The 2024 Tour de France will feature an atypical but fascinating route. For the first time, the race will kick off in Italy and end in Nice rather than Paris.
The 25th foreign Grand Départ in the 120-year history of the Tour de France means that the race has started in every country bordering France aside from Andorra.
The 2024 Paris Olympics has also necessitated moving the final stage south to Nice, the first time the race has finished outside Paris and for an extra dramatic twist, the race concludes with a time trial for the first time in 35 years.
It’ll be a Tour de France route far from the usual, then, although all the same ingredients that make the race what it is: high mountains, hills, time trials, and this year gravel – make up the 21 stages.
Full details of all the headline stages, barring the stage 7 time trial, have been unveiled and we’ve pored through the route to highlight five of the key stages of the 2024 Tour de France.
Stage 4: Pinerolo – Valloire, 138km
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A Grand Départ in Tuscany, taking in several hilly stages en route to Turin and the French border mean a special treat for fans, as the race hits the high mountains just four days into the race.
Any riders who aren’t quite in top shape at the start, or who have suffered with illness, form, or crashes in Italy, won’t welcome the long drag to Sestriere (39.9km at 3.7%), the Col de Montgenèvre (8.3km at 5.9%) and of course the Col du Galibier (23km at 5.1%).
The climbs aren’t new to the Tour, of course, with Sestriere last featuring in 2011 and the Galibier featuring on back-to-back days two years ago – when Jumbo-Visma piled the pain on Tadej Pogačar before Tom Pidcock put on his stunning descending display.
Any yellow jersey earthquakes such as the Jonas Vingegaard display we saw on stage 11 in 2022 are unlikely at this early stage in the race, but with two climbs over 2,000 metres as early as stage 4 – the Galibier peaks at over 2,600 metres – there are bound to be some GC casualties.
At just 138km and with a descent to the finish in Valloire, the stage looks tailor-made for an audacious breakaway as the GC men battle behind.
We’ve already seen Ineos Grenadiers’ Tom Pidcock show what he can do on the way down the Galibier – could he repeat the feat in 2024?
It might be tough to get the leeway to do the same next July but we’ll no doubt witness some stunning feats of descending once again on the flowing and picturesque…