The 110th edition of the Tour de France, cycling’s biggest race, is just around the corner! The TDF kicks off on Saturday 1st July in Bilbao, in the Basque country, with a very complicated first ten days. Significant gaps will be opened up before the first rest day in Clermont-Ferrand on Monday 10 July.
By the time the Champs-Elysées in Paris is reached at the end of the 21st stage, a total of 3,404 kilometres will have been covered. On that day, Sunday July 23rd, the peloton will start from the national velodrome of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. This start is a nod to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games where most of the cycling events will be held.
The 2023 Tour de France route includes
• eight flat stages,
• four hilly stages and
• eight mountain stages, with
• four high altitude finishes:
Cauterets-Cambasque (stage 6),
Puy de Dôme (stage 9),
Grand Colombier (stage 13),
Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc (stage 15).
• one individual time trial - Passy to Combloux (stage 16), 22.4 km
• two rest days
• 30 passes, climbs or hills (hors categorie, category 1 and category 2) of which four are in the Pyrenees and thirteen in the Alps.
• 3 new passes or climbs
Côte de Vivero (Basque Country),
Col de la Croix Rosier (Massif Central)
Col du Feu (Alps).
• The Col de la Loze will be the summit of the Tour at 2,304 m.
Here, the Souvenir Henri-Desgrange will be awarded, a prize paying tribute to the founder of the Tour.
• The Puy de Dôme will be climbed 35 years after its last ascent in 1988.
Although there is an emphasis to providing work for the race's climbers, sprinters, puncheurs and daredevils will also have the opportunity to shine on the roads of France.
Twelve cities will host the Tour de France for the first time. In addition to the Spanish towns of the first two stages, these will be at Nogaro (Gers) , the Vulcania theme park (Puy-de-Dôme) , Moulins (Allier) , Belleville-en-Beaujolais (Rhône) , Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne (Ain) , Les Gets Les Portes du Soleil (Haute-Savoie) , Passy (Haute-Savoie) , Combloux (Haute-Savoie) , Poligny (Jura) , The Markstein Fellering (Haut-Rhin) .
After a Grand Départ given from Bilbao in the Spanish Basque Country - Pays Basque, the peloton will head to the western edge of the Pyrenees and then the département of Les Landes. The 2023 Tour continues to the Massif Central, starting a stage at Vulcania and climbing the Puy de Dôme. In the Alps, big passes await runners, like the Col de la Lozeand the Col du Feu, which appears for the first time. Then, before finishing on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Tour gives a final lesson in race climbing, in Alsace with the ascent of the Markstein.
spanish basque grand départ
The Grand Départ starts in Bilbao, in the Spanish Basque Country. The peloton rides on the roads of Spain for three days before returning to France. Starting and ending in Bilbao for a 185 km long loop stage, the route will cross the wild hills bordering the Cantabrian Sea and will pass twice through Guernica, a place of memory of the Spanish Civil War (to read : Franco was not a fascist). With the altitude changing 3,300 metres , this first day will be demanding and reserved for punchers.
The second stage finishes at San Sebastian, having started from Vitoria-Gastei. A 210 km stage towards the sea with several difficulties on the route, including the Jaizkibel with its 8.1 km climb, averaging 5.1%, atless than 20 kilometres from the finish.
The third stage moves from Spain to France, crossing the border near Hendaye after starting from Amorebieta-Etxano. The peloton passes again through San Sebastian, then Irun and ends in Bayonne. This third stage should therefore be the first to benefit the sprinters.
To note, the third stage route has only just been agreed because the original route, with spectacular views along the cliffed coast between Hendaye, was redirected to avoid damaging the fragile cliffs with the pounding of the advertising caravan and all the team vehicles. "Quite logically for reasons of public safety, the prefecture did not want it. But the change of route will not deprive the Basque Coast of aerial images between Hendaye and Saint-Jean-de-Luz". Then there's the sudden construction of 7 speed bumps near Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle on the way into the final sprint to Bayonne, also needing a reorgnisation of the route. Interesting times.
Tour de France teaser video, length 2 mins
spotlighting Nouvelle Aquitaine
Between the Basque Country Pyrenees and the four other French mountain ranges, there is a full week in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine with Bayonne, Dax, Pau, Mont-de-Marsan, Bordeaux, and Libourne being stage towns. This is a long-awaited visit to this part of France. The last time Bayonne was visited was 20 years ago, while Les Landes - the département of Dax, Nogaro, and Mont-de-Marsan - has only been visited glancingly during previous visits, the last time being 15 years ago.
Stage 4 (4 July): Dax - Nogaro
182 km. The peloton starts on the home turf of André Darrigade (now aged 94), the great sprinter of the post-war era. The Tour will starts at the spa town of Dax (Landes) and finishes at Nogaro (Gers). The city of Dax has not hosted a stage since 2006, and this will be a great first for Nogaro, in the Gers, which will host the finish on its racing circuit. A special moment will be when the peleton visits the Notre Dame des Cyclistes, near La Bastide d'Armanac. The daredevils will try to take advantage of the hilly terrain of the Gers to get away, but the sprinters' teams will make life difficult for them on a final circuit that favours the fast men.
The Tour arrives via the right bank (west side of the river, determined when looking towards the sea direction) of the Garonne, from Bouliac and the quai de la Souys. The runners will cross the Saint-Jean bridge before finishing with a straight line of 2 km and a final sprint on the left bank quais, up to the Place des Quinconces. The arrival of the runners is scheduled around 5:20 p.m., that of the publicity caravan around 3:30 p.m.
At Bordeaux, as they go over the Pont Saint-Jean the peleton goes close to Gustav Eiffel's first major construction, the Passerelle Eiffel, still standing if tired. Yes, Eiffel of the Eiffel Tower in Paris!
Last few km of Stage 7 at Bordeaux
For those living in, or visiting Bordeaux on the 7th July, or even the day before, there are roads and bridges that will be closed within the city, as well as many roads on the way through the département of Gironde. Pont Saint-Jean is closed from Thursday 10pm/22h to Friday 9pm/21h, including to pedestrians and bicycles, while Pont Chaban-Delmas is closed on Friday from 9pm to 10.30pm/21h to 22h30.
Closed roads in red at Bordeaux on 7th July
Right bank. On July 7, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., vehicles will be prohibited at the Quai de la Souys, from Bouliac. The area remains accessible to residents, from rue Jean Dupas to quai Deschamps.
Left bank: the left bank quai will be prohibited from 4 a.m. on Friday July 7 between the MIN rue des Maraîchers, the quai Sainte-Croix and the quai des Chartrons at the corner with the Cours du Médoc. The sidewalks remain open. For pedestrians, it will be forbidden to cross the traffic lanes used by the Tour. Crossing points under the control of the security service are provided if necessary.
dream unfulfilled - the transporter bridge [pont transbordeur],
Parking on the route at Bordeaux, 6th -7th July
Parking is prohibited from 8 p.m Thursday July 6 to 8 p.m Friday July 7 on the entire route (from the quai de la Souys in Bouliac, Floirac to the quai des Chartrons, via the Saint-Jean bridge) .
Bourse car park, entry and exit will be via Place Jean Jaurès. The Allée de Chartres car park is accessible via the Allées de Chartres. The Cité Mondiale et Salinières car park is accessible by the side alley of the quais.
Any vehicle in violation will be impounded.
The TDF 2023 is also the Tour of Remembrance, of cycling excellence. Thus, André Darrigade, from Dax, the best French sprinter in history, winner of 22 stages of the Tour and a title of world champion will be at the start of the fourth stage on the 4th July. There, at only 94 years old, André Darrigade will receive the tribute he deserves.
The memory of Luis Ocaña, owner of a vineyard at Nogaro in Les Landes, will be honoured twice, on the 4th July and then again on Friday 7th July in Mont-de-Marsan, 50 years after hm winning the 1973 Tour.
The 9th stage between Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat and the Puy de Dôme will be the day of Raymond Poulidor, born in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat. Although Poulidor won 165 races and was on the final Tour de France eight times, he never won the yellow jersey. That prize remains amongst the 68 races where he came second - "The Eternal Second".
More to explore - related reading for the first four stages
The race's distance is 3,404 kilometres or 2115 miles.
bonus seconds and bonus points
These are given at the summits of six significant climbs - 8, 5 and 2 seconds (under the approval of the
Union cycliste internationale).
Time bonuses will be awarded at the finish of each stage and will amount to 10, 6 and 4 seconds, respectively, for the first three classified riders.
Bonus points will be given on passes or summits at strategic points along the route. The first three classified riders will be awarded bonuses of 8, 5 and 2 seconds, respectively (subject to approval by the International Cycling Union). These bonus points will not count towards the points classification.
the teams for 2023
There are twenty-two teams taking part in the 2019 Tour de France. As well as all nineteen UCI World Pro Teams, four second-tier UCI Pro teams have been invited (wih askerisks in the main table) :