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Tour de France 2014 route presentation

There was a press conference in Paris today, 23rd October 2013, to present the route of the Tour de France 2014. The main presentation was by the director of the Tour, Christian Prudhomme. 

The highlights of the 2014 race are:

  • five mountain-top finishes
  • 15km of cobbles in northern France on Stage 5 from Ypres to Arenberg
  • significant time in the Vosges mountains
  • only one time trial, on the penultimate stage

There is, therefore, no prologue time trial, and no team trial. The single 54km time trial means that there is the shortest time trial distance of any Tour de France since 1934.

There is plenty of climbing, including to La Planche des Belles Filles (Stage 10, Vosges), to Chamrousse and to Risoul (Stages 13 and 14, in the Alps), and to Bagneres de Luchon (via Port de Bales), to St-Lary-Soulan (Pla d' Adet), and to Hautacam (via the Tourmalet) (Stages 16, 17, and 18, in the Pyrenees). Stage 17, to St-Lary-Soulan (Pla d' Adet) is described as the étape-reine - the queen stage.  

The organisers have tried to make sure that the overall victory will be fought out not only on the mountain stages, but on other tough days too. The York-Sheffield day is one of these - it has been described as worthy of a Liege-Bastogne-Liege race. The cobbles on Stage 5 (15 of the last 70km) should also split the field. 

The wind might be a factor on Stage 7 to Nancy; Stage 8 to Gérardmer is thought to be one for the puncheurs - riders who can tackle a short, steep climb, and escape in the last kilometres of a stage. This would include Peter Sagan, Edvald Boasson-Hagan, and Philippe Gilbert. 

The press conference, reported in our Tour de France presentation live blog, began with a presentation by Jean-Etienne Amaury, President of ASO, the organisers of the Tour de France. He explained that, while the 100th edition of the race in 2013 was very French, the 2014 Tour de France will start in the UK, which is rapidly developing as a cycling nation. (This is enthusiastically welcomed by Brits, but not universally popular in France. Many of the readers of L' Equipe made disparaging comments - for example, benjidu92MLK, who wrote, 'More stages outside our country the tour de France isn't the tour of England.' There are many similar comments). 

Christian Prudhomme explained that the rapid development of cycling, both at a high level, and by everyday cyclists, had persuaded them to return to Britain sooner than he would otherwise have done. (The Tour came to London in 2007). On a visit to Yorkshire, he was very impressed with the countryside, and the possibilities it allowed for cycle racing on varied terrain. 

Gary Verity of Welcome to Yorkshire made a presentation in French. This was quite a moment. He sounded like a man who had been revising his GCSE French frantically for a little while, and we suspect he must have been practising the speech with a coach. It was a brave effort, and he just about got away with it!

The Tour de France organisation will be in Leeds from 2nd July 2014, and the riders will be presented to the media on 3rd July 2014 at the Leeds Arena.

This is the full list of stages on the Tour de France 2014:

  • Stage 1 Leeds to Harrogate
  • Stage 2 York to Sheffield 
  • Stage 3 Cambridge to London
  • Stage 4 Le Touquet Paris-Plage to Lille
  • Stage 5 Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainault
  • Stage 6 Arras to Reims
  • Stage 7 Epernay to Nancy
  • Stage 8 Tomblaine to Gérardmer
  • Stage 9 Gérardmer to Mulhouse
  • Stage 10 Mulhouse to Planche des Belles Filles
  • rest day at Besancon
  • Stage 11 Besancon to Oyonnax
  • Stage 12 Bourg-en-Bresse to St-Etienne
  • Stage 13 St-Etienne to Chamrousse
  • Stage 14 Grenoble to Risoul
  • Stage 15 Tallard to Nimes
  • rest day at Carcassonne
  • Stage 16 Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon
  • Stage 17 Saint-Gaudens to St-Lary-Soulan
  • Stage 18 Pau to Hautacam
  • Stage 19 Maubourguet Val d' Adour to Bergerac
  • Stage 20 Bergerac to Périgueux (time trial)
  • Evry to Paris


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