2023 Tour de France: Stage-by-stage guide
2023 Tour de France, stage by stage guide, cycling

2023 Tour de France: Stage-by-stage guide

The 2023 Tour de France starts in Bilbao on Saturday, with the Basque Country Grand Depart making for a route which is difficult from the very start.

After some tough opening stages, the Pyrenees come as early as stage five, with no time for anybody to ease into three weeks of punishing racing which will climax in the Alps in the third week.

Here we break down all the 2023 Tour de France stages.

Stage 1 – July 1 – Bilbao to Bilbao – 182km – Hilly

The Basque Country offers up a rolling opening stage with a puncher’s chance to take the first yellow jersey – something that has not escaped the notice of Britain’s Tom Pidcock.

Stage 2 – July 2 – Vitoria-Gasteiz to Saint-Sebastian – 209km – Hilly

Borrowing from the San Sebastian Classic, the second stage could also make some selections within the group. The category two climb of the Jaizkibel is 20 kilometres from home, after which it is likely a very select group battles it out in a race to the line.

Stage 3 – July 3 – Amorebieta-Etxano to Bayonne – 187.4km – Flat

The race crosses onto French soil and delivers the first opportunity for the sprinters, but with much of the route along the Basque Country coastline, there is also the potential for crosswinds.

Stage 4 – July 4 – Dax to Nogaro – 182km – Flat

The sprinters have their chance again with a finish on the Nogaro motor racing circuit, but only if their teams control a breakaway which is sure to get away on the lumpy terrain of the Gers. Circuit finishes are often more complicated than they first appear.

Stage 5 – July 5 – Pau to Laruns – 163km – Mountain

The obligatory visit to Pau comes early in this year’s Tour as the race dips a toe into the Pyrenees with the Col de Soudet and Col de Marie Blanque before a descent into Laruns, where a breakaway will hope to prosper.

Stage 6 – July 6 – Tarbes to Cauterets-Cambasque – 145km – Mountain

A proper Pyrenean day will see the peloton crest the familiar pairing of the Col d’Aspin and the mighty Tourmalet before rising to the Plateau du Cambasque, a long but relative gentle climb where it may be difficult to launch attacks. A day for the yellow jersey hopefuls to show their hand?

Stage 7 – July 7 – Mont-de-Marsan to Bordeaux – 170km – Flat

After all the elevation gain of stage six, there is barely any on stage seven, which looks like a guaranteed sprint finish. Who will toast victory with a glass of Bordeaux?

Stage 8 – July 8 – Libourne to Limoges – 201km – Hilly

A lumpy finish to a long day in the saddle should favour the more punchy riders, with a short climb up to the finish likely to produce a reduced sprint.

Stage 9 – July 9 – Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat to Puy de Dome – 182.5km – Mountain

It is 35 years since the Tour last visited the Puy de Dome, and many riders will be happy to wait as long for a return as they fight their way up double digit gradients to the summit finish, where big gaps might be seen heading into the first rest day.

Stage 10 – July 11 – Vulcania to Issoire – 167.5km – Hilly

A venture into the Massif Central after the rest day could offer a chance to a breakaway, but that will also mean a fierce battle to get into it.

Stage 11 – July 12 – Clermont-Ferrand to Moulins – 180km – Flat

It is another opportunity for the sprinters, but a test of their reserves too given the number of leg-sapping climbs on the way to Moulins.

Stage 12 – July 13 – Roanne to Belleville-en-Beaujolais – 169km – Hilly

This stage looks nicely designed for a breakaway, so there will be no time for the peloton to sample any of the Beaujolais wines as the fight to get up the road will rage as they pass through the vineyards.

Stage 13 – July 14 – Chatillon-sur-Chalaronne to Grand Colombier – 138km – Mountain

A summit finish at the top of the Grand Colombier, a 17.4km climb with an average gradient of 7.1 per cent, will be a key test in the fight for yellow on Bastille Day.

Stage 14 – July 15 – Annemasse to Morzine Les Portes du Soleil – 152km – Mountain

The peloton will not spend much time enjoying views of Lake Geneva as they roll out of Annemasse, instead contemplating the 4,200 metres of climbing to come, climaxing with the hors categorie Col de Joux Plane – described as the nastiest climb in the Alps – before the descent into Morzine.

Stage 15 – July 16 – Les Gets Les Portes du Soleil to Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc – 179km – Mountain

A trilogy of mountain stages wraps up on the slopes of Mont Blanc and a summit finish on a climb where gradients hit 17 per cent.

Stage 16 – July 18 – Passy to Combloux – 22.4km – Individual time trial

After the second rest day comes the only time trial of this year’s Tour, a 22km race against the clock which will be defined by the short but sharp climb of the Cote de Domancy, 2.5km at 9.4 per cent, which rises to the finish line in Combloux.

Stage 17 – July 19 – Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc to Courchevel – 166km – Mountain

More than 5,000 metres of climbing awaits on one of the toughest days. The Tour will make its second visit to the Col de la Loze, a daunting climb that is 28.1km in length at an average of six per cent, before the descent into Courchevel and the 18 per cent gradients of its altiport at the finish.

Stage 18 – July 20 – Moutiers to Bourg-en-Bresse – 185km – Flat

Which sprinters have best survived the Alps? We should get to see on the run to Bourg-en-Bresse, where the final battle will take place on a straight final kilometre.

Stage 19 – July 21 – Moirans-en-Montagne to Poligny – 173km – Flat

The route winds its way through the Jura mountains, carefully avoiding the testing climbs of the region to offer the sprinters another chance in Poligny.

Stage 20 – July 22 – Belfort to Le Markstein Fellering – 133.5km – Mountain

The fight for yellow will be decided in the Alsation mountains, with six categorised climbs and the promise of a final battle on the Col du Platzerwasel.

Stage 21 – July 23 – Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines – 115.5km – Flat

A year before the Paris Olympics forces the 2024 race to finish outside the French capital for the first time in its history, the final stage of the 2023 Tour de France will start in shadow of the Olympic velodrome. Champagne glasses will clink for the victors before the sprinters have their final battle on the Champs-Elysees.

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