Digne-les-Bains
Stage 17. Wednesday July 22, Digne-les-Bains – Pra-Loup 161km – Mountain
Stage 18. Thursday July 23, Gap – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne 185km – Mountain
Stage 19. Friday July 24, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – La Toussuire 138km – Mountain
Stage 20. Saturday July 25, Modane – L’Alpe d’Huez 110km – Mountain
Stage 21. Saturday July 26, Sèvres – Champs-Élysées, Paris 107km – Flat