VIDEO: 2014 Tour de France route unveiled

The 2014 Tour de France will pass through the scene of some of the worst fighting of World War One next year, organisers revealed on Wednesday, as they unveiled a route, which will start in Yorkshire, northern England, that is likely to challenge champion Chris Froome.

VIDEO: 2014 Tour de France route unveiled
The 2014 Tour de France will take in the battlefields of World War One. Photo: AFP

One hundred years after the start of the Great War, cycling's most famous race will pay tribute to the millions killed in one of history's bloodiest conflicts, visiting towns and countryside devastated by four years of fighting.

Stage five starts in Ypres, in the Flanders region of western Belgium, which was the scene of sustained and intensive fighting between German and Allied forces.

Stages six and seven visit Arras, the Chemin des Dames, Verdun and Douaumont – all sites of key battles and home to memorials to the fallen – and a finish in Reims, in Champagne country, where French kings were once crowned.

The cycling tribute comes amid commemorations across France, Europe and the rest of the world to the conflict that helped shape the violent history of the 20th century.


The 101st edition of the Tour de France overall includes six mountain stages with five summit finishes and a stage tackling the cobblestones that are the hallmark of the Paris-Roubaix classic.

There is also just one time-trial for the first time since the 1950s, all of which will provide defending champion Chris Froome with a tough test in a race likely to favour climbers.

Kenya-born Briton Froome, who rides for Team Sky, revealed recently that he was not looking forward to reports of a cobbled stage and was hoping for a maximum amount of time-trials to favour him over more adept, smaller, lighter climbers.

Froome retained the title for Britain in the Tour's 100th edition last year after compatriot Bradley Wiggins became the country's first-ever winner in 2012.

British cycling fans will be hoping for a third, straight win for the nation, particularly as the race starts on July 5 in the northern English city of Leeds and includes two opening stages in the county of Yorkshire.

The peloton will head to mainland Europe on July 8 after a third stage from the historic university city of Cambridge in eastern England with a finish outside Queen Elizabeth II's London residence Buckingham Palace.

★ OFFICIAL 2014 TOUR DE FRANCE ROUTE ★ RT if you like it. #TDF

— Le Tour De France (@letour) October 23, 2013

Froome's potential challengers next year are likely to be 2013 King of the Mountains Nairo Quintana, Giro D'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali and two-time Tour champion Alberto Contador.

The penultimate stage, a 54-kilometre (33.5-mile) test against the clock between Bergerac and Perigueux in the southwestern Dordogne region, could provide Froome with his last chance to overhaul the climbers before they arrive in Paris.

"Time-trials provide greater time gaps than the mountains, sometimes insurmountable ones," explained Tour director Christian Prudhomme.

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"Having the time-trial at the end is so the climbers don't have to chase but can ride in front and not become demoralised."

Froome and the rest of the peloton will get an early indication of the hard work ahead in the final 30km of the second stage from York to Sheffield, which organisers described as a "British version of Liege-Bastogne-Liege".

Across the Channel, there will be little time to relax before the 156km fifth stage from Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut and more than 15km of cobblestones spread over nine different sections.

Stage seven, from Epernay to Nancy, is the longest, covering a gruelling 233km.

The first summit finishes come in the Vosges region with the 161km stage eight from Tomblaine to Gerardmer and then the return of La Planche des Belles Filles at the end of stage 10.

It was there on the final 20km ramp that Froome earnt his first stage victory in 2012 and the 161km stage, with a final 5.9km climb averaging a punishing 8.5 percent gradient, could shake up the race and suit the likes of punchy finisher Joaquim Rodriguez.

The first Alpine summit finish arrives on Stage 13 at Chamrousse at the end of 200km with an 18.2km climb averaging 7.3 percent.

The high Alps beckon the following day with a 177km stage that crests the Cols du Lautaret and D'Izoard before finishing on the Risoul.

Stages 17 and 18 are relatively short at 125km and 145km but have Pyreneen summit finishes at Saint-Lary-Soulan and Hautacam.

The time-trial comes a day before the survivors roll onto the Champs Elysees in Paris on July 26.

This video below is thanks to

Parcours 2014 en 3D / The 2014 route in 3D par tourdefrance


Stage 1: Saturday, July 5 – Leeds, England, to Harrogate, England, 191
kilometres (119 miles)
   Stage 2: Sunday, July 6 – York, England, to Sheffield, England, 198km
   Stage 3: Monday, July 7 – Cambridge, England, to London, 159km
   Stage 4: Tuesday, July 8 – Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Lille, 164km
   Stage 5: Wednesday, July 9 – Ypres, Belgium – Arenberg Porte du Hainault,
   Stage 6: Thursday, July 10 – Arras to Reims, 194km
   Stage 7: Friday, July 11 – Epernay to Nancy, 233km
   Stage 8: Saturday, July 12 – Tomblaine to Gerardmer, 161km
   Stage 9: Sunday, July 13 – Gerardmer to Mulhouse, 166km
   Stage 10: Monday, July 14 – Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles, 161km
   Rest day: Tuesday, July 15
   Stage 11: Wednesday, July 16 – Besancon to Oyonnax, 186km
   Stage 12: Thursday, July 17 – Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Etienne, 183km
   Stage 13: Friday, July 18 – Saint-Etienne to Chamrousse, 200km
   Stage 14: Saturday, July 19 – Grenoble to Risoul, 177km
   Stage 15: Sunday, July 20 – Tallard to Nimes, 222km
   Rest day: Monday, July 21
   Stage 16: Tuesday, July 22 – Carcassonne to Bagneres-de-Luchon, 237km
   Stage 17: Wednesday, July 23 – Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary-Soulan, 125km
   Stage 18: Thursday, July 24 – Pau to Hautacam, 145km
   Stage 19: Friday, July 25 – Mauborguet Pays du Val d'Adour to Bergerac,
   Stage 20: Saturday, July 26 – Bergerac to Perigueux, 54km individual
   Stage 21: Sunday, July 27 – Evry to Paris Champs-Elysees, 13

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Tour de France: Italian Nibali tightens grip

Italian Vincenzo Nibali won stage 18 of the Tour de France on Thursday to put him within touching distance of winning the overall race. By winning his fourth stage Nibali extended his lead over Frenchman Thibaut Pinot to more than seven minutes.

Tour de France: Italian Nibali tightens grip
Italian Vincenzo Nibali wins stage 18 to tighten grip on Tour de France title. Photo: AFP

Vincenzo Nibali confirmed his supremacy at the Tour de France with his fourth stage victory on Thursday.

The 29-year-old Italian won the 18th stage from Pau to the top of the Hautacam climb after 144.5km of mountainous terrain in the Pyrenees.

In doing so the Astana rider increased his overall lead to 7min 10sec ahead of Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, who was second on the stage at 1:10.

Pole Rafal Majka, the winner of two mountain stages, was third at 1:12 to secure victory in the King of the Mountains competition

Jean-Christophe Peraud made it two Frenchmen on the podium as he came home fourth at 1:15.

The 37-year-old is just 13sec behind Pinot and 2sec ahead of Alejandro Valverde, who had started the day second.

It means three riders are separated by just 15sec in the battle for second place, which should be decided on Saturday in the 54km time trial.

Although Pinot, 24, is second, he is widely regarded as the weakest of the three against the clock.

American Tejay Van Garderen came home fifth in the same time as Peraud to boost his chances of finishing in the top five overall.

He is sixth and trails 23-year-old Frenchman Romain Bardet by just over two minutes but the American is a far better timetriallist.

Yet Thursday's stage was all about Nibali's total domination as once again he gave a demonstration in the mountains

When he made his attack with 10km of climbing ahead he ate into loan leader  Mikel Nieve's advantage in no time and then simply rode away, gradually and steadily increasing the gap with every kilometre.

Preview: Thursday's unforgiving 144.5km stage 18 includes the behemoths of the Tourmalet and Hautacam mountains to climb, 

"Thursday will be a very hard day, especially after the last two days," said Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde the 34-year-old Movistar leader.

Meanwhile race leader Vincenzo Nibali even admitted he was riding within himself.

"My condition is very good and I'm ready to push right to the end but when I get to the end of a stage I'm not giving everything because I don't have to, and I've also had an eye on the next stage," said Nibali.

However, he admitted it would have been different had the best riders been there.

Reigning champion Chris Froome crashed out on the fifth stage with a broken hand and wrist while two-time former winner Alberto Contador broke his shinbone in a fall on the 10th stage on Bastille Day.

"If Chris Froome or Alberto were riding I would need to push much more but then I would also have to manage the race differently and play more of a waiting game," added the Astana team leader.

"When they attack they are more explosive so I would have to be careful.

"I have a lot of respect for these riders."

Here's a video preview of the stage from Global Cycling Network.