The Tour de France  - 2018

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The Tour de France

 France's greatest sporting event 

Go to ►  The 2018 Tour de France stage by stage  Tour de France Route map
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Tours ain't what they used to be ...

Did you know ? The longest stage of modern Tours de France is nowadays "just" in the range of 220 - 240 km. This year's longest stage is just 231 km.  The ghosts of competitors from the early years must be laughing from their graves. The very first stage of the very first Tour de France, in 1903 was over twice as long !!  467 Km from the outskirts of Paris to Lyon.
   And in early years, the tour regularly included stages of over 400 km ! The 1904 Tour even included four stages of over 400 km... performed on the heavy cycles of the age, and on unmade roads....
   Furthermore, it was not until 1937 that gears were authorised ; until then, it was a single gear all the way round France.  Tours ain't what they used to be ! 
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Map Tour de France Tour de France route map by About-France.com.
Click stage anywhere along the route in France for regional tourism information  
Copyright : If you copy this map on your blog or non-commercial website, you must attribute it to About-France.com 

The 2018 Tour de France
breaks with the tradition of recent years, in that with the exception of a short non-stop excursion into Spain near the end of Stage 16, the whole race takes place in France.
   The 2018 edition divides neatly into three distinct geographic sections.

   The first long week, from 7th to 15th July, all takes place in the northern half of France. Starting on the island of Noirmoutier, south of the Loire estuary, the Tour begins with three days in the Pays de la Loire region, before moving north for  three days in Brittany. The next three days see
 riders moving northeast, via the great cathedral cities of Chartres and Amiens, followed by a day - Sunday July 15th - including over 20 km on sections on the notorious historic cobbled highways of French Flanders.

Cobblestones - Tour de France The cobbled roads of northern France featured in many early races... and are still part of the annual Paris-Roubaix  race... here seen in spring 2014

Stage 9 area, with stretches on old cobblestone roads.  
Zoom right in to see four of the longer stretches of cobblestone road.  

The cobbled highways were a feature of very early Tours de France, and a number of stretches of old cobbled road have been preserved for the benefit of cycle racing.

 Fifteen sections of cobbles feature in the second part of stage 9 (Arras to Roubaix), between Somain and the finish. Among the longer stretches are Warlaing to Brillon (blue marker on the map), Tilloy to Sars et Rosières (red marker), and between Auchy lez Orchies and Bersée (beige marker on the map). Zoom in on the map for full detail.

  The second week of the Tour, from 17th to 22nd July, takes place in the Alps, the Cévennes, and the south of the Massif Central, taking riders from Annecy, via an impressive number of Alpine passes and then down to the Rhone valley. From the small town of Saint Paul Trois Chateaux (which only has one castle) riders then cycle west across the Rhone and the Cévennes to Mende, then from Millau through the surprisingly isolated hill country of the southern Aveyron and Tarn departments,  across the Montagne Noire to the historic walled city of Carcassonne, where they enjoy a second rest day.

  The final week of the Tour is essentially a Pyrenean week. The peaks of the Pyrenees can be seen from Carcassonne on a clear day, and the 16th stage takes riders from Carcassonne, across the hills of the Aude and the Ariège, and up to the High Pyrenean resort of Bagnères de Luchon. The next four days are spent in the Pyrenees, taking in a number of classic Pyrenean passes, including the Col de Portet and the Col du Tourmalet. Then, after time trials in the Basque country on 28th July, riders fly up to Paris for the short final leg and the traditional sprint to the finish on the Champs Elysées.

Accommodation for the Tour de France
All hotel rooms in and around the start and finish points get booked up very fast by the teams and the media.
To avoid disappointment, check out available hotel rooms as soon as possible,  using the major online portals  booking.com  or Hotels.com

Tour de France 2018  

The 2018 Tour de France will start on Saturday July 7th July on the Island of Noirmoutier, on the west coast of France. Click links for regional guides

Stage Date Day’s route (towns, regions) and terrain Length in Km.
1st stage Sat 7th July Ile de Noirmoutier to Fontenay le Comte  (Pays de la Loire) 189
2nd Stage Sun 8 July Mouilleron St Germain to La Roche sur Yon  (Pays de la Loire) 183
3rd Stage Mon 9 July Time trials - Cholet  (Pays de la Loire) 35
4th stage Tues.10th July La Baule (Pays de la Loire) to Sarzeau  (Brittany) 192
5th stage Wed 11th July Lorient to Quimper (Brittany) 203
6th stage Thurs 12 th July Brest to Mur de Bretagne; ( Brittany) 181
7th stage Fri 13th July Fougères  (Brittany) to Chartres ( Centre Val de Loire 231
8th stage Sat 14th July Dreux  ( Centre Val de Loire)  to Amiens  (Picardy) 181
9th stage Sun 15th July Arras to Roubaix (Hauts de France) 154
Rest day Mon 16th July Annecy  (Rhône Alpes)
10th stage Tues 17th July Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand  (Rhône Alpes) 159
11th stage Wed 18th July Albertville to La Rosière  (Rhône Alpes) 108
12th stage Thur 19th July Bourg-Saint-Maurice to L'Alpe-D'Huez  (Rhône Alpes) 175
13th stage Friday 20th July Bourg-D'Oisans to Valence  (Rhône Alpes) 169
14th stage Sat. 21st July Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux  (Rhône Alpes) to Mende (Languedoc)   187
15th stage Sun 22nd July Millau   (Midi-Pyrenees) to Carcassonne (Languedoc 181
Rest day Mon 23rd July Rest day -  Carcassonne  (Languedoc) 
16th stage Tue 24th July Carcassonne (Languedoc)  to  Bagnères-de-Luchon (Midi-Pyrenées) 218
17th stage Wed 25th July Bagnères-de-Luchon to Saint-Lary-Soulan  (Midi-Pyrenées) 65
18th stage Thur 26th July Trie-sur-Baïse (Midi-Pyrenées) to  Pau (Aquitaine) 172
19th stage Fri 27th July Lourdes  (Midi-Pyrenées)  to Laruns (Aquitaine) 200
20th stage Sat 28th  July Time trials Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle to Espelette  (Aquitaine) 31
21st Stage Sun 29th July Houilles to  Paris - Champs Elysées 115

Tour de France - leader
For the record:
Routes of the The
Tour de France 2008 :
Tour de France 2009
Tour de France 2010
Tour de France 2011
Tour de France 2012
Tour de France 2013
Tour de France 2014
Tour de France 2015
Tour de France 2016

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Tour de France Pyrenees

Chartres cathedral
Chartres, at the end of Stage 7  (13th July)

Carcassonne - from 22nd to 24th July

Tour caravan
Part of the "caravan" - that preceeds the  riders round the course.

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Text and all photos copyright About-France.com except historic photo of racing on cobblestones which is aCreative Commons licenced photo py Felouch Kotek (source Wikimedia).

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