For the second time in a row, France Télévisions will produce images of all 21 stages of the Tour de France in its entirety. Eurosport will offer the race across Europe, with more than 40 other broadcasters involved in showing the race across the world. A thorough list is available at letour.fr.
The TDF will experiment this season with a different concept for the attribution of bonus seconds: there will be bonuses only at stages one to nine -except for the Cholet TTT-. 10-6-4″ will be up for grabs at every finish – plus, a bonus sprint (diverse from the intermediate sprints, only counting for the green jersey; it will be clearly differentiated at the profiles, with a yellow icon), always close to the end of the stage, will offer 3-2-1″ to the top three over the line. There won’t be any bonuses after the first rest day.
We take advantage of this section to offer some additional links, which cover the stage categories and the three rankings depending on those: the green points jersey, the polka dot KOM jersey and the outside time limits (missing in the latter: 25% for the ITT, 30% for the TTT).
Riders aiming at the white jersey of best young rider must have been born after 1st January 1993. Lastly, the team time trial will seen times for all teams registered when the fourth rider from each squad crosses the finish.
Our website features a dedicated section on the squad’s Tour de France history. 7 overall wins, 32 stages, 7 GC podiums and 4 team GC victories have been obtained by Eusebio Unzué’s squad, reaching its 36th appearance in the ‘Grande Boucle’ in 2018.
Bringing all of their top riders to the Tour de France. The Movistar Team will line up at the 105th edition of the biggest stagerace in the UCI WorldTour which what could arguably be, rider by rider, the strongest roster which Eusebio Unzué’s squads have brought to the ‘Grande Boucle’. Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa will lead an eight-man squad which hopes to offer their fans and their title sponsor Telefónica a victory in Paris, twelve years after their last success to date.
For the third time in thirteen years (2005, 2011), the TDF will depart from Vendée and cover its first six stages near the coast, in the regions of Pays-de-la-Loire and Brittany. Two days surely very nervous, finishing at Fontenay-le-Comte (201km, Saturday 7th; long sections along the coast) and La Roche-sur-Yon (182.5km, Sunday 8th), will open the action in a race whose first real time gaps will be created really early, at a 35.5km team time trial (Monday 9th) in Cholet, which includes some gentle slopes plus the more serious Côte de la Seguinière, nine kilometers from the end.
The stages in Brittany -days four, five and six- won’t be easy because of the wind, the nerves still high in the first week of the race and the numerous little hills along the way. Actually, two of the three will finish uphill: those at Quimper (Wednesday 11th), a real classic’s profile with five rated ascents and lots of climbing in the second half of stage five, and the arrival to Mûr-de-Bretagne (Thursday 12th), already used in 2011 and 2015.
Two flatter stages towards the interior -ending at Chartres and Amiens, on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th- will lead the Tour towards the most worrisome stage for many riders: the brutal cobblestones towards Roubaix (Sunday 15th), fifteen sections and a combined 21km which mimically replicate most of the final route in the ‘Queen of the Classics’. The GC will have been probably, dramatically transformed after this stage, prior to the first rest day – and all of the mountains still remaining in this year’s Tour.
The Alps stages in the 2018 ‘Grande Boucle’ (days ten to twelve in the programme; Tuesday 17th – Thursday 19th) will take on traditional climbs while also exploring new places. Actually, the first stage in this block of the race -158km from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand- will offer a big novelty with the dirt section of the Plateau des Glières, first ‘hors categorie’ climb in the race with its six kilometers at a brutal 11.2% average. Following a long flat section, the consecutive ascents of Romme (Cat-1) and Colombière (Cat-1) are likely to shake things up and make for the climbers’ first real attacks.
The TDF, following up on a successful path first built by the Vuelta, will test a shorter route on Wednesday 18th, just 108 km with the grueling Bisanne (HC), Pré (HC), Cormet de Roselend (Cat-2) and La Rosière (Cat-1), a carbon copy of the penultimate stage in the Critérium du Dauphiné. Ending the Alpine trio, a route longer (175km) and more traditional, with legendary climbs: Madeleine (HC), the Lacets de Montvernier (Cat-2), the Croix-de-Fer (HC) from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and finish up the most famous ascent in the world, Alpe d’Huez (HC).
Before the second rest day and the Pyrenees, the Tour will briefly touch the Massif Central with another classic finish up Mende (Cat-2), on Saturday 21st, and also visit an Occitan summit which is far from the main mountain range, yet will be very interesting: the Pic de Nore (Cat-1), on Sunday 22nd. From Carcassonne to Paris there will be no respite, since this year’s Pyrenees stages cover almost the entirety of the five days remaining before the Champs-Élysées.
It will be, in fact, a ‘2+1’ combo of mountains in this last block of the Tour de France, a flat stage -finishing at Pau on day eighteen, Thursday 26th- located in between the decisive climbs of the race. Stage 16 (Tuesday 24th) will mark the race’s only visit to Spain this year, with Portet d’Aspet (Cat-2) and Menté (Cat-1) prior to crossing the border towards Lérida and climbing the Portillon (Cat-1) before a short descent to Bagnères-de-Luchon – for a very tough 218km. The two length extremes will be explored in 48 hours, as the innovative, shocking stage 17 (Wednesday 25th) will be 65km (!!) short -it’s a road stage, not a TT-; include a start grid, as in mountain bike or cyclo-cross races; and feature no flat roads, over Peyragudes (Cat-1), Val Louron (Cat-1) and the finish in the Portet (HC).
Before Paris, two demanding stages could become even more decisive than everything covered until then. Friday 27th will see the peloton take on arguably the Queen stage, together with the Huez one: six ascents and 200km from Lourdes to Laruns, with Aspin (Cat-1) and the Tourmalet (HC) halfway through and a terrible finale over Bordères (Cat-2) and Soulor + Aubisque (HC), before a final 20km downhill. Finally, on Saturday 28th, the only individual time trial of this year’s TDF: a hilly route, even including a 900-meter ascent at 10% before the end, on roads of the French Basque Country, from Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle to Espelette (31km).