Tour de France 2020 | Opening weekend preview

What’s the route for this year’s Tour de France and who are the favourites to win?

They say that good things come to those who wait – and wait we have. This weekend (a Bank Holiday no less!) the 107th edition of the Tour de France is set for the Grand Départ.

This year will be the first year since World War II that the world’s most prestigious cycle race hasn’t taken place in its usual June-July slot. This year, the best riders on the planet will line up for the first of this year’s Grand Tours on August 29th 2020, as the cycling calendar continues to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

So what is the route for the Tour de France this year? Who are the favourites and which riders won’t be taking part? We race through everything you need to know for a fascinating opening weekend of Le Tour!

Tour de France route 2020 - Where is the opening weekend taking place?

The Grand Départ of this year’s Tour de France will take place in beautiful Nice in the south of France. Temperatures are expected to be warm, although maybe not as hot as it could’ve been at the original schedule as the riders take on one of the toughest opening weekends of the Tour de France.

The 2020 Tour de France will run for 23 days until September 20th, where the riders will have covered around 2,156 gruelling miles altogether.

The Promenade des Anglais in Nice

The Promenade des Anglais in Nice where the riders will end Stage One.

Stage One, Saturday - Nice Moyen Pays – Nice (156km)

The Grand Départ 2020 takes in two circuits to the north of Nice. The first stage culminates on the famous Promenade des Anglais with a serious climb on the Côte de Rimiez. Expect the best performers to be sprinters who can push themselves through a decent climb.

Which rider should I be watching? The Italian Elia Viviani could do well here.

Stage Two, Sunday – Nice Haut Pays – Nice (186km)

This may be the hardest opening weekend stage in decades. This year’s Tour de France includes every one of the nations’ mountain ranges with over 29 climbs scheduled in. Stage Two sees the very first mountain climb as the organisers show no signs of going easy on the riders.

Which rider should I be watching? French native Julian Alaphilippe should feel at home here.

Stage Three, Monday, Nice – Sisteron, (198km)

It’s not all bad though. Stage Three sees a lovely scenic rush through towns such as Grasse and Digne les Bains. There are some small-ish climbs that the riders will have to traverse in the early stages, but a downhill 80km race to the finish means we could see some serious speed on Bank Holiday Monday.

Which rider should I be watching? All-out sprinters like the Australian Sam Bennett should take this in their stride.

2019 Tour de France winner Egan Bernal with Geraint Thomas

2019's Tour winner Egan Bernal wearing the yellow jersey alongside Welshman Geraint Thomas.

Who are the favourites to win the Tour de France?

The defending champion Egan Bernal is the bookies favourite to win the 2020 Tour de France. The Team Ineos Grenadiers man is one of the premier climbers in the world and is therefore around 5/2 to finish as overall winner in a hilly Tour that is missing some big names.

Outside of the Colombian, there are some who are predicting a strong finish for Jumbo-Visma’s Primož Roglič (11/2). The Slovenian ex-professional ski jumper won the 2019 Vuelta a España and put in a good showing at the recent Dauphiné but can he do it on the biggest stage of all?

2019’s champion Bernal could also face some competition from fellow compatriot Nairo Quintana (14/1) and from the Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (9/1).

Chris Froome has controversially missed the 2020 Tour de France as he prepares to leave Team INEOS

Brit Chris Froome has missed out on the chance to win a fifth Tour de France title in 2020. 

Who’s not made the cut for the Tour de France?

This year, we have a few big names missing from the Tour and unfortunately for us back in blighty, they’re all British.

Team Ineos have decided to back Egan Bernal and have left out Chris Froome, who is chasing his fifth Tour de France title and Welshman Geraint Thomas, following sub-par performances in the run-up. Mark Cavendish – who has 30 tour wins to his name – also misses out.


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