greatest sporting event
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.
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
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.
ain't what they used to be !
de France route map by About-France.com
A GUIDE TO THE ROUTE
stage anywhere along the route in France for regional
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.
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
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.
cobbled roads of northern France featured in many early races... and
are still part of the annual Paris-Roubaix race... here seen
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
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
and between Auchy
lez Orchies and Bersée (beige marker on the map). Zoom in on the map
for full detail.
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
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.
of the Tour is essentially a Pyrenean
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
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
Accommodation for the Tour
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
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
Visit the Official
of the tour de France
A brief introduction to the regions
photos copyright About-France.com except historic photo of racing on
cobblestones which is aCreative Commons licenced photo py Felouch Kotek