Tour de France: French stages

  • Last Updated: July 1 2014, 12:54 BST

The Tour returns to France after its UK opening on July 8 and we take a look at what the riders will encounter.

Paris: Where the race will reach its climax after 21 gruelling stages
Paris: Where the race will reach its climax after 21 gruelling stages

July 8

Stage 4: Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Lille Metropole (163.5 kilometres)

The Tour de France resumes in France after crossing the Channel following the London finish. The transitional stage is expected to end in a sprint in Lille, with Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel and company all vying for victory.

July 9

Stage 5: Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut (155.5km)

A key day's racing as the Tour commemorates 100 years since the start of the First World War. Nine cobbled sections feature for the first time since 2010 and defending champion Chris Froome has previously admitted his concern at the prospect. The Tour will not be won here, but it could be lost.

July 10

Stage 6: Arras to Reims (194km)

Another battlefield awaits as the peloton pass through the Somme. After five challenging days of racing and being shaken by the cobbles, a breakaway could prevail as the Tour arrives in Champagne country. Depending on their energy reserves, a select bunch of sprinters could be in contention on an uphill finish.

July 11

Stage 7: Epernay to Nancy (234.5km)

The peloton could be torn apart by the finale into Nancy, with the Cote de Boufflers coming 5.5km from the finish line, in the second-longest stage of the race. An opportunist may spot his chance for a stage victory.

July 12

Stage 8: Tomblaine to Gerardmer La Mauselaine (161km)

Three categorised climbs in the final 20km of the stage will allow a breakaway to prosper or see the overall contenders seek to make early gains. The finish comes at the end of the 1.8km Cote de La Mauselaine.

July 13

Stage 9: Gerardmer to Mulhouse (170km)

There are six categorised climbs on the second day in the Vosges - including the 101st Tour's first category one ascent, Le Markstein - and the breakaway specialists may thrive again with the overall hopefuls saving themselves for stage 10.

July 14

Stage 10: Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles (161.5km)

The Bastille Day fireworks are sure to come on the road. In 2012 Froome won his first Tour stage on 'the climb of the beautiful girls' and Sir Bradley Wiggins took the yellow jersey he would not relinquish. It is unlikely the 2014 Tour will be won here, but the contenders will be whittled down.

July 15

Rest day Besancon

July 16

Stage 11: Besancon to Oyonnax (187.5km)

The resumption takes the peloton south towards the Alps. Four ascents in the closing stages could split the group, but there is enough distance following the Cote d'Echallon for the sprinters' teams to pull the peloton back together ahead of the finish.

July 17

Stage 12: Bourg-en-Bresse to St Etienne (185.5km)

Another duel between the breakaway experts and the sprinters beckons as the Tour heads further southwards. It is similar to stage 11 and the sprinters' last chance at glory before days of punishment in the mountains.

July 18

Stage 13: St Etienne to Chamrousse (197.5km)

After keeping their powder dry for four days, the overall contenders will be alive as the race hits the Alps. The hors categorie (beyond category) 18.2km climb to the finish at Chamrousse will turn the podium hopefuls into an even more select bunch.

July 19

Stage 14: Grenoble to Risoul (177km)

The second and final stage in the Alps is likely to see the favourites slug it out again, with the hors categorie Col d'Izoard, which is 19km long, the springboard for a 12.6km finishing ascent at Risoul.

July 20

Stage 15: Tallard to Nimes (222km)

Respite for the favourites and a resumption of hostilities for the sprinters - unless the wind in the region causes havoc like it did en route to St Amand-Montrond in 2013. Cavendish won on a thrilling day then and will hope to be the right side of any split once again.

July 21

Rest day Carcassonne

July 22

Stage 16: Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon (237.5km)

Just two days after leaving the Alps, the Tour enters the Pyrenees at the start of the final week of racing with the longest stage of the race. The Port de Bales comes in the closing stages before the descent into Bagneres-de-Luchon, which is twinned with Harrogate.

July 23

Stage 17: St Gaudens to St Lary Pla d'Adet (124.5km)

Three category one climbs prime the peloton for the 10.2km ascent to the summit finish at Pla d'Adet. Assaults on the leader are sure to take place on the second of two days in the Pyrenees.

July 24

Stage 18: Pau to Hautacam (145.5km)

A short and punishing stage features two fabled climbs - the Col du Tourmalet and the concluding Hautacam, which is the mountain goats' last chance to challenge in the 2014 Tour. An early attack on the Tourmalet is possible if someone has plenty of time to make up.

July 25

Stage 19: Maubourguet Pays du Val d'Adour to Bergerac (208.5km)

The riders leave the mountains behind and head for the Dordogne and wine country. Those sprinters who have survived the ascents of the Alps and the Pyrenees will challenge for the win in Bergerac.

July 26

Stage 20: Bergerac to Perigueux (54km time-trial)

The final test. A pure time-trial against the clock, with no climbs of note, will decide the winner of the 101st Tour. Froome can time-trial with the best of them and may be able to make up time to his overall rivals if necessary.

Stage 21: Evry to Paris Champs-Elysees (137.5km)

The ceremonial final stage once again takes place under floodlights - after the inaugural La Course, a one-day women's race - to bring the race to a conclusion. Cavendish won for four successive years on the Champs-Elysees before Kittel triumphed last year in the sprinters' unofficial world championships.