Phillipe Gilbert is putting his Paris–Roubaix cobblestone trophy on his mantlepiece. And after that magnificent 2019 edition of the cobbled classic, some of us are gazing ahead to high summer, to those glorious days in July when the Tour de France takes over the lives of every cycling fan. The official route map of the race was published a while ago, but now’s a good time to remind ourselves of what Tour de France 2019 has in store. One thing’s for sure: a spectacle is guaranteed!

Tour de France starts in Brussels

There’s always a big buzz about the location of the start of the Tour de France. This year, Brussels will host the world’s greatest cycling circus for two days. There is no traditional short time trial prologue in the 2019 Tour. The first stage is a 192km-long stage around the Belgian capital, followed by a 27km team time trial on the second day.

Tour de France 2019 route parcours

La Planche des Belles Filles

The inclusion of the La Planche de Belles Filles in the route map has been known for quite a while. But that in no way spoils the fun. This will be the first real test of the pecking order among the general classification contenders. Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, and Tom Dumoulin will be checking each other out on this famous climb that the riders will tackle on day seven. Nobody will win the Tour of this beast of a climb, but somebody might well lose it here.

 

 

In 2018, the short-stage-with-loads-of-climbing was an experiment. It was deemed a success apparently—in 2019 it is stage 20 which will put the cat among the pigeons. The stage from Albertville to Val Thorens is only 131km long, but it has a total of 60km of climbing. There has been nothing more said of a repeat performance of the ridiculed Formula One-style grid start. This is one for the diary!

106th edition

The 2019 edition of the Tour de France is the 1o0th anniversary of the famous yellow jersey. That symbol of cycling excellence has been worn by a whole list of legends on two wheels down the years. The French organisers are also not shy of showing their colours: AG2R rider Romain Bardet is the only real French hopeful for the general classification win, and the Tour will pass through his home town this year. On the very day that the yellow jersey is officially 100 years old, there’s a 27km individual time trial that will undoubtedly shake up the general classification. Whether or not it is challenging enough for a time trial specialist like Tom Dumoulin remains to be seen.

As well as the well-known climbs such as La Planche de Belles Filles and the Tourmalet (in the Pyrenees), the 2019 Tour de France will as always be a great spectacle and offer challenges for puncheurs, sprinters and climbers alike. Want to get the full story? Try the organisation’s official website.

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