The route of the Tour de France 2020 will be of a high caliber, if the difficulty is measured by the yardstick of the elevation gain swallowed up by the peloton. The sprinters will have to target their efforts very precisely, as the general profile of this edition of the Tour will crush organizations by its rugged terrain from the first week. An unprecedented introduction that announces three weeks of very intense competition, at the end of summer, a first.
1st stage (August 29): Nice (middle country) -Nice
156 km. The first stage of this Tour de France will make a long loop in the Nice hinterland with, rare thing, three difficulties to borrow from the inaugural Saturday.
2nd stage (August 30): Nice (high country) -Nice
187 km. From the second day, the long but steady Col de la Colmiane (16 km at 6.3%) placed in the first third of the stage, then in the wake of the Col du Turini (15 km at 7.4%) – both having already punctuated Paris-Nice in 2018 and 2019 respectively – and the (slightly) more affordable Col d’Eze (7.8 km at 6.1%) will stand in front of the peloton, in a Tour which therefore begins at full speed slope (nearly 4,000 m of elevation gain).
3rd stage (August 31): Nice-Sisteron
198 km. Without being a mountainous stage like the day before, the profile of this day will be slightly bumpy when the runners leave the Mediterranean shores for the Provençal hinterland, and will rise to above 1000 m before descending to Sisteron for a finish that will be disputed between backpackers or sprinters.
4th stage (September 1st): Sisteron – Orcières-Merlette
157 km. A 4th stage which already touches the 2000 m altitude on its arrival: the first days of the 2020 edition will be steep, with the line drawn at the top of the climb of Orcières-Merlette, “only” 7 km but at 6.7% average. The foot includes the steepest passage, with a second kilometer of ascent announced at 8.2% on average. The runners will have already negotiated a first difficulty at nearly 1,500 m before.
5th stage (September 2): Gap-Privas
183 km. The runners will leave the Hautes-Alpes on a gentle slope for the Ardèche foothills, crossing the Rhône valley, often open to southerly winds and, why not, to the borders. Long-distance breakaways could find a fertile ground for victory, if the sprinter teams do not lock the race.
6th stage (September 3): Le Teil-Mont Aigoual
191 km. Back on the slopes for the fourth time in six days with an arrival at Mont Aigoual – which the Tour had not visited since its only passage in 1987. It is not so much the last 14 kilometers (out of 191 in total) that will make the difference, with their alternation between plateau and final elevation at a pleasant 4% on average, than the formidable and irregular Col de la Lusette (11.7 km at 7.3%) just before, and in particular two kilometers passed in 11 % slope. A total of 34 km of climb that will file the bodies after not even a week of driving.
7th stage (September 4): Millau-Lavaur
168 km. A hilly stage but without any real difficulty. If the weather conditions do not disseminate the peloton in small clusters, the riders could come out unscathed.
8th stage (September 5): Cazères-sur-Garonne – Loudenvielle
140 km. A series of three well-known passes, an arrival in the valley in a rather narrow stage: the Pyrenees stand in front of the peloton at the end of the first week of the race. Col de Menté, port of Balès and col de Peyresourde punctuate this mountainous stage which finally switches to Loudenvielle. The succession of three climbs introduces the lightning but strong passage that the Tour makes in the Pyrenean massif.
9th stage (September 6): Pau-Laruns
154 km. Second Béarn day before the day of rest, again of a savage severity. The brutal sequence of the passes of Hourcère and Soudet, planted well in the middle of the stage (11 km at 8.8% followed by 3.8 km at 8.5%, barely interrupted by a descent of 5 km) before the Col de Marie Blanque and its 7.7 km at 8.6% are added to the table in the last third of the stage, conclude a first week of Tour particularly marked by the mountain, in an unprecedented way in the modern history of the ordeal.
10th stage (September 8): Île d’Oléron (Le Château d’Oléron) – Île de Ré (Saint-Martin-de-Ré)
170 km. The Tour will walk from island to island the day after the rest day, for one of the few stages possibly for sprinters.
11th stage (September 9): Châtelaillon-Plage – Poitiers
167 km. New stage with very soft relief, which will still be able to smile on the teams of sprinters on the Poitou line.
12th stage (September 10): Chauvigny-Sarran
218 km. The longest stage of this 2020 edition will lead the peloton towards Sarran, through a bumpy course without being really complicated.
13th stage (September 11): Châtel-Guyon – Puy-Mary
191 km. A profile that will not leave any respite, typical of these medium mountain stages which have severely worn the bodies of the runners in 2019. All in ceaseless climbs and descents, this stage crossing the Massif Central is announced as the one with the biggest positive elevation of the 2020 edition – 4,400 m for 191 km of route. Among other celebrations listed: the Col de Ceyssat, the Col de Guéry, the climb of the Stele, the coast of the Estiade, the coast of Anglards-de-Salers before concluding with the Col de Néronne (3.8 km at … 9.1%) which precedes the final climb of the Pas de Peyrol by 5 km, a sacred treat of 5.4 km at 8.1% average. And whose final 2.5 kilometers stand at nearly 12% with a passage of 15%. Big program in perspective.
14th stage (September 12): Clermont-Ferrand – Lyon
197 km. A stage marked the passage of the Col du Béal in the first part of the race. Not enough to decide definitively the fate of the stage before a descent to Lyon and a few bumps on the menu in the very last part of the race: the Duchère hill, the Observance climb and the Croix hill. Redhead will spice up the finale.
15th stage (September 13): Lyon-Grand Colombier
175 km. From almost every angle: from Lyon, runners will approach the Grand Colombier by almost all of its possible and drivable accesses. First by flirting with him from the west, to the saddle of Fromentel (11 km at 8.1%, including slopes between 11.5 and 22% in the last three kilometers), before s’ Take a detour to go back to the north and hook up to the Col de la Biche (7 km at 8.9%). They will then have to switch to the east side, rally Culoz and tackle this so difficult Grand Colombier (17.4 km at 7.1%), irregular, at a brittle pace where in several places flats follow slopes of 12% .
16th stage (September 15): La Tour-du-Pin – Villard-de-Lans
164 km. If the Chartreuse massif and the Porte pass, which appear quite early in the stage (km 47) do not already scatter part of the peloton, the Vercors, its access climb (via Saint-Nizier-du -Moucherotte), its plateau and its final climb at Villard-de-Lans, could legitimately be the scene.
17th stage (September 16): Grenoble-Col de la Loze
168 km. The queen stage of this Tour will cross the Madeleine and end at the top of the Col de la Loze, an unprecedented climb that is spectacular in the end, destined to become a classic of the Grande Boucle.
A narrow road opened last May and closed to cars has made the summit of the Loze pass (2,304 m) accessible to cyclists, which links the Méribel valley to that of Courchevel.
The extraordinary strength of this climb does not lie in its length (21.5 km in total from the foot, at Brides-les-Bains), nor in its average percentages (7.8%), but in the unique profile of the last six markers, on the new high road. This indeed consists of a succession of impressive ledges and walls, with many passages over 20%. Short switchbacks, violent steep climbs and incessant breaks in the slope, which offer cyclists a phenomenal field of expression.
18th stage (September 17): Méribel – La-Roche-sur-Foron
168 km. Since it had been skipped due to weather conditions during the 2019 edition, here is the Cormet de Roselend again on the 2020 menu, but this time in its Bourg-Saint-Maurice – Beaufort sense. Then will come a solid sequence of the Col des Saisies, Aravis, the climb of the Glières plateau (back to the program after an appearance in 2018).
19th stage (September 18): Bourg-en-Bresse – Champagnole
160 km. Part of the Ain to join the reliefs of the Jura, it will not present any difficulties comparable to the previous days and could benefit sprinters.
20th stage (September 19): Lure – La Planche des belles filles (clm)
36 km. The only time trial stage of this 2020 Tour de France will be played over 36 km with a hill finish. And what a climb: the now classic Planche des belles filles, on the program for the 5th time in nine editions. Nearly 6 km at 8.5% (in “normal” version for 2020 after the “super Planche” of 2019) with occasional passages at 13 or even 20%. A stopwatch during the penultimate stage is nothing new in the recent history of the Tour: all the editions from 2002 to 2008, then those of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 or even 2017 were provided with it, with a single change of leader on the eve of arrival in Paris, in 2011 (victory for Cadel Evans). But the uniqueness of the individual time trial this year makes it an unprecedented event.
21st stage (September 20): Mantes-la-Jolie – Paris
122 km. As every year until 2024, the last stage of the Tour starts from Yvelines to reach the capital.