The 2018 Tour de France will follow a clockwise course this year. Starting in Atlantic France, the race features three main regions: the Atlantic northwest; Alps, and then Pyrenees. This is the first time in almost four years the race’s final (and often decisive) stages will take place in the Pyrenees along the Franco-Spanish border. In keeping with a modern tradition created by race president Christian Prudhomme, a final individual time trial (Stage 20) near Biarritz will likely decide who wins the coveted yellow jersey. Unlike last year, during which the race visited Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, this year’s stages will remain firmly on French territory other than a brief dip through Spain during stage 16. Spyns Tour de France tours has always focused on the final race stages and Paris finish. Here is a video detailing the stages you’ll see on our various tours:
The final four stages before Paris, stages 16 through 20, spin through the Pyrenees in an east-west direction and feature such epic climbs as Aubisque, Soulor, and Tourmalet to name a few. The regional capital of Pau will once again be featured in the 2018 race as site of the stage 18 finish. Pau has hosted TDF stages a staggering 103 times, making it the most frequent host city after Paris of course. Above is a video showing the kind of stage viewings you can expect with us.
Race director Christian Prudhomme seems to have taken inspiration from the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana by searching out steeper, little-known climbs and reducing stage distances. He also called on the UCI to allow him to reduced team sizes to end what he called a ‘catenaccio’ racing style.
2017 Tour de France winner Chris Froome was in Paris for the route presentation. “Tough,” Froome said when asked of his reaction to the route. “It’s definitely going to be a climbers’ race from what I can tell. It’s very light on time trial kilometres but that’s all part of the race and that’s something I’m going to have to focus my training on, being the best I can be on the climbs”.
“Certainly, from my first reaction there were quite a few stages going up over 2,000 metres. The Izoard goes up to 2,300 metres; that’s going to be an absolute beast of a stage. Initial feelings are that it’s going to be a race that is won or lost in the mountains. Of course, it’s the Tour and anything can happen so we have to be ready for all eventualities.”
Richie Porte said: “It’s quite a balanced course. There’s not a lot of time trialling but there is quite a bit of climbing but descending to the finish as well. There’s a lot of stages in between there with cross winds. I think it’s typical to stand here now and say that it’s not a climber’s Tour but the road will always decide that.”
Spyns is thrilled about this return to the Pyrenees. Why? Compared to the Alps, the Pyrenees generally have better road access perhaps because the mountains are smaller. The crowds also tend to be smaller and more manageable in the Pyrenees as the mountain range is more isolated and borders just two countries: France and Spain. TDF crowds in the Alps tend to number in the hundreds of thousands as the stages attract Swiss, Italian, Dutch, and German race fans.