Nice will host its second Grand Départ, having previously seen the race set off in 1981 with a Bernard Hinault prologue victory. The 1st stage is a hilly out-and-back race in Nice, while the 2nd stage features the Col de Colmiane (16.3 kilometres at 6.2%), Col de Turini (14.9 kilometres at 7.3%), Col d’Èze (7.8 kilometres at 7%) and Col de Quatre Chemins (5.5 kilometres at 5.5%) before a flying descent back into Nice.
The Tour de France leaves Nice in stage 3. The riders will kick off from the Allianz Riviera, home stadium of OGC Nice, to travel through the lavender fields of the Provence to a finish in Sisteron. The 4th stage serves an early summit finish in Orcières-Merlette. The climb to the ski resort at 1,850 metres is 7.1 kilometres long and the average gradient sits at 6.7%. The penultimate kilometre goes up at 8.9%.
The 5th stage travels from Gap to a likely spint finish in Privas, while the 6th stage traverses the rugged and remote Cevennes region for a summit finish at Mount Aigoual. The last 50 kilometres move through Florac, Vebron and Meyrieus, while the 26 kilometres finish climb to the Weather Observatory ends at an altitude of 1,565 metres. The long uphill is broken up by two false flats and short descents, which accounts for an average gradient of 3.3% .
The 7th stage from Millau to Lavaur is a transition race before the Pyrenees loom. Stage 8 rolls out from Cazères to tackle the Col de Menté, Port de Balès and Col de Peyresourde as intermediate ascents before the finale is a downhill into Loudenvielle. The 9th stage is set to finish in Laruns, where Primoz Roglic took the spoils in 2018 after riding away from the other favourites in the descent of the Aubisque. This time the race concludes with a downhill from Col de Marie Blanque before a false flat run-in of 6 kilometres to the line.
The first rest day comes after nine days of racing before the race resumes with a race on the Atlantic coast – start in Île d’Oléron and finish in Île de Ré. The 11th stage travels from Châtelaillon-Plage to Poitiers, while stage 12 is a long race to Sarran. By now, the riders have entered the heart of France and the traverse from west to east continues on the Massif Central with an arrival at the Pas de Peyrol – 11.4 kilometres at 5.7%. A race from Clermont-Ferrand to Lyon is also in the cards before the second week ends in the Jura Mountains with an arrival atop the Grand Colombier.
Bastille Day serves a race from La-Tour-du Pin to Villard-de-Lans before stage 17 will see a summit finish at the unprecedented Col de la Loze in the mountains above Méribel. The 18th stage travels north through the Alps to a finish in La Roche-sur-Foron.
An alluring scenario unfolds in the last days of the 2020 Tour as La Planche des Belles Filles serves as the ultimate uphill test. The 20th stage takes the form of a 36 kilometres individual time trial with the last 5.9 kilometres on this climb with an average gradient of 8.5%. A likely sprint finish in Champagnole in the 19th stage precedes this promising denouement.
Obviously, the Tour finishes on the cobbles of the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
Tour de France 2020: route, profiles, more
Click on the images to zoom