Unveiled at the Palais de Congrès convention centre in Paris in front of nearly 4,000 spectators, the race route for the 105th edition of the Tour de France, which will be held from 7-29 July 2018, proposes different race formats and conditions. Boldness will be a prerequisite on every stage!
Among the highlights and new additions to the 2018 route, the pack will tackle the cobbles of Roubaix over a distance of 21.7km, climb up to the Plateau des Glières on the Grand-Bornand stage, return to Alpe d’Huez and will set off into the Pyrenees on a very short 65 km mountain stage. The final face-off among the favourites will take place during the time trial, on the particularly steep roads of the Basque Country.
At barely more than 3,300 kilometres long, the 2018 Tour de France ranks among the shortest of the 21st Century. This unusual distance results primarily from a proposition made by Christian Prudhomme to the riders, who will have to build their success in these new territories. “We especially wanted to emphasize stage variety and the routes that may prove decisive, whilst combining legendary climbs with brand new ascensions or ultra-dynamic formats, to provide a vision of modern and inspired cycling”. In fact, the innovations planned for the 105th edition might inspire boldness among the most daring riders in the pack, which will be reduced to 176 riders at the start in the Vendée department and Pays de Loire region. The section of the race in Brittany will repeatedly sap the riders legs on the way to Quimper, before a double climb of the Mûr-de-Bretagne the following day, with additional spicing up thanks to the new bonuses points awarded on the stage finishes in the opening week. The route has been designed so that the favourites can do battle even before entering the mountains, especially on the 21.7 km of the Roubaix cobblestones.
The stakes in the contest will rise again in the Alps. Whilst the riders may feel that they are far from unchartered territory around Grand-Bornand, it will be a different matter altogether on the Plateau des Glières, which the riders will reach after a steep climb and two kilometres on a non-tarmacked track. The next day, the pack will not only discover the Rosière ski resort, but also the Col du Pré pass on the way there, which could be conducive to glorious feats. The Alps will conclude with a classic mountain stage with the finish at Alpe d’Huez, which could be the opportunity for some revenge and plot twists. The hostilities will then continue on the climb to the Mende airstrip and even perhaps in Carcassonne, following the climb over Pic de Nore (1205 m). In the Pyrenees, the sprinters could certainly battle for the win at Pau, but the climbers could have the last word in a wealth of different registers: the combative riders will be the ones to watch in Luchon; the most explosive riders will surely take centre stage on the shortest road stage (65 km) to be ridden since the elimination of half-stages with an all-new finish on the Col de Portet pass (2215 m); the riders with the most stamina will shine on the 200 km separating Lourdes from Laruns via the Col Aspin, Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aubisque passes; and finally the best all-rounders should come up trumps on the undulating time-trial in the relief of the Basque Country. The final top spots will still be up for grabs on this crucial stage 24 hours before the finish in Paris…
- Vélo d’Or-Vélo Magazine 2017: Froome takes the honours
The 2017 Vélo Magazine Vélo d’Or trophy was presented for the first time during the presentation of Le Tour on the Palais des Congrès stage. Chris Froome was rewarded for the third time in his career, following his triumphs in 2013 and 2015.
Following his double success on the Tour de France and the Vuelta, the Sky team leader easily dominated his stiffest competition in the vote by a jury of 18 international journalists: the winner of the Giro d’Italia Tom Dumoulin and three-times world champion Peter Sagan completed the top three.
- La Course by le Tour de France, act 5
The 5th edition of La Course by le Tour de France is a reworked version of stage 10 on which the best female riders will race on 17 July, just a few hours before the men.
The pack will also start from the shores of Lake Annecy from the town of Duingt. The 118-kilometre course will feature the same formidable finish with the Col de Romme and the Col de la Colombière passes, before the downhill run to Grand-Bornand.
- Etape du Tour: 4000 m of climbing… and the Plateau des Glières!
The 15,000 cycling enthusiasts expected for the 28th edition will act as scouts on the 4,000 metres of climbing on the Annecy-Le Grand Bornand stage on 8 July, while at the same time the pros will be racing on the 2nd stage in the Vendée.
Registration begins on 23 October on the A.S.O. Challenges platform with race bibs going for €109 until 18 December, then €139 as long as places remain available.