From 29th June to 21st July 2013, the hundredth edition of the Tour de France will take the riders, support staff, spectators and viewers on a 3,360-km route that will remain exclusively within France’s borders. After a first stay in Corsica, the Big Loop will visit the country’s wonders and will providing the climbers in the pack with brand new challenges. After the final time-trial, there will still be 615 kilometres of road to cover before the finishing line, in particular a double ascent of the Alpe d’Huez climb!
The Isle of Beauty will welcome the Tour de France for the first time. The Grand Start will set the tone of an edition equally dedicated to majestic landscapes and sporting feats. For the first time in ten years, the route of Le Tour will remain entirely within the borders of France. The biggest race in the world will pay homage to the theatre of its battles, by inviting its viewers to discover the many UNESCO World Heritage listed sites, from the Calanques de Piana to the gardens of the Château de Versailles, including the Cathedral in Albi and the historical centre of Lyon, to name but two. After its Corsican sojourn, Le Tour 2013 will continue to bathe in the theme of water: including Nice, Marseilles, Saint-Malo and Mont-Saint-Michel, six stages will finish at the seaside, whilst the pack will have the opportunity to ride along the four biggest rivers in France and pass alongside the sumptuous shores of the Serre-Ponçon and Annecy Lakes.
During the three weeks of racing, the action will also be aesthetically pleasing. Once again, a broad range of terrains has been chosen, to offer all types of riders the possibility to shine, in all the sequences that Le Tour will include. Time-trialists will have pride of place as part of a team in Nice, then on their own at the Mont-Saint-Michel, whilst the sprinters should be looking forward to the finishes in Marseilles, Montpellier or also Saint-Malo. In any case, the route will constantly favour the brave and, amongst them, the climbers will have opportunities spread all along their journey to Paris.
The Pyrenean programme includes climbs recently incorporated into the list of Tour de France’s “elite passes”, such as the Col de Pailhères or Col Hourquette d’Ancizan passes. Le Tour’s leading lights will have a date in their diaries with the Giant of Provence, the Mont Ventoux, which has not been climbed since 2009. If they are dynamic, the climbers will then have a sufficient amount of kilometres and steep gradients to really set off the fireworks in the Alps. The final time-trial of Le Tour has not taken place so far from the finish in Paris since 1975. More importantly, there will still be more than 140 km of climbing spread over three highly intense stages: the Alpe d’Huez will have 42 bends this year, because the riders will be faced with a double climb up to the ski resort on Thursday afternoon. Another high altitude challenge will await them the next day as they head to Grand Bornand, then also at the finish in Semnoz, opposite Mont-Blanc, which they will discover 24 hours before arriving at the Champs-Elysées. Who knows if the winner of the 100th Tour de France will have already been crowned?