Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax

From the 1st to the 24th of July the peloton will be in the roads of France, Denmark and Switzerland for the 109th edition of the Tour de France. The most iconic, popular and one of the most important races for most of the riders and teams, who will be fighting for meaningful wins over the course of three weeks.

Over the course of the three weeks there will be several classifications that the riders will be fighting for. The General Classification will see the race's best stage-racers go head to head on every single stage as they attempt to take time on each other - specially in the mountains, as will the Youth Classification contenders. In the Points Classification, the sprinters will go head to head in the bunch sprints, aswell as the intermediate sprints spread throughout the 19 road stages. As for the King of the Mountain Classification, it will be decided in the race's highest mountains, toughest Alpine and Pyrenean passes between those who go over them first.

You can check the profile and details of every stage here, the updated startlist with all the names expected to be in the race here, and the prize money that will be distributed between all teams here.

General Classification battle

The preliminary startlist will see general classification contenders as follows: Ben O'Connor, Rigoberto Urán, Damiano Caruso, Jack Haig, Jakob Fuglsang, Michael Woods, Giulio Ciccone, Louis Meintjes, Daniel Martínez, Adam Yates, Geraint Thomas, Aleksandr Vlasov, Alexey Lutsenko, Primoz Roglic, Jonas Vingegaard, Tadej Pogacar, David Gaudu, Guillaume Martin, Enric Mas and Nairo Quintana.

Important Stages

Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 5: Lille - Wallers-Arenberg, 155Km

The fifth stage is a highly antecipated day. A short stage with only 153 kilometers on the menu, however 19.4 of those will take place over cobbled roads. 11 sectors to be exact, all of which in the second half of the stage. It will be an important day for the overall classification, as the tension will rise to an all-time high and crucial losses can be had if something goes wrong.

Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 7: Tomblaine - La Super Planche des Belles Filles, 176Km

Stage seven will have the riders race into the Vosges. As is traditional the Planche des Belles Filles (7Km; 8.7%) will be the first real summit finish of the race. It will be the first opportunity for the climbers to make differences in their terrain, and will be a good gauge to measure who will be capable of fighting for the win and podium in the end.

Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 11: Albertville - Col de Granon, 149Km

Stage 11 will see the first big high-mountain stage. The menu isn’t complicated, with the Lacets de Montvernier (3.4Km; 8.2%), Col du Telegraphe (11.9Km; 7.1%) and Col du Galibier (17.7Km; 6.9%) taking the riders through high altitude. It will be a brutal day, as the riders will descend into Briançon and climb the Col du Granon (11.3Km; 9.2%) for the highest stage finish in the race.

Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 12: Briançon - L'Alpe d'Huez, 166Km

Stage 12 will be the final in the Alps, as a hattrick of ascents will mark the day. The riders will early on climb the Col du Galibier (23Km; 5.1%) via the opposite direction, followed by the Col de la Croix the Fer (29Km; 5.2%), and the return of the Alpe d’Huez (13.8Km; 7.9%) for the stage finish.

Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 17: Saint-Gaudens - Peyragudes, 130Km

Stage 17 will have a pan-flat first half, and a very hard second half. A very short stage with only 129 kilometers on the menu, however featuring the Col d’Aspin (12Km; 6.5%), the Hourquette d’Ancizan (8.2Km; 5%) and the Col de Val Louron-Azet (10.7Km; 7.7%) before the final climb. That will be into Peyragudes (8Km; 7.2%), where more gaps will be established, with the finale in the brutal ramps of the local airfield.

Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 18: Lourdes - Hautacam, 143Km

The final mountain day comes right after. The formula is exactly the same as the day before, with a flat first half, short distances and a combination of similar climbs in the second half with a summit finish. Here however they will be longer, with the Col de Aubisque (16.4Km; 7.1%) opening things up for the day, the Col de Spandelles (10.3Km; 8.3%) dealing further damage and then the summit finish at Hautacam (13.6Km; 7.8%) being the last ascent where the climbers can do real differences.

Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 20 (ITT): Lacapelle-Marival - Rocamadour, 40Km

The final time-trial of the race will come on it’s penultimate day. The 40.7-kilometer individual challenge will be ridden between Lacapelle-Marival and Rocamadour, a rolling time-trial which is far from ideal for the specialists, with a hilly finale. Rocamadour is no stranger to high-level pro races, and the final hilltop is a familiar sight, albeit with added importance on this day.

CyclingUpToDate prediction:

**** Tadej Pogacar

*** Primoz Roglic, Jonas Vingegaard

** Daniel Martínez, Aleksandr Vlasov, Enric Mas

* Jack Haig, Geraint Thomas, Jakob Fuglsang, Adam Yates

Points Classification battle

As for the sprinters who will be hunting stages and the green jersey: Magnus Cort Nielsen, Mads Pedersen, Jasper Philipsen, Alexander Kristoff, Caleb Ewan, Wout van Aert, Fabio Jakobsen, Bryan Coquard, Dylan Groenewegen, Michael Matthews and Peter Sagan.

Important Stages

Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 2: Roskilde - Nyborg, 199Km
Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 3: Vejle - Sønderborg, 182Km

The two first bunch sprints will come in Denmark, after the initial time-trial. The cities of Nyborg and Sønderborg will host the finales, although tension will be sky-high and the second stage is particularly vulnerable to crosswinds.

Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 4: Dunkerque - Calais, 172Km

In the fourth day of racing the peloton returns to familiar French roads. This will be a day for the sprintes, however it includes quite a few hilltops throughout the day that may spark some surprises in northwestern France.

Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 13: Bourg d'Oisans - Saint-Etienne, 193Km

Stage 13 will have the peloton travel from the Alps into the Massif Central. A day for the sprinters, likely, however a lot can happen and besides the possibility of a breakaway succeeding, the several rolling hills will provide platforms for attacks to surge.

Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 15: Rodez - Carcassonne, 200Km

The final day of the second week will see the riders travel south, from Rodez into Carcassonne. It is another day designed for the sprinters however with plenty obstacles that may see a surprise pop out.

Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 19: Castelnay-Magnoac - Cahors, 189Km

Stage 19 will be a transition day, as the riders head north for a flat stage. It is a day on paper for the sprinters, however this late into the race it will always be more complicated to chase down breakaways.

Preview: Tour de France. World's best climbers and sprinters go head to head in a seasonal climax
Stage 21: Paris La Défense - Paris (Champs-Élysées), 112Km

And as traditional, the final day will feature soft distances and the classic final circuit inside of Paris, where the riders will finish the race off within the Champs-Élysées.

CyclingUpToDate prediction:

**** Wout van Aert

*** Fabio Jakobsen, Mads Pedersen

** Jasper Philipsen, Michael Matthews, Peter Sagan

* Caleb Ewan, Alexander Kristoff, Bryan Coquard, Dylan Groenewegen

You will be able to keep up with the Tour de France on CyclingUpToDate as we bring you race reports, interviews and analysis of every team on a daily basis.

Place comments

666

0 Comments

More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments