Tour de France organizers showed off the 2019 route today and it’s clear climbing specialists are going to be happy. “The highest Tour in history” features a record 30 categorized climbs and five summit finishes.
The Tour will start with a nod to Belgian legend Eddy Merckx, as the 2019 edition kicks off in Brussels on July 6 and ends 3,460 kilometers later on the Champs-Ã‰lysées in Paris. After Belgium, the Tour heads into the hilly Massif Central region of France, and then down to the Pyrénées before culminating with three consecutive days in the Alps.
Classic climbs will dot the map, with the Tourmalet, La Planche des Belles Filles, the Col d’Izoard, the Col du Galibier, and the Montee de Tignes all on the menu.
With an abundance of potentially decisive mountain stages, the scope for stealing time from rivals during long time trials has been limited. Next year’s edition features a 27km team time trial on stage 2 around the city center of Brussels and Stage 13 will be a 27km individual time trial on rolling terrain around Pau. There won’t be a lot of mileage for making up time.
Frankly, it will be impossible to win this Tour unless you are a great climber.
The Fun Starts Early
Most Tours are backloaded with fun. You could easily skip the first week and hardly miss a beat. Fortunately, the 2019 edition has opportunities for GC action in the first stretch of stages. Stage 3 and 5 feature some fun punchy climbs and La Planche des Belles Filles comes at the end of stage 6.
On that Stage 6 again, it’s the first summit finish of five. Mountaintop finales are some of the most exciting viewing in the sport, last year had three, adding two will up the fun factor considerably.
Another quick goodie on Stage 6, after passing the point where the climb has traditionally finished, the peloton will continue onto a steep gravel road to the summit.
The Tourmalet Test
Stage 14 of next year’s Tour will head to the Tourmalet. It’s only a 117-kilometer stage with the Col du Soulor around the halfway mark. It’s the day after the ITT which means things could get very interesting. Go too hard in the time trial and you might lose serious time on the mountain.
2019 Tour de France route
- July 6
- Stage 1, Brussels, 192km
- July 7
- Stage 2, Brussels, 27km TTT
- July 8
- Stage 3, Binche to Epernay, 214km
- July 9
- Stage 4, Reims to Nancy, 215km
- July 10
- Stage 5, Saint-Die-des-Voges to Colmar, 169km
- July 11
- Stage 6, Mulhouse to Planche des Belles Filles, 157km
- July 12
- Stage 7, Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saone, 230km
- July 13
- Stage 8, Macon to Saint-Etienne, 199km
- July 14
- Stage 9 Saint-Etienne to Brioude, 170km
- July 15
- Stage 10, Saint-Flour to Albi, 218km
- July 16
- Rest Day
- July 17
- Stage 11, Albi to Toulouse, 167km
- July 18
- Stage 12, Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre, 202km
- July 19
- Stage 13, Pau, 27km TT
- July 20
- Stage 14, Tarbes to Tourmalet, 117km
- July 21
- Stage 15, Limoux to Foix, 185km
- July 22
- Rest Day
- July 23
- Stage 16, Nimes, 177km
- July 24
- Stage 17, Pont du Gard to Gap, 206km
- July 25
- Stage 18, Embrun to Valloire, 207km
- July 26
- Stage 19, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes, 123km
- July 27
- Stage 20, Albertville to Val Thorens, 131km
- July 28
- Stage 21, Rambouillet to Paris, 127km