Running three weeks – from Saturday, June 29th to Sunday, July 21st – the 100th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages that will cover a total distance of 3,479 kilometers (2,115 miles).
After an absence last year, the team time trial is returning to this year’s course. Riders will also experience two individual time trial stages, seven flat stages, five hilly stages and six mountain stages, four with summit finishes. Riders will have two days of rest during the course of the tour (if one can call travel days rest days).
Notable Days in the 100th Tour
Forgoing the typical prologue, the first three days of the 2013 Tour will cover the only two departments in metropolitan France that have never before hosted the Tour: Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse. The Grand Départ of 2013 will put an end to that. The 100th anniversary of the Tour begins in Corsica.
After three days on the island, the remainder of the Tour will remain entirely within France, and not cross over into any foreign countries. This is the first time since 1988 that the entire Tour will take place solely on French soil.
The 4th stage, contested at Nice across 25 km, will represent the team time trial challenge, last carried out in 2011. Two individual time trials are also scheduled over a distance of 33 km between Avranches and Mont-Saint-Michel on stage 11, then over 32 km between Embrun and Chorges, on stage 17.
The Tour honors Bastille Day, July 14th, with one of the most iconic finishes in this year’s edition of the Tour. After riding the longest day of the 100th tour, riders will finish the 15th stage on the summit of Mount Ventoux. The final ascent is 20.8 kilometers long and averages 7.5 percent. It is regarded as one of the toughest climbs in France. It has the potential to bring about serious gaps in the general classification.
The most significant change and, without a shadow of a doubt one of the highlights of this 100th edition: for the first time ever, the Alpe d’Huez climb will be climbed twice in one stage. In the 18th stage, riders will experience their first passage at the top of Alpe-d’Huez 50 kilometers before finishing on the Alpe-d’Huez. The Tour’s most iconic climbs, and its notorious twenty-one hairpin bends, will thus play a very important part in the day’s action, and also in the overall classification itself.
Three further summit finishes are planned: Ax 3 Domaines, Mont Ventoux and Annecy-Semnoz, a new venue on the Tour map.
Check back with us next week to learn more about these regions, départements, cities and mountains when we begin our own virtual tour of the Tour.
100th Tour de France Course Profile
|Date||Stage||Profile||Start & Finish||Distance|
|Saturday, June 29th||1||Flat||Porto-Vecchio > Bastia||213 km|
|Sunday, June 30th||2||Hilly||Bastia > Ajaccio||156 km|
|Monday, July 1st||3||Hilly||Ajaccio > Calvi||145.5 km|
|Tuesday, July 2nd||4||Team TT||Nice > Nice||25 km|
|Wednesday, July 3rd||5||Flat||Cagnes-sur-Mer > Marseille||228.5 km|
|Thursday, July 4th||6||Flat||Aix-en-Provence > Montpellier||176.5 km|
|Friday, July 5th||7||Hilly||Montpellier > Albi||205.5 km|
|Saturday, July 6th||8||Mountain / Summit Finish||Castres > Ax 3 Domaines||195 km|
|Sunday, July 7th||9||Mountain||Saint-Girons > Bagnères-de-Bigorre||168.5 km|
|Monday, July 8th||Rest day||Saint-Nazaire – Loire-Atlantique|
|Tuesday, July 9th||10||Flat||Saint-Gildas-des-Bois > Saint-Malo||197 km|
|Wednesday, July 10th||11||Individual TT||Avranches > Mont-Saint-Michel||33 km|
|Thursday, July 11th||12||Flat||Fougères > Tours||218 km|
|Friday, July 12th||13||Flat||Tours > Saint-Amand-Montrond||173 km|
|Saturday, July 13th||14||Hilly||Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule > Lyon||191 km|
|Sunday, July 14th||15||Mountain / Summit Finish||Givors > Mont Ventoux||242.5 km|
|Monday, July 15th||Rest day||Vaucluse|
|Tuesday, July 16th||16||Mountain||Vaison-la-Romaine > Gap||168 km|
|Wednesday, July 17th||17||Individual TT||Embrun > Chorges||32 km|
|Thursday, July 18th||18||Mountain / Summit Finish||Gap > Alpe-d’Huez||172.5 km|
|Friday, July 19th||19||Mountain||Bourg-d’Oisans > Le Grand-Bornand||204.5 km|
|Saturday, July 20th||20||Mountain / Summit Finish||Annecy > Annecy – Semnoz||125 km|
|Sunday, July 21st||21||Flat||Versailles > Paris Champs-Élysées||133.5 km|
Notable Riders of the 2013 Tour
After a successful 2012, defending Tour champion and Olympic gold winner Bradley Wiggins has had a rough 2013. His efforts had been focused on the Giro d’Italia, with hopes for a Giro-Tour double victory, something which hasn’t been done since 1998 by Marco Pantani in 1998. During the Giro, Wiggins was plagued by crashes and illness. Ultimately he withdrew from the Giro and, due to lack of training because of injury and illness, decided not to race this year’s Tour. Sadly, Wiggins will be notable only for his absence from this year’s competition in France.
The absence of Wiggins allows an opening for Christopher Froome. Those who watched the Tour last year will remember Froome as the young rider who was absolutely essential in bringing his Team Sky teammate Wiggins to victory. In fact, many speculated that Froome was wholly capable of taking the 2012 victory for himself, but chose the honorable route of riding his race for his GC. Earlier this year, the press certainly made much of the rivalry between the two teammates, with both men chomping at the bit for the 2013 Tour. Just whom would have been chosen for the role of Team Sky’s GC for this year’s Tour is no longer in question with Wiggins out of contention.
While Froome has never won a grand tour, he is the hands-down favorite to win this year’s Tour. Riding domestique for Wiggins in last year’s Tour, Froome won stage seven and finished second overall, behind only Wiggins. At the 2012 Olympic Games, he took home the bronze medal in the time trial. Later in 2012, Froome finished fourth in the 2012 Vuelta a España. 2013 saw his first stage race win at the 2013 Tour of Oman, followed by wins in the 2013 Criterium International, the 2013 Tour de Romandie and the 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné.
All eyes may be on Froome, but, as we’ve learned in year’s past, anything can happen, especially over the 21 days of a grueling race. Being on the wrong side of a crash, or being in a crash itself, can spell disaster for the best rider’s chance at victory. Knowing Froome has a long way before reaching the podium on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, and that his competitors won’t make it easy for Froome, let’s take a look at some of the competition for yellow.
Former Tour winner Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) will return to the race after his suspension from the 2012 race. Contador won the Tour in 2009 and 2010, but was stripped of his 2010 victory. Andy Schleck, the 2010 Tour winner, will also return after also missing the 2012, in his case, due to injury.
Tejay van Garderen and Cadel Evans are both riding for Team BMC. Van Garderen had been looking strong, but his less than stellar performance at the recent Tour de Suisse may have opened the GC spot on the team back up for the 2011 Tour winner Evans.
Other contenders include Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who placed second in the 2012 Vuelta, his teammate Nairo Quintana, and Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), who podiumed both the Giro and Vuelta in 2012. Missing the podium at last year’s Tour by one spot, good things had been expected of Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol). Vincenzo Nibali was a possible contender after getting his first Tour de France podium in 2012, but focused instead on, and won, the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
Froome’s fellow Sky rider Richie Porte has also shown excellent form in 2013, winning Paris-Nice and finishing second to Froome in Criterium International and the Dauphine. As Froome did for Wiggins last year, Porte is expected to ridely solely for his teammate.
Beyond the Yellow
The race organizers took great efforts to vary the terrain and open up the course to other riders this year.
Sprinters like Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) will have plenty of opportunity to battle it out at sprint finishes. Riders like Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Cavendish, Greipel and even Contador will be in contention for points and to capture the green jersey.
And keep an eye on Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), the young French rider, who has set his sights on taking the white jersey away from van Garderen. Placing fourth overall at the Tour de Suisse, after finishing tenth in last year’s Tour, Pinot will have all of France behind him in the centennial edition of the Tour de France.
Catching the Action
With a few exceptions, this year’s Tour will be aired on NBC Sports Network. (A few days will be on NBC.) See the full network schedule. Be prepared to wake up early. All times listed are Eastern.
Catch the enhanced primetime showing of each Tour de France stage every night on NBCSN at 7pm CDT.
More About the Tour
2013 marks the 100th edition of the Tour, yet the first Tour de France was held in 1903. The Tour experienced a hiatus during each of the World Wars.
A Tour, in bicycling terms, is a stage race where several races, or stages, are ridden over consecutive days. While each day will provide a winner, the rider who completes all the combined stages in the least amount of time becomes the overall, or general classification (GC), winner. FYI, a rider doesn’t have to win all – or any! – of the individual stages to become the overall winner. Additional winners are named, daily and overall, for other categories rewarding successes in climbing and capturing points.
While there are many tours in the world – Did you know “giro” is the Spanish word for “tour”? – one has gained such popularity that it is often referred to as “The Tour” or “Le Tour.” Le Tour de France is the oldest and considered the most prestigious of the three European “Grand Tours.” It is an annual 21-stage race that takes place in France and surrounding countries. Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Andorra and others have been included in past Tours.
For more reading about the 2013 Tour de France, check out the following links:
- For complete Tour coverage, visit the official Tour de France site
- NBC’s coverage of the 2012 Tour
- Detailed analysis of the route for the 2013 Tdf
- Bicycling.com’s list of most critical, can’t-miss stages of the 2013 Tour
- Bicycling.com’s rankings
- Bicycling.com’s interview with Tour favorite Chris Froome
- For the biggest Tour-a-philes out there (who speak French), here’s a link to the official ASO presentation of the 2013 Tour de France
And check back with us next week when we begin our own virtual tour of the regions, départements and cities visited by this years 100th edition of the Tour.