The race starts on 5th July and is made up of 21 stages over a total distance of 3,664 kilometres. This year it starts in Yorkshire, makes its way to London. They fly to France, continues on taking a minor detour in to Belgium, then on down to the French Alps, on into the Pyranees where it skirts into Spain, down from the mountains to Bergerac where the individual TT is held after all that mountain climbing!!! then they fly up to Paris for the grand finale on the Champs-Élysées on 27th July. Bells & whistles!
The races comprises 9 flat stages, 5 hill stages (I think Jebel Hafeet would be considered ‘a hill’ in the Tour), 6 mountain stages with 5 altitude finishes – up to 2360m, there’s 3 days of climbing through the Alps (stage 10, 13 & 14) and 3 days in the Pyrenees (stage 16, 17 & 18).
There’s 1 individual time trial stage (stage 20) is a 54km TT on what I suspect would be tired legs after all those mountain climbs in the preceding days, however Stage 19 is c.200km of relative flatness.
There are 2 well deserved rest days over the course of the race – they ride for 10 days, then have a day off, then ride another 5 days, day off, and complete the remaining 6 stages.
Phil Liggett and his offsider Paul Sherwin are the voices of cycling, in particular Liggett who is famed for his Tour de France commentary, with colourful expressions about riders or racing conditions with often literary overtones, providing a tourists guide to France along the way.