• Tour de France boss Christian Prudhomme announcing the 2019 race route. (Getty)Source: Getty
The 2019 edition of the Tour de France will be the most mountainous in its history, with 30 climbs along the 3,460km route set over 21 stages and two rest days.
Cycling Central

25 Oct 2018 - 10:14 PM  UPDATED 26 Oct 2018 - 9:46 AM

Starting in Brussels, Belgium on Saturday 6 July and finishing Sunday 28 July in Paris the race will feature iconic climbs like the Col du Tourmalet, La Planche des Belles Filles, the Col d'Izoard, the Col du Galibier and the Montee de Tignes.

"This is the highest Tour in history," Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said. "The planning here means it is impossible to win this Tour unless you are a great climber.

"There are also time bonuses at strategic climb points to encourage riders to attack at key moments, with the hope that someone will make a bid for a stage win and even the yellow jersey where you might not expect that."

The 2019 edition will mark the 50th anniversary of Belgian great Eddy Merckx's first win of five and the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the fabled yellow jersey first worn by Eugene Christophe in 1919.

It will be the fifth Grand Depart in Belgium and the second in Brussels and Tour de France general director Christian Prudhomme said it was a fitting way to mark the feats of Merckx.

"When we heard of Brussels' application for the Tour de France, the idea of Grand Depart soon sprung to mind," he said.

"Brussels, the capital of Belgium, the European capital and Eddy Merxck's city. We had to start from city where this man was born. He was the yellow jersey's greatest symbol... It was obvious."

The peloton will tackle cobbles on the Mur de Grammont in the opening loop stage on Saturday July 6, a 192km ride starting and ending in Belgium's capital after visiting Charleroi.

A 27km team time trial takes place in the city the next day.

The race then heads into France from Binche to Epernay in a 214km stage three. The route hugs the border with Germany, bringing the Tour to the east of the country after the early stages were along the west coast of France last year.

Riders then head south and into the Pyrenees where a 27km individual time trial will take place in Pau on July 19, the exact day of the 100-year anniversary of the yellow jersey.

The final rest day will be in Nimes three days later before three Alpine stages which includes the Col d'Iseran, the highest paved road in Europe at 2,770m.

The winner will likely be decided by the end of stage 20 on the final 33.4km climb up to Val Thorens, before the 106th Tour culminates in its usual grand finale on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 28, setting off from Rambouillet.

The total race distance is set to be 3460km with seven mountain stages and five altitude finishes.

Team Sky's defending champion Geraint Thomas said he believed the route was not just a climbers course but one suited to a complete rider.

"It's always hard. It's the Tour de France," he said. "There's a lot of climbs over 2,000 metres of altitude and I seem to perform well at that height, so I like it.

"It will suit the usual Tour rider. a well-rounded rider with a balanced team. You've got to be able to climb, you need a strong team around you, there's a lot of medium mountain stages, and then there's the time trial in Pau, which will be crucial."

La Course by Le Tour de France will see the women's peloton do battle on the time-trial route in Pau for five laps and 120km total. A course which should suit the more explosive riders.

WATCH: Tour de France 2019 Map

Stages of the 2019 Tour de France

July 6 Stage 1: Brussels-Brussels (192km)
July 7 Stage 2: Brussels-Brussels (27km team time-trial)
July 8 Stage 3: Binche-Epernay (214km)
July 9 Stage 4: Reims-Nancy (215km)
July 10 Stage 5: Saint-Die-des-Voges-Colmar (169km)
July 11 Stage 6: Mulhouse-Planche des Belles Filles (157km)
July 12 Stage 7: Belfort-Chalon-sur-Saone (230km)
July 13 Stage 8: Macon-Saint-Etienne (199km)
July 14 Stage 9: Saint-Etienne-Brioude (170km)
July 15 Stage 10: Saint-Flour-Albi (218km)
July 16 Rest Day 1
July 17 Stage 11: Albi-Toulouse (167km)
July 18 Stage 12: Toulouse-Bagneres-de-Bigorre (202km)
July 19 Stage 13: Pau-Pau (27km individual time-trial)
July 20 Stage 14: Tarbes-Tourmalet (117km)
July 21 Stage 15: Limoux-Foix (185km)
July 22 Rest Day 2
July 23 Stage 16: Nimes-Nimes (177km)
July 24 Stage 17: Pont du Gard-Gap (206km)
July 25 Stage 18: Embrun-Valloire (207km)
July 26 Stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne-Tignes (123km)
July 27 Stage 20: Albertville-Val Thorens (131km)
July 28 Stage 21: Rambouillet-Paris (127km)


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