Tour de France 2020: When does each stage start, how long is the race? How can I follow the action?
Founded in 1903 by Henri Desgrange, editor of L'Auto newspaper, the Tour may not be the favourite stage race of the cycling cognoscenti but it is one that captures the imagination of the wider sporting public. As a result, the race is the biggest annual sporting event in the world with more live spectators than even the Olympic Games or Fifa World Cup. When does the Tour de France start? Just like the rest of the global sporting calendar, the Tour has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and has subsequently switched from its traditional slot in July to the end of the summer. This year's race began in Nice, on Saturday August 29, 2020. How long is this year's Tour de France? The total distance of the race is 3,470km — or 2,156 miles in old money. After setting off from Nice with two stages, including a tough second day which includes almost 3,700 metres of vertical climbing, there follows summit finishes on the Orcieres-Merlette and Mont Aigoual on stages five and six before the race heads towards the Pyrenees.
Following a rest day in La Rochelle there are some flatter stages but it is a brief intermission before the race heads towards the Alps via the Massif Central once more. Stage 15 takes the riders out of Lyon and over the Selle de Fromental and Col de la Biche to the summit of the Grand Colombier. The queen stage follows the second rest day, 168km between Grenoble and the newly-built cycling route to the summit of the Col de la Loze. Just one time trial features — on stage 20 — which concludes atop the Planche des Belles Filles climb after passing through Thibaut Pinot's village. During the race presentation in Paris last year, the Frenchman who will carry the hopes of the host nation on his fragile shoulders, said: "It's a wonderful course, I'm already looking forward to it. We're going to pass my village, that will be special."
And when does the Tour de France finish? The race is due to conclude a little over three weeks after setting off from Nice with the largely processional 21st stage from Mantes-la-Jolie to Paris (Champs-Élysées) on Sunday September 20. Where does each stage start and end?
How can I follow the race? Those with subscriptions to Eurosport are in luck, the self-styled 'home of cycling' will be broadcasting every day, live, all the way from Nice to Paris, while the recently-launched GCN Race Pass app will also be showing the action. Broadcast times and the daily highlights programmes will be shown at different times each day. Terrestrial channels ITV and S4C, too, will also be broadcasting the action live. Alternatively, you can stay abreast of all the action right here with Telegraph Sport. All of the 21 stages will be live blogged by our team, while each evening we will publish full race details and standings along with our post-race analysis.
What teams will ride the Tour de France? As with all WorldTour races, each of the 19 teams that make up the top-flight of professional cycling receive an invite and in the case of the Tour de France, all teams are contracted to race.
In addition to WorldTour teams, race organisers ASO handed wildcard spots to three Professional Continental squads, and so Arkéa-Samsic, B&B Hotels-Vital Concept p/b KTM and Total Direct Énergie will also be there. By John MacLeary