The route of the opening two days of the 2020 Tour de France has been announced in Nice today, with the Cote d’Azur city hosting the start and finish of the first two stages of the race.
While the 170-kilometre Stage 1 on Saturday 27 June may appear to have a saw toothed profile, organisers ASO expect it to end in a bunch sprint.
The climb up from the coast to the 498-metre summit of the Cote d’Aspremont, tackled three times, unfolds over the course of 17 kilometres, and with 30 kilometres left after the road bottoms out at the foot of the day’s final summit, there’s ample time for any breakaway to be reeled in.
The second day, covering 190 kilometres is a different proposition entirely, bringing with it two big climbs – the Col de la Colmiane, which has an average gradient of 6.2 per cent over its 16.7 kilometres, with its summit at 1,500 metres above sea level.
That’s followed by the 1,607-metre Col de Turini, 14.9 kilometres in length and averaging 7.3 per cent, with the summit coming with a little more than 90 kilometres remaining.
Ahead of the first passage of the finish line on the Promenade des Anglais, the peloton will tackle a climb familiar from Paris-Nice – the relatively short but punchy Col d’Eze, with 7.8 kilometres at 7 per cent – then head back out for the Col des Quatre Chemins, its 338-metre summit crested with just 9 kilometres remaining.
ASO will be hoping that the second stage will see the General Classification contenders come to the fore and battle it out for the yellow jersey – although equally, depending on the composition of any breakaway groups, it could be a day when they decide to mark one another and let a rider who is unlikely to figure in the overall standings come Paris take the jersey.
The 2020 Grand Depart takes place on the weekend of 27 and 28 June and will be the second time the race has started in Nice – the previous occasion being in 1981, when eventual overall winner Bernard Hinault won a 6-kilometre Prologue.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.