Grueling mountain block makes for brutal 2023 Tour de France

cycling27 October 2022 11:34| © Reuters
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© Gallo Images

The 2023 Tour de France riders are set for a gruelling final block of racing on a treacherous course that will go through all five mountain ranges.

With a start from Bilbao, Spain, the peloton will quickly be in the Pyrenees with a mountaintop finish at the iconic Col du Tourmalet before heading to the Massif Central to end up at the top of the Puy de Dome for the first time since 1988.

The Jura and the Alps will feature three consecutive mountain treks before a rest day, a short but brutal individual time trial and a ride to Courchevel with 5 100 metres of altitude gain.

"They will get to the bottom of the Col de la Loze (the last climb before heading down to Courchevel) really knackered. The riders will need to keep a bit of freshness to be alert on the tricky descent," said Tour sporting director Thierry Gouvenou.

"It's a big, big stage."

The Tour might then be decided in the penultimate stage to the Markstein in the Vosges, where the women's Tour ended up last year.

"We're looking to make the most of the mountain ranges in the country and a start from the Basque country made that possible," Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said.

With only 22 kilometres of time trialling, the pure climbers will obviously be favoured.

"You can never know what will happen. There's what we imagine and the scenarios we would like to see, but sometimes we get something totally different," said Prudhomme.

"What we want is something like last year."

"I really like the route, it's going to be a hard race from the start with a tough week in the Basque country," said 2020 and 2021 champion Tadej Pogacar.

"It has a lot of climbing, which I like, particularly the first and third weeks."

In 2022, then defending champion Pogacar cracked in the ascent to the Col du Granon after the team of eventual winner Jonas Vingegaard threw everything at the Slovenian in a vintage stage, arguably the most spectacular in the century.

There will be several opportunities for sprinters to shine aside from the traditional finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris with stages ending in Bordeaux, Poligny and Nogaro, with Mark Cavendish's presence being the biggest question mark as the Briton looks to break the record of 34 stage wins he shares with Belgian great Eddy Merckx.

The Tour will start on July 1 with its second 'Grand Depart' from the Basque country after setting off from San Sebastian in 1992.


July 1 | Stage 1
Bilbao (Spain) - Bilbao | 182km

July 2 | Stage 2
Vitoria Gasteiz (Spain) - San Sebastian (Spain) | 209km

July 3 | Stage 3
Amorebieta Etxnano (Spain) - Bayonne | 185km

July 4 | Stage 4
Dax - Nogaro | 182km

July 5 | Stage 5
Pau - Laruns | 165km

July 6 | Stage 6
Tarbes - Cauterets Cambasque | 145km

July 7 | Stage 7
Mont de Marsan - Bordeaux | 170km

July 8 | Stage 8
Libourne - Limoges | 201km

July 9 | Stage 9
Saint Leonard de Noblat - Puy de Dome | 184km

July 10 | Rest day in Clermont Ferrand

July 11 | Stage 10
Vulcania - Issoire | 167km

July 12 | Stage 11
Clermont Ferrand - Moulins | 180km

July 13 | Stage 12
Roanne - Belleville en Beaujolais | 169km

July 14 | Stage 13
Chatillon sur Chalaronne - Grand Colombier | 138km

July 15 | Stage 14
Annemasse - Morzine Les Portes du Soleil | 152km

July 16 | Stage 15
Les Gets Les Portes du Soleil - Saint Gervais Mont Blanc | 180km

July 17 | Rest day in Saint Gervais Mont Blanc

July 18 | Stage 16
Passy - Combloux | individual time trial | 22km

July 19 | Stage 17
Saint Gervais Mont Blanc - Courchevel | 166km

July 20 | Stage 18
Moutiers - Bourg en Bresse | 186km

July 21 | Stage 19
Moirans en Bretagne - Poligny | 173km

July 22 | Stage 20
Belfort - Le Markstein | 133km

July 23 | Stage 21
Saint Quentin en Yvelines - Paris Champs Elysees | 115km

Total: 3,404km