Stage 1, Friday 1 July: individual time trial, Copenhagen, 13.2 km
A tour of the Danish capital’s finest sites – the Little Mermaid, Kastellet Fortress, Tivoli Gardens – in a first time trial long enough to create real-time gaps between the main contenders, and a host of turns to sow chaos if it rains. The distance will suit Primoz Roglic but the big favorite will be a specialist like Filippo Ganna (Ineos) or Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
Stage 2, Saturday 2 July: Roskilde-Nyborg, 202.5 km
Much of this stage is barely above sea level with only a few small climbs, but if the wind blows it could create significant time gaps, especially in the last 18 kilometers over the spectacular bridges – and completely exposed – from the Great Belt. Jumbo-Visma and Ineos are masters at exploiting crosswinds, but the real experts are Quickstep-Alpha Vinyl; their sprinter Fabio Jakobsen is the favourite, along with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen.
Stage 3: Sunday July 3: Vejle-Sønderbørg, 182km
The descent to the south of the Jutland peninsula takes place on less exposed roads than the day before. Assuming the wind is favorable, that should produce the first leg of the race for “routine” sprinters, with Jakobsen – who ousted Mark Cavendish as Quickstep favourite. Tour sprinter – taking on Caleb Ewan and Jasper Philipsen. The next day, the caravan transfers to the south of France.
Stage 4: Tuesday July 5: Dunkirk-Calais, 171.5km
Relatively short, and with a series of short, steep climbs inland from the Channel coast, this stage will be “nervous”, as the riders say, although the pattern should be familiar, with an early breakaway small team riders looking to pick up points on all five climbs. However, the last 25 kilometers along exposed roads around Cap Gris Nez could split the field if the wind blows from the northwest.
Stage 5, Wednesday July 6: Lille-Arenberg Porte du Hainault, 157km
Assuming the Great Belt has been kind to the terrain, it’s the decisive first day, with 11 sections of treacherous cobbles in the last 80 kilometres. There will be a big fight to be at the forefront of the first section in Villers-au-Tertre and this will not fail to lead to falls. In 2014, Vincenzo Nibali actually won the Tour in a similar stage; this year, the big favorites will be Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel.
Stage 6, Thursday July 7: Binche-Longwy, 220km
The longest stage of the race has a twist in the tail: the Côte de Pulventeux comes 6km from the finish, and is 800m at 12%, so steep enough to split the peloton before the finish until to the Côte des Religieuses, longer and more trailing. It’s a finish made for one of the overall contenders, but all eyes will be on Van der Poel in the absence of Julian Alaphilippe.
Stage 7, Friday July 8: Tomblaine-La Planche des Belles Filles, 176.5km
The first arrival at the top; the super steep ‘plank’ is relatively short at 8km, and without major climbs beforehand the time gaps at the top should be relatively tight. The early breakaway should be in contention for the stage victory – if Thibaut Pinot lost time from the start, he’s an obvious target – but for the big names, the equation is quite simple: if Tadej Pogacar saves time, it’s just for a third win. Otherwise, all bets are off.
Stage 8, Saturday July 9: Dôle-Lausanne, 186.5km
The sprinters have every right to feel aggrieved in this Tour; for example today, what could have been a routine flat finish in the home of the International Olympic Committee is spiced up with a demanding ascent with 12% pitches. So it’s another day for the “punchers” – Van Aert, Van der Poel, maybe Tom Pidcock – and a day when the overall contenders will need their wits to avoid wasting time in the final.
Stage 9, Sunday July 10: Aigle-Châtel, 193km
Head for the mountains with two first category climbs on this mainly Swiss stage. The main climb, Pas de Morgins, won’t be tough enough to separate serious contenders for overall victory, and stage victory should go to a rider from the first break, where riders will also have an eye on the prize. mountains. A day for specialized stage hunters like the Frenchman Benoît Cosnefroy or the Dutchman Bauke Mollema.
Stage 10, Tuesday July 12: Morzine-Megève, 148.5km
After a second day of rest, a stage in the Alps which runs along the biggest elevations; with plenty more to come, the favorites are likely to mark each other out, with a big fight for the stage win early on in the break. The 19km drag to the finish is where it all will be; this will favor Frenchmen like Warren Barguil or Van der Poel.
Stage 11, Wednesday July 13: Albertville-Col du Granon, 152km
A brutal day in the Alps, with two massive climbs in the last 80 kilometers. The long Col du Galibier is the highest point of the race, while the Granon is the highest stage finish since the Galibier in 2011. The length of the main climbs makes the break unlikely to be successful, so the overall favorites could fight well against stage victories: if a contender like Pogacar or Jonas Vingaard wins here, he will be in pole position for the final title.
Stage 12, Thursday July 14: Briançon-Alpe d’Huez, 165.5km
Cruelly, the organizers are going up the Galibier as they did less than 24 hours earlier, before crossing the Iron Cross to tackle Alpe d’Huez for the first time since 2018. The winner of this that year, Geraint Thomas, seems to be back to his best form; today there’s a good chance the winner will come from an early break, and given that it’s July 14, all of France will be backing either Pinot or Romain Bardet.
Stage 13, Friday July 15, Bourg d’Oisans-Saint Etienne, 193km
The transition road from the Alps to the Massif Central is well trodden, and this stage has enough elevation to make it difficult to control the race; early termination has every chance of succeeding. The battle to enter the winner will be intense, and the finish on the flat favors a sprint specialist stage hunter, like the Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen or Van der Poel if he is still in the race.
Stage 14, Saturday July 16: Saint Étienne-Mende, 192.5 km
Another day for the breakaway specialists, with a monstrously steep finish at Mende aerodrome, where Briton Steve Cummings won in 2015. The same large group of riders as the day before will try to do the trick winner; the winner will be a strong climber like Barguil or Adam Yates.
Stage 15, Sunday July 17: Rodez-Carcassonne, 202.5 km
On paper, today – finally – favors the sprint teams, but they will have to fight a fierce battle to control things, with a long third category climb with 50km to go. The sprinters haven’t had a clear sprint day since stage four, so won’t want to miss this one: let’s hope enough teammates survived the Alps to stick together.
Stage 16, Tuesday July 19: Carcassonne-Foix, 178.5 km
The first stage in the Pyrenees with two first category mountains; hard enough for the first break to target the scene, but not hard enough to entice suitors to do more than keep a brief overview. With 27 km of descent to the line, the finish is for a good climber who can descend well: perhaps Bardet, or the Dane Jakob Fuglsang, or that old lag Mollema.
Stage 17, Wednesday July 20: Saint Gaudens-Peyragudes, 130km
Very short, with a jagged profile on three first category climbs; the break won’t stay away today, but anyone aiming for the mountains jersey will try to get into a move that will survive at least until the last 20 kilometers. For the big favourites, another day to keep control, while trying to glean a few seconds in the final ascent. The winner will come from the restricted group vying for the yellow jersey: why not Roglic?
Stage 18, Thursday July 21: Lourdes-Hautacam, 143.2km
Another stage too short for a break to save a lot of time before the leaders get going. It is a brutal course covering the mythical Col d’Aubisque and the unknown Col de Spandelles before the last course towards a dreary plateau. The winner is likely to be in the top six overall and will have every chance of claiming overall victory. Think Pogacar, Roglic, Vingaard or, from left field, Australia’s Ben O’Connor.
Stage 19, Friday July 22: Castelnau-Magnoac-Cahors, 188.5km
A classic – and rare – ‘transition’ stage designed to advance the race to the final time trial and Paris, and surely with a sprinter’s name on it, depending on who survived the Pyrenees with a few teammates around them . Now, however, it’s not just about the fastest, but about those who can get over the mountains with a few reservations: think Australian Michael Matthews or Dane Mads Pedersen.
Stage 20, Saturday July 23: Individual time trial Lacapelle Marival-Rocamadour, 40.7km
The longest solo time trial the Tour has had since 2014 could go either way: the organizers’ dream is a cliffhanger with the overall result at stake, while the usual reality is that the winner is already good clear and the time trial goes to a specialist. In the latter case, if Ganna has crossed the mountains, he will win, otherwise all eyes will be on Van Aert.
Stage 21, Sunday July 24: Paris La Défense-Champs Elysées, 116km
Rumor has it that the arrival of the men’s Tour could – unprecedentedly – move away from Paris in 2024, and given that the formula now looks tired, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. Before the sprinters do the worst – Van Aert will be widely tipped to repeat his victory from last year – fans will see the first stage of the relaunched Tour de France Women, which uses the legendary circuit to kick off a week-long race long awaited. .