With just a few months left until the Tour de France 2023 kicks off on June 1, anticipation is hotting up.
The inclusion of four summit finishes will have cycling fans’ mouths watering at the prospect of a repeat of 2022’s titanic battle between Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar (assuming he recovers from his recent fractured wrist at Liége-Bastogne-Liége for Le Tour).
Vuelta a España victor Remco Evenepoel could add another dimension to the battle, while three-time Vuelta champion Primož Roglič will also be looking to make his mark on the race after the devastating final-day collapse of his challenge in 2020.
Notably, the route only features 22 km of time trialing – something that will leave weaker time trialists such as Romain Bardet, Enric Mas, Richard Carapaz, and Thibaut Pinot licking their lips on a parcours that may represent their best opportunity for a serious GC challenge.
2023 Tour de France Dates
The 2023 Tour de France will start on July 1, 2023. The race will include 21 stages across 23 days, with two rest days on July 10 and July 17.
The final stage of the 2023 Tour de France in Paris will take place on July 23, 2023.
Tour de France 2023 Grand Départ: Basque Country
Stage 1: Bilbao to Bilbao – 182 km
Stage 1 sees the peloton tackle an undulating 182 km loop around Bilbao.
It’s hillier than you’d expect for the opening day at a Grand Tour. On a course tailored to puncheurs, the likes of Wout van Aert, Tom Pidcock, Mathieu van der Poel, and Biniam Girmay will scrap it out to put themselves in yellow.
Pogačar might also fancy himself for a crack at the stage victory, with the final kilometer’s 6% gradient presenting an opportunity to put rivals to the sword with his formidable uphill sprint.
Stage 2: Vitoria-Gasteiz to Saint-Sébastien – 209 km
The Tour de France 2023’s longest day at 209 km, Stage 2 is another hilly day that will likely see a similar group battling for victory.
The irregular, ramped Jaizkibel climb 15 km from the finish might offer pure climbers an opportunity to drop the puncheurs, however.
Tom Pidcock is our one to watch for Stage 2. Having claimed victory at Alpe d’Huez in 2022, he’s got the chops to mix it with the best of them on the climb, while the descent towards the line offers him an opportunity to cash in on his prodigious descending skills.
Stage 3: Amborebieta-Etxano to Bayonne – 185 km
The first day to offer a real opportunity to the sprinters, Stage 3 sees the peloton traverse the Spanish coast before a run for the border and a finish in the French town of Bayonne.
Expect this one to end with a bunch sprint.
Stage 4: Dax to Nogaro – 182 km
Another sprinter’s stage, and likely a chance for the GC contenders to give themselves a breather before the Tour heads for the mountains.
The race for the green jersey should start to hot up on Stage 4.
Stage 5: Pau to Laruns – 165 km
As the Tour reaches the Pyrenees, Stage 5 represents the first stern test for the climbers.
Though the Col de Soudet is the day’s biggest climb, the shorter Col de Marie Blanque will be the decisive one, coming less than 20 km from the finish line and with the final four kilometers above a 10% gradient.
The climb last appeared in 2020, when Pogačar and Roglič led a blistering breakaway chase, with the former ultimately claiming the stage win.
Stage 6: Tarbes to Cauterets-Cambasque – 145 km
One of the biggest days of the Tour de France 2023 route, the highlight of Stage 7 is the ascent of the legendary Col du Tourmalet.
Expect to see the GC contenders’ teams pacing hard up the Tourmalet to try and force a gap, as the undulating final climb to Cautarets presents less of an opportunity for a decisive break.
Stage 7: Mont-De-Marsan to Bordeaux – 170 km
The race leaves the Pyrenees and heads north, with a flat stage offering an opportunity for the sprinters in Bordeaux.
Stage 8: Libourne to Limoges – 201 km
Another likely sprint finish, as the GC contenders get the opportunity for a second breather day in a row before the decisive stages to come.
Stage 9: Saint-Léonard-De-Noblat to Puy de Dôme – 184 km
The first summit finish of the race, Le Tour‘s return to the iconic Puy de Dôme should provide fireworks.
The real action will likely begin only in the final four kilometers of the climb, which average 12%, as the first 10 km are too shallow for GC contenders to really punish their rivals.
The Puy de Dôme has rich Tour heritage, having played host to Jacques Anquetil and Raymond Poulidor’s legendary side-by-side battle from base to summit in 1964, and the infamous spectator attack on Eddy Merckx in 1975.
Having been omitted from the Tour since 1988, the return of the Dôme is one of the highlights of the 2023 route.
Rest Day – July 10
Stage 10: Vulcania to Issoire – 167 km
Following the Tour’s first rest day, Stages 11, 12, and 13 appear unlikely to make much of a dent in the GC picture, but could present opportunities for breakaways.
Expect to see usual suspects such as Lennard Kämna, Matej Mohorič, and Simon Geschke leading the charge if a break escapes up the road.
Stage 11: Clermont-Ferrand to Moulins – 180 km
Stage 12: Roanne to Belleville-en-Beaujolais – 169 km
Stage 12 might be a day that King of the Mountain contenders look to get involved in the breakaway due to the number of categorized climbs on offer.
Stage 13: Châtillon-Sur-Chalaronne to Grand Colombier – 138 km
The biggest summit finish of this year’s Tour, the climb to Grand Colombier could be pivotal in the overall standings.
The stage is unremarkable before the climb starts in the final 18 km, but expect to see repeated attacks from the GC contenders all the way up.
The Colombier is an unusual climb, with stop-start ramps offering alternating opportunities for attacks and recovery. Two pitches of around 12% – particularly the second which comes two-thirds of the way up – are likely to be attacked particularly aggressively by the likes of Vingegaard and Pogačar.
Stage 14: Annemasse to Morzine Les Portes Du Soleil – 152 km
One of the toughest days of the Tour, Stage 14 features over 4200 m of elevation.
The intimidating Col de Joux Plane will be the decisive climb, but with a descent and two short flat sections before the finish at Morzine, the support of super-domestiques could be crucial for the big players to capitalize on any advantage.
- Fancy a crack at it yourself? Stage 14 is also the route of L’Étape du Tour 2023!
Stage 15: Les Gets Les Portes Du Soleil to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc – 180 km
Though Stage 15 lacks a standout monster climb (though the 12 km, 7% Col de la Croix will provide a stern test for any tired legs), the day’s elevation is relentless.
Nine categorized climbs and 4300 m of elevation make it a key stage for King of the Mountains challengers, while the sharp summit finish at Le Bettex with ramps of 17% threatens punishment for any GC contenders feeling the effects of three consecutive mountain days.
Rest Day – July 17
Stage 16: Passy to Combloux – 22 km (Individual Time Trial)
The 2023 Tour’s only time trial, Stage 16 is likely to favor strong climbers and technical descenders over pure time trialists.
Don’t be surprised to see TT specialists such as Filippo Ganna skip this year’s Tour as a result, especially with the Time Trial World Championships in such close proximity and the Giro offering three separate time trials to target.
Stage 17: Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc to Courchevel – 166 km
The 2023 Tour’s Queen Stage features a savage 5400 m of elevation, including a punishing 28 km climb of the Col de la Loze just before the finish.
The highest point of this year’s Tour, the Col de la Loze looks primed to host a crucial yellow jersey battle, although the brief respite halfway up as the climb passes through Meribel could minimize the potential damage inflicted on dropped riders.
Stage 18: Moûtiers to Bourg-En-Bresse – 186 km
Following the punishing slog to Courchevel, Stages 18 and 19 appear to be fairly straightforward transitional stages as the Tour heads north towards the Vosges.
The inclusion of three potential sprint finishes in the final week will have those sprinters durable enough to survive the cut in the mountains salivating.
Stage victory number 35 for Mark Cavendish, anyone?
Stage 19: Moirans-en-Montagne to Poligny – 173 km
Another transitional day with the potential for a bunch sprint, although the added elevation on Stage 19 might leave the likes of Mohorič et. al. fancying their chances of a breakaway victory.
Stage 20: Belfort to Le Markstein Fellering – 133 km
Effectively the final day of racing for the General Classification, we should know the overall champion of the 2023 Tour de France by the end of Stage 20.
A tough day in the Vosges mountains, the final two climbs of the Tour – the Petit Ballon and Col du Platzerwasel – offer the prospect of decisive late drama and a last-minute Hail Mary attack on the yellow jersey.
Both averaging over 8% and coming back-to-back, there’s the potential to inflict serious damage if a break can be made. However, with a slightly downhill final few kilometers, support from teammates will be essential if any meaningful gap is going to be maintained.
Stage 21: Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines to Paris Champs-Élysées – 115 km
Tradition dictates that the yellow leader is not attacked on the final day, making it a coronation procession (complete with champagne) all the way to Paris’ Champs-Élysées.
Eight laps of the iconic cobbled loop will follow, with the pace ramping up as teams set up for a bunch sprint for the most prestigious stage victory of the lot.