Criterium Cycles | Le Tour de France 2018
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Le Tour de France 2018

The greatest of them all

 

On Saturday 7th July, Stage 1 of the 105th Edition of the Tour de France begins in Noirmoutier en l’Ile starting 3 weeks of racing over 21 stages covering some 3351 km. A combination of flat, hilly, mountain and time trial stages make this the one they all want to win.

Will Chris Froome win a record equalling 5th title or will there be a new kid on the block?
Criterium Cycles Le Tour de France on Champs Elysees Paris

So many icons

What is it that makes Le Tour de France such an iconic race? Perhaps it’s the route – always spectacular involving mountain stages in the Alps and the Pyrenees. Maybe it’s the signature climbs etched in legend; Mont Ventoux, Alpe d’Huez, Col du Tourmalet and Col du Galibier to name 4 of the most iconic. Maybe it’s the legends of the race, some revered, some more challenging in terms of their place in history. Maybe it’s partly the fact that the French have always seen it as their race but no Frenchman has won it since Bernard Hinault in 1985 (whereas there have been 5 British wins in the last 6 years)?

A brutal test

What’s definitely true is that it is a brutal test of man, machine, team and talent. And sheer guts. Some of the climbs on this year’s race are going to test even the most heroic of competitors. With 8 flat stages, 5 hilly stages, 6 mountain stages (and 3 altitude finishes), 1 individual time trial and 1 team time trial with just 2 rest days, the man that rides into Paris at the head of the General Classification in 3 weeks time will have passed the sternest of tests.

 

There are a total of 26 mountain climbs / altitude finishes this year in categories 2, 1 or HC. Frankly, it will be exhausting just to watch, never mind compete.

Criterium Cycles Tour de France Trek Segafredo warm down
Le Tour de France 2018 route map

Who will win?

The big news is that Chris Froome is cleared to ride after the UCI declared there was no case to answer and no adverse findings with respect to the samples taken at last year’s Vuelta. So will he make it a record equalling 5th win. Or will Vincenzo Nibali live up to his billing as most likely challenger? Will Nairo Quintana break his duck? What about Richie Porte and Tom Dumoulin, both terrific riders? And will Romain Bardet, the great French hope for a few years now, step up to the mark and make it a home win?

 

What’s for sure is that we will be commenting and blogging throughout the Tour offering an occasionally different view perhaps and making sure you are kept up to date with events as they unfold.