The world’s greatest cycling race, the Tour de France 2020, takes place this year in August, not the traditional June/July months due to Covid-19. It’s the 107th race.

Founded in 1903 by Henri Desgrange, the editor of L’Auto newspaper, it’s the third biggest sporting event in the world after the Olympic Games and the FiFa World Cup.

Chris Froome in yellow jersey in front with spectators cheering him on (very close) and motoc cyclists behind with headlights blazing
Chris Froome in the 2016 Tour de France (which he won) Photo: Konstantin Kleine CC BY-SA 4.0

The Tour de France attracts over 12 million spectators in a typical year’s race and 3.5 million TV viewers on a typical day’s coverage in 190 countries.

I’ve included the teams (so far) and at the end a few fun facts to impress your friends (unless they are real fans in which case you’ll be left behind!)

The Tour de France 2020 Route

Tour de France map 2020 showing route from Nice to Paris around France
Tour de France Map 2020

The 2020 Tour de France start (proudly named the Grand Départ) starts on Saturday, August 29 in Nice, with 176 riders taking part. It’s the second time Nice has hosted the start, the first was the 1981 Tour de France.  It ends in Paris on Sunday September 20. The Tour de France is gruelling, exciting and as dramatic.

Tour de France 2020 Stages

The Tour is made up of 23 stages and covers a total distance of 3470kms/2156miles. The 21 stages are made up of
8 flat stages
4 hill stages
8 mountain stages
1 individual mountain time-trial stage
2 rest days

Tour de France Stages
StageDateRouteDistanceStage Type
1Aug 29Nice to Nice170kms/106milesHilly
2Aug 30Nice to Nice190kms/118milesMedium mountain stage
3Aug 31Nice to Sisteron198kms/123milesHilly
4Sep 1Sisteron to Orcières-Merlette157kms/98milesHilly
5Sep 2Gap to Privas183kms/11emilesFlat
6Sep 3Le Teil to Mont Aigoul191kms/119milesHilly
7Sep 4Millau to Lavour168kms/104milesFlat
8Sep 5Cazères to Loudenvielle140kms/87milesMountain stage
9Sep 6Pau to Laruns154kms/96milesMountain stage
Sep 7Charente-Maritime0Rest day
10Sep 8Ȋle d’Oléron to Ȋle de Ré170kms/106milesFlat stage
11Sep 9Chatelaillon-Plage to Poitiers167kms/104milesFlat stage
12Sep 10Chauvigny to Sarran218kms/135milesHilly stage
13Sep 11Châtel-Guyon to Puy Mary/td>191kms/119milesMedium mountain stage
14Sep 12Clermont Ferrand to Lyon197kms/122milesFlat stage
15Sep 13Lyon to Grand Colombier175kms/109milesMountain stage
Sep 14Isère0Rest day
16Sep 15La Tour-du-Pin to Villard-de-Lans164kms/102milesMountain stage
17Sep 16Grenoble to Mèribel168kms/104milesMountain stage
18Sep 17Mèribel to La-Roche-sur-Foron168kms/104milesMountain stage
19Sep 18Bourg-en-Bresse to Champagnole160kms/99milesMountain stage
20Sep 19Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles36kms/22milesMountain time trial
21Sep 20Mantes-la-Jolie to Paris (Champs-Élysée)122kms/76milesFlat stage

The Teams

Tour de France 2018 with cyclist riding towards camera and man on right with Welsh flag
Tour de France 2018 with a Welsh flag waver. Must be Geraint Thomas coming up! Photo: Peter Edmonson CC BY-SA 2.0

There are nine riders in each team. Of the 22 teams, 6 are from France; 2 from the USA, 2 from Belgium, 2 from Germany. All the other countries are fielding one team: Australia, Bahrein, Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates.

Top cyclists in this year’s teams include Team Ineos with three former winners: defending champion Egan Bernal, and British cyclists Geraint Thomas (winner 2018) and four-time winner Chris Froome. This might be a problem!

Other strong contenders include Jumbo-Visma’s Steven Kruijswijk, third overall in 2019; and sprinters Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Julian Alaphilippe of Deceuninck-Quick-Step who was last year’s most exciting rider and Romain Bardet (AG2r La Mondiale). Two brothers, Dayer and the more famous Nairo Quintana are both riding for the Arkéa–Samsic team.

Tour de France Teams 2020

Cyclist lined up en masse for departure from Aix en Provence Tur de France 2013
2013 tour de France departure from Aix en Provence Photo: Okki CC BY-SA 2.5

These are the teams so far in alphabetical order. I’ll finalise them before the race.

AG2R La Mondiale (France): Romain Bardet; François Bidard; Mikael Cherel; Benoît Cosnefroy; Tony Gallopin; Anthony Gougeard; Pierre Latour; Oliver Naesen; Aurélien Paret-Peintre; Nans Peters; Clement Venturini; Alexis Vuillermoz

Arkèa-Samsic (France): Winner Anacona;Warren Barguil; Maxime Bouet; Anthony Delaplace; Thibaut Guernalec; Romain Hardy; Kevin Ledanois; Lukasz Owsian; Dayer Quintana; Nairo Quintana; Clement Russo; Diego Rosa; Connor Swift

Astana Pro Team (Kazakhstan): Miguel Ángel Lόpez; Alexey Lutsenko

Bahrain–McLaren (Bahrein): Pello Bilbao; Eros Cappechi; Damiano Caruso; Mark Cavendish; Sonny Colbrelli; Ivan Garcia Cortina; Marco Haller; Heinrich Haussler; Mikel Landa;  Matej Mohoric; Wout Poels; Dylan Teuns; Rafael Valls

B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM (France): Frederik Backaert; Cyril Barthe; Maxime Chevalier; BryanCoquard;  Jens Debusschere; Cyril Gauthier; Quentin Pacher; Pierre Rolland; Sebastian Schönberger.

Bora–Hansgrohe (Germany): Emanuel Buchmann; Felix Großschartner; Gregor Mühlberger; Lennard Kämna; Daniel Oss; Lukas Pöstlberger; Peter Sagan; Max Schachmann

CCC Team (Poland): Greg Van Avermaet

Cofidis (France): Jésus Herrada; Christophe Laporte; Guillaume Martin; Elia Viviani

Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Belgium): Julian Alaphilippe; Sam Bennett; Dries Devenyns; Bob Jungels

EF Pro Cycling (USA): Sergio Higuita; Rigoberto Urán

Groupama–FDJ (France): Stefan Küng; Thibaut Pinot

Ineos (Great Britain): Andrey Amador; Dylan Van Baarle; Egan Bernal; Jonathan Castroviejo; Chris Froome; Tao Geoghegan Hart; Michal Kwiatkowski; Luke Rowe; Geraint Thomas; Pavel Sivakov

Israel Start-Up Nation (Israel): Dan Martin

Lotto-Soudal (Belgium): Jasper De Buyst; Steff Cras; John Degenkolb; Caleb Ewan; Thomas De Gendt; Philippe Gilbert; Roger Kluge; Tim Wellens

Mitchelton–Scott (Australia): Esteban Chaves; Adam Yates;

Movistar (Spain): Enric Mas; Alejandro Valverde

NTT Pro Cycling (South Africa): Victor Campenaerts

Jumbo – Visma (Netherlands): Wout Van Aert; George Bennett; Tom Dumoulin; Robert Gesink; Sepp Kuss; Steven Kruijswijk; Tony Martin; Primož Roglič

Sunweb (Germany): Søren Kragh Andersen; Nikias Arndt; Tiesj Benoot; Cees Bol; Marc Hirschi; Joris Nieuwenhuis; Nicholas Roche; Jasha Sütterlin

Trek–Segafredo (USA): Niklas Eg; Kenny Ellisonde; Alex Kirsch; Bauke Mollema; Mads Pedersen; Richie Porte; Toms Skujins; Jasper Stuyven; Dylan Theuns

UAE Team Emirates (United Arab Emirates): Fabio Aru; Sven Erik Bystrøm; David De La Cruz; Davide Formolo; Alexander Kristoff; Marco Marcato; Jan Polanc; Tadej Pogačar

Total Direct Energie (France): Lillian Calmejane

Fun Facts about the Tour de France

Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish cycling in the Tour de France 2012; Wiggins in yellow jersey with huge pelathon behind them
Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish in Tour de France 2012 Photo: Josh Hallett CC BY-SA-2.0

The youngest rider is Maxime Chevalier from B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM  at 21 years old. The oldest rider is Alejandro Valverde – Movistar at 41 years old.   

Previous winners:

2019 Egan Bernal
2018 Geraint Thomas
2017 Chris Froome
2016 Chris Froome
2015 Chris Froome
2014 Vincenzo Nibali
2013 Chris Froome
2012 Bradley Wiggins
2011 Cadel Evans
2010 Andy Schleck

Four riders have managed to win the Tour five times:
Chris Froome (UK) 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017
Jacques Anquetil (France) 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964
Eddy Merckx (Belgium) 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1974
Bernard Hinault (France) 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985
Miguel Induráin (Spain) 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995

Three riders have won three times:
Philippe Thys (Belgium) 1913, 1914, 1920
Louison Bobet (France), 1953, 1054, 1955
Greg Lemond (USA) 1986, 1989, 1990

The record number of wins ever was seven by Lance Armstrong of the United States (1999-2005). But after being found guilty of doping by the USADA in 2012, he was stripped of all of these titles.

Other disqualifications after the winner has been caught out:
In 1904 the winner was stripped of his title after it was discovered that he had caught a train for part of the event
In 2006 Floyd Landis of the United States was found to have raised testosterone levels
In 2010 Alberto Contador was stripped of the win after investigations into his drug use.

What the jerseys mean and prize money

A total of around 2.3 million Euros will be awarded overall, including €500,000 to the overall winner of each individual classification.

Julian Alaphilippe in 2019 Tour de France picture of him head on leading group of around 7 cyclists. He is in yellow jersey
Julian Alaphilippe in 2019 Photo: 6. Chabe01 CC BY-SA 4.0

The Yellow Jersey (maillot jaune) is the overall winner of the race up to that point, awarded after each stage.
The Green Jersey is for the best sprinter. Points are awarded at the finish of each stage, and for an intermediate sprint in all normal stages.
The Red Polka Dot Jersey is for the best climber. Points are awarded at the summit of each hill and mountain and at altitude finishes.
The White Jersey is the best young rider (for riders who are no more than 25 years old in the year of the race).
The Red and White Stripe Jersey is for the most aggressive rider which is awarded at the end of each stage by cycling specialists.

Here’s the official website for the Tour de France 2020
Cycling News has exellent up-to-date information on the Tour de France 2020 (and is good on cycling generally)

Major events in August in France
Major events in September in France

More geographic information about France:

More about the regions of France
More about the mountains of France