BEGINS SATURDAY, JULY 7.
The Tour de France is an annual multiple stage bicycle race primarily held in France, while also occasionally making passes through nearby countries. Like the other Grand Tours (the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España), it consists of 21 stages over a little more than 3 weeks.
The race was first organized in 1903 to increase sales for the newspaper L'Auto; which is currently run by the Amaury Sport Organisation. The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1903 except when it was stopped for the two World Wars.
Traditionally, the race is held primarily in the month of July. While the route changes each year, the format of the race stays the same with the appearance of time trials, the passage through the mountain chains of the Pyrenees and the Alps, and the finish on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
The modern editions of the Tour de France consist of 21 day-long segments (stages) over a 23-day period and cover around 3,500 kilometres (2,200 mi). The race alternates between clockwise and counterclockwise circuits of France.
There are usually between 20 and 22 teams, with nine male riders in each. All of the stages are timed to the finish; the riders' times are compounded with their previous stage times. The rider with the lowest cumulative finishing times is the leader of the race and wears the yellow jersey. While the general classification garners the most attention, there are other contests held within the Tour: the points classification for the sprinters, the mountains classification for the climbers, young rider classification for riders under the age of 26, and the team classification for the fastest teams. Achieving a stage win also provides prestige, often accomplished by a team's cycling sprinter specialist—By Wikipedia.
Stage 1 Sat July 7, Noirmoutier-en-l’Île to Fontenay-le-Comte, 189km
St 2 Sun July 8, Mouilleron-Saint-Germain to La Roche-sur-Yon, 183km
St 3 Mon July 9, Cholet to Cholet, 35km TTT
St 4 Tue July 10, La Baule to Sarzeau, 192km
St 5 Wed July 11, Lorient to Quimper, 203km
St 6 Thu July 12, Brest to Mûr de Bretagne, 181km
St 7 Fri July 13, Fougères to Chartres, 231km
St 8 Sat July 14, Dreux to Amiens, 181km
St 9 Sun July 15, Arras to Roubaix, 154km
Rest Day, Mon July 16, Annecy
St 10 Tue July 17, Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand, 159km
St 11 Wed July 18, Albertville to La Rosière, 108km
St 12 Thu July 19, Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Alpe d’Huez, 175km
St 13 Fri July 20, Bourg d’Oisans to Valence, 169km
St 14 Sat July 21, Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteuax to Mende, 187km
St 15 Sun July 22, Millau to Carcassonne, 181km
Rest Day, Mon July 23, Carcassonne
St 16 Tue July 24, Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon, 218km
St 17 Wed July 25, Bagnères-de-Luchon to Saint-Lary-Soulan/Col-de-Portet, 65km
St 18 Thu July 26, Trie-sur-Baïse to Pau, 172km
St 19 Fri July 27, Lourdes to Laruns, 200km
St 20 Sat July 28, Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle to Espelette, 31km ITT
St 21 Sun July 29, Houilles to Paris, 115km
It wouldn’t be France if a snarl didn’t occur at the beginning of its most famous annual sporting event. This year is no different. The race begins on the island of Noirmoutier-en-l’Île off the west coast of the Vendée region, this stage had originally planned to cross the Passage du Gois causeway (see below). However after the race was pushed back a week due to the football World Cup, this causeway will now be covered by the tide, meaning riders will have to use the road bridge (above) to cross over to the mainland on the way to a flat finish in Fontenay-le-Comte. By pushing back the race to July 7th, the Tour will compete directly with the annual July 7 running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. What’s a Euro jock to do?