2015 Tour de France guide - Follow Britain's cyclists

2015 Tour de France guide - Follow Britain's cyclists

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Our stage-by-stage guide details the route and will follow race as it unfolds, from Utrecht to Paris via 21 stunning and varied stages.

Each day we've got top tips on how to deal with the kind of terrain that the pros will face, helping you to ride and race smarter.

We also pick out the British riders to look out for on each stage and chart their progress from the Prologue to Champs-Elysee.

Stage 1: Utrecht - Utrecht
4 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 1 profile


Stage synopsis: The pan-flat 13.8-kilometre individual time trial in cycling-centric Utrecht will give the general classification contenders an immediate chance to impact the yellow jersey competition. While the specialists may prevail on the day, those with their eye on the three-week long prize will be keen to get their 2015 Tour off to a solid start in the Netherlands.

Brits to watch: Four-time British time trial champion Alex Dowsett will relish the opportunity to vindicate his maiden Tour selection with a good performance in Utrecht and the total elevation gain of just two metres will suit the flatland powerhouse from Essex.

Tip of the day: Inspired by the prologue? Give your club 10-mile TT a go

Stage 2: Utrecht - Zelande
5 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 2 profile

Stage synopsis: The opening road stage takes riders from the Grand Depart city to the flat, windswept coastal area of Zeeland, finishing at the spectacular artificial island of Neeltje Jans. General classification challengers will need to be wary of splits in the field caused by crosswinds that famously ravage this low-lying area.

Brit to watch: If it comes down to a bunch gallop watch out for Mark Cavendish, who will be keen to capitalise on the race’s first flat finish on the Zeeland sea bridge.

Tip of the day: North Sea winds could mean echelons - learn how Racesmart in the wind

Stage 3: Anvers - Huy
6 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 3 profile

Stage synopsis: Stage three and the race quits Holland for Belgium for 159.5 lumpy kilometres in classics terrain finishing on the iconic Mur de Huy, a staple of the Fleche-Wallone. With four categorised climbs before the Huy-top finish it is a day that demands respect for riders with eyes on stage or overall victory.

Brit to watch: Geraint Thomas will be right at home in classics country but his Team Sky leader Chris Froome may need to show his colours if rivals choose to attack on the famous finish.

Tip of the day: Tackling steep climbs

Stage 4: Seraing - Cambrai
7 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 4 profile

Stage synopsis: The classics theme continues – in terms of parcours and duration, with a testing 223.5 kilometres taking in seven Paris-Roubaix cobbled sectors, starting in Belgium and entering France for the first time. The classics men will lap it up, while the general classification contenders will hope to merely finish without incident.

Brit to watch: Chris Froome – the 2013 winner was forced to abandon before the going got tough on last year’s Roubaix-inspired stage, while eventual winner Vincenzo Nibali was inspired. Froome will need a strong and problem-free passage if he is to mount his challenge in the hills later in the race.

Tip of the day: Riding the cobbles

Stage 5: Arras Communaute Urbaine / Amiens Metropole
8 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 5 profile

Stage synopsis: Starting in Pas de Calais and ending in the Somme, the parcours of the 189.5-kilometre fifth stage is likely to favour a break. However the sprinters’ teams will be loath to pass up the prospect of a bunch finish into Amiens.

Brit to watch: For Mark Cavendish it will be a second opportunity to add to his prolific tally of Tour de France stage wins, while Chris Froome will look to stay safe and in touch for another day.

Tip of the day: How to hold your position in the bunch

Stage 6: Abbeville – Le Havre
9 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 6 profile

Stage synopsis: Like stage two, wind may prove to be a major protagonist on the road from Abbeville to the coastal town of Le Havre. With the route hugging the coast from Dieppe to the finish, teams will need to be wary of splits and with three fourth-category climbs en-route, proceedings will be tough to control.

Brit to watch: A stage that will attract teams with no GC pretentions so MTN-Qhubeka’s Steve Cummings may fancy his chances in the break on the road to Le Havre.

Tip of the day: How to position yourself for the sprint

Stage 7: Livarot – Fougeres
10 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 7 profile

Stage synopsis: The 190.5-kilometre stage cuts a south westerly route across the heart of Brittany and should be another opportunity for the sprinters and the breakaway merchants to shine. And with just one fourth-category climb near the start, there’s little to disrupt their rhythm.

Brit to watch: The sprint into Fougeres will be well studied by Mark Cavendish’s Etixx – Quick Step team, who will hope to deliver more stage success for the 2011 world champion.

Tip of the day: Racesmart - How to sprint

Stage 8: Rennes – Mur-de-Bretagne
11 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 8 profile

Stage synopsis: The second Breton stage starts near the birthplace of three-time Tour de France winner Louison Bobet and there is a chance that 2015’s general classification hopefuls will break cover and steal valuable seconds on the stage’s third category summit finish of Mur-de-Bretagne.

Brit to watch: Ghris Froome has tested his legs before on minor hilltop finishes before, prior to getting into the mountains proper, as have his yellow jersey rivals. Also look for Steve Cummings and the Yates brothers, whose teams may target breakaway opportunities on rolling terrain.

Tip of the day: How to ride rolling roads

Stage 9: Vannes - Plumelec
12 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 9 profile

Stage synopsis: A team time trial with a difference – the 28-kilometre effort against the clock finishes with an ascent of the Cote de Cadoudal. Although not a categorised climb, the gradient may shake up the results sheet and if overall margins are tight, swing the general classification honours towards the team that can hold it together on a tough finish.

Brit to watch: Although the lumpy profile isn’t what Movistar’s Alex Dowsett would order up, he’ll be instrumental in producing a good team effort against the clock to protect team leader Nairo Quintana’s yellow jersey ambitions.

Tip of the day: Aero gains for all

Rest day
13 July

Tip of the day: Maximise your post-ride recovery

Stage 10: Tarbes – La Pierre Saint-Martin
14 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 10 profile

Stage synopsis: The peloton will need the previous day’s rest in Pau as the race enters the Pyrenees and heads for its first haute-categorie climb, the summit finish of the Col de Soudet. If the general classification men have not bared their teeth thus far, someone surely must on the steep 1610-metre ascent.

Brit to watch: Chris Froome excels on summit finishes, more so when the climbs are long and super steep. Expect British teammates Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh to help deliver the 2013 champion to the foot of this brutal looking ramp, the first of many in a few days in the Pyrenees.

Tip of the day: Tackling long climbs

Stage 11: Pau - Cauterets
15 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 11 profile

Stage synopsis: Day two in the Pyrenees features a figurative and literal giant of Tour lore – the 2115-metre haute categorie Col du Tourmalet, two of six categorised climbs crammed into 188 kilometres of racing. A big day for the general classification men and a dog day for the sprinters.

Brit to watch: The day will evoke memories for Geraint Thomas, who led the race over the Tourmalet back in 2011 (and crashed twice on the descent). But with a general classification contender to protect this time, the Welshman may not be allowed such latitude in 2015.

Tip of the day: Dressing for the mountains

Stage 12: Lannemezan - Plateau de Beille
16 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 12 profile

Stage synopsis: With tired legs after two hard days in the hills, the 195-kilometre epic to Plateau de Beille will be brutal, culminating in the haute-categorie climb to the resort, famous in both the skiing and cycling worlds.

Brit to watch: Up front, Plateau de Beille should be another chance for Froome to hit out at the yellow jersey competitors.

Tip of the day: How to descend

Stage 13: Muret - Rodez
17 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 13 profile

Stage synopsis: The race quits the Pyrenees for the Haute Garonne region but doesn’t completely say goodbye to the hills, with three categorised climbs packed into the final stages of this 198.5-kilometre stage. The stage should favour sprinters who can get over the lumpy stuff, but in the past few editions, similar stages have seen audacious moves by yellow jersey wearers and challengers alike.

Brit to watch: British twins riding for an Australian team, the Yates brothers excel in hilly terrain and may be let off the leash to exploit this opportunists' stage.

Tip of the day: How to choose the right time to attack

Stage 14: Rodez - Mende
18 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 14 profile

Stage synopsis: Another hilly stage and one with a cruel finish. The three-kilometre, 10-percent-plus gradient of Cote de la Croix Neuve will test the legs of the best climbers. Expect a break but also don't be surprised if the GC challengers try to grab precious seconds on the run into Mende.

Brit to watch: If Froome is in yellow here he will need to watch his back while British fans shouldn’t be surprised to see Dauphine white jersey winner Simon Yates in the thick of the action.

Tip of the day: How to set up a breakaway

Stage 15: Mende - Valence
19 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 15 profile

Stage synopsis: Despite four categorised climbs on the way, the 183-kilometre schlep from Mende to Valence via the windy Rhone valley is predicted to be a sprinters’ stage. However the lumpy start to the fifteenth stage may provide an ideal breakaway opportunity.

Brit to watch: With clear cut sprint finish opportunities at a premium, Mark Cavendish will be keen to capitalise before the race heads to the Alps.

Tip of the day: How to chase down a breakaway

Stage 16: Bourg-de-Peage - Gap
20 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 16 profile

Stage synopsis: The stage before the second rest day could be one where the breakaway succeeds. A rising profile sees the race enter the alpine foothills, with the second category climbs of Col de Cabre and Col de Manse coming in the latter half of its 201 kilometres, before the descent to Gap.

Brit to watch: Team Sky will need to keep their leader out of trouble on this unpredictable day with the challenge of the Alps looming after the rest day.

Tip of the day: Cycling nutrition for long rides

Rest day
21 July

Tip of the day: Haven't got a soigneur?! Try our foam roller routine

Stage 17: Digne-les-Bains – Pra Loup
22 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 17 profile

Stage synopsis: The first day in the Alps pulls no punches with the first category 2250-metre climb of Col d’Allos followed by a steep descent, before the steep uphill finish at Pra Loup. Four categorised climbs in total will once again bring the climbers and the GC men to the fore.

Brit to watch: Amid the GC contenders, watch out for Orica GreenEdge’s Simon Yates on the final climb to Pra Loup.

Tip of the day: Improve your ascending with our climbing 101

Stage 18: Gap - Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
23 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 18 profile

Stage synopsis: While the haute-categorie Col du Glandon is the pinnacle of this relentless mountain stage it is Lacets de Montvernier that everyone will talk about. While a lowly second-category ascent, the snaking 18-bend climb just 10 kilometres from the finish is sure to be the photo opportunity and the place to launch a late attack.

Brit to watch: If Mr Froome is in yellow it’s another day when he will need to watch his back.

Tip of the day: Lose weight and improve your climbing

Stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne - La Toussuire - Les Sybelles
24 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 19 profile

Stage synopsis: Another day in the Alps and another haute categorie climb – this time the iconic Col de la Croix de Fer – the cross of iron. Two more climbs follow, the Col du Mollard followed by the finale up to the 1705-metre finish at La Toussuire.

Brit to watch: The climb to La Toussuire is 18-kilometres long at an average grade of 6.1 percent, classic Chris Froome territory. However it’s also classic territory for his rivals…

Tip of the day: How to descend in a line

Stage 20: Modane - Alpe d’Huez
25 July

Stage synopsis: Originally scheduled to take in the mighty Galibier and Telegraphe climbs, stage 20 revisits the Cole de la Croix de Fer – 29 kilometres long with an average gradient of 5.2 percent. The final, hairpin-festooned climb to Alpe d’Huez needs no introduction and should set up a massive battle for stage and general classification triumph.

Brit to watch: The double climb of Alpe d’Huez in 2013 saw Chris Froome extend his general classification lead, despite incurring a 20 second penalty for accepting food from teammate Ritchie Porte within the final 20 kilometres. Froome will be keen to avoid such penalties this time around, with only the final ceremonial gallop in Paris to complete.

Tip of the day: Sportive tips - eating and drinking on the day

Stage 21: Sèvres - Grand Paris Seine Ouest - Paris Champs-Élysées
26 July

2015 Tour de France - Stage 21 profile

Stage synopsis: A ceremonial stage for the yellow jersey winner and the biggest prize in sprinting for the fast twitch men. To complete the finale around the centre of Paris is the dream of every road cyclist – to wear yellow or win the Champs-Elysees gallop is as good as it gets.

Brit to watch: Every British cycling fan will hope that Chris Froome will circle Paris in yellow on the final Sunday, as much as they will want to see Mark Cavendish rekindle his dominance of the Parisian sprint. And if the Yates brothers are still on the start list, the Bury twins will celebrate their first Tour de France completion, as will Team Sky and Movistar debutantes Luke Rowe and Alex Dowsett.

Tip of the day: Inspired by Le Tour - give road racing a try yourself

How to watch the 2015 Tour de France

  • Live coverage will be available on ITV4 each day
  • Highlights will also appear on ITV4 each evening from 7:00-8:00pm (except the final day, when they will be broadcast from 9:00-10:00pm)
  • Go to ITV.com’s Tour de France home for full schedule information
  • Live coverage and highlights are also available on Eurosport

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