The Tour de France may be one of the most well-known sporting events in the world outside of the Olympic Games. On par with World Cups, championships and more, the bike race through the regions of France is a joy to watch. If you get the chance to watch them in person, where you can cheer on the contestants and feel the breeze as they zoom past you, take it. Here’s a quick overview of the race, the contestants and the path they will take for the 2014 Tour de France.

History of Le Tour de France

Le Tour has always been able to change with the times. Since the beginning, the Tour has been about putting French towns, countryside, mountains and people into the media spotlight and the French people have taken the event into their hearts. The first run of Le Tour de France was in 1903 and was completed by the event’s founder and 59 other pioneers. They made their way through France in just four incredibly arduous stages. The sporting world embraced the new event with open arms and ever since then the event has continued to prosper. With every year that passes, Le Tour continues to gain strength from its experience.

This Year's Tour de France

2014's Tour de France is the 101st of its kind. It will run from Saturday July 5th to Sunday July 27th and is comprised of 21 stages. Participants will cover a total distance of 3,656km during their time on the road. Contrary to what the name suggests, the Tour de France will go through three additional countries beyond France: the United Kingdom, Belgium and Spain. Each stage will bring participants through a new part of the country and will challenge their athleticism. The 21 stages have the following profiles:

  • 9 flat stages
  • 5 hill stages
  • 6 mountain stages with 5 altitude finishes
  • 1 individual time-trial stage
  • 2 rest days

Another update to the 2014 Tour de France is the addition of nine new stage cities: Leeds, Harrogate, York, Sheffield, Cambridge, Ypres, Oyonnax, Risoul, and Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour.

 

Who Competes

Since the Tour opened its gates to international competitors, the number of countries participating has grown impressively. Each country has a team of 9 riders who compete in the race and navigate the routes. There are some countries that have more than one team representing their country, for example Italy. They have two teams of 9 participating but are sponsored by different companies, comprised of different athletes and coached by different personnel. This year, the countries that have at least one team competing are:

  • France
  • Kazakhstan
  • Netherlands
  • United States
  • Italy
  • Switzerland
  • Russia
  • Belgium
  • Spain
  • Australia
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Denmark

Where They Bike

As mentioned above, the several stages of Le Tour will bring cyclists through every part of France to see the landscapes, experience the changes in altitude, in weather and more.

The stages

STAGE

TYPE

DATE

START AND FINISH

DISTANCE

 

    

1

Flat

Saturday, July 5th

Leeds > Harrogate

191 km

2

Flat

Sunday, July 6th

York > Sheffield

198 km

3

Flat

Monday, July 7th

Cambridge > Londres

159 km

4

On-line

Tuesday, July 8th

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage > Lille Métropole

164 km

5

On-line

Wednesday, July 9th

Ypres > Arenberg Porte du Hainaut

156 km

6

On-line

Thursday, July 10th

Arras > Reims

194 km

7

On-line

Friday, July 11th

Épernay > Nancy

233 km

8

On-line

Saturday, July 12th

Tomblaine > Gérardmer La Mauselaine

161 km

9

On-line

Sunday, July 13th

Gérardmer > Mulhouse

166 km

10

On-line

Monday, July 14th

Mulhouse > La Planche des Belles Filles

161 km

-

Rest day

Tuesday, July 15th

Besançon

 

11

On-line

Wednesday, July 16th

Besançon > Oyonnax

186 km

12

On-line

Thursday, July 17th

Bourg-en-Bresse > Saint-Étienne

183 km

13

On-line

Friday, July 18th

Saint-Étienne > Chamrousse

200 km

14

On-line

Saturday, July 19th

Grenoble > Risoul

177 km

15

On-line

Sunday, July 20th

Tallard > Nîmes

222 km

-

Rest day

Monday, July 21st

Carcassonne

 

16

On-line

Tuesday, July 22nd

Carcassonne > Bagnères-de-Luchon

237 km

17

On-line

Wednesday, July 23rd

Saint-Gaudens > Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet

125 km

18

On-line

Thursday, July 24th

Pau > Hautacam

145 km

19

On-line

Friday, July 25th

Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour > Bergerac

208 km

20

Individual time-trial

Saturday, July 26th

Bergerac > Périgueux

54 km

21

On-line

Sunday, July 27th

Évry > Paris Champs-Élysées

136 km

 

Now that you know all there is to know about Le Tour de France, it’s time to get your ticket and get going to see your favourite cyclist peddling their way on the road to the finish line! Before you leave, be sure to purchase international travel insurance to protect your holiday from any unexpected surprises. Get a quote today for Cover-More’s international travel insurance and rest assured that your holiday is in good hands.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Robert King.