Tour de France 2012 Route

The 2012 Tour de France route has been announced. The route sees the riders spending several days in Belgium, negotiating roads familiar with the Spring Classics. Remembering the 2010 Tour de France, which spent time on the Belgium pave, we should be in for an interesting first week. The route stays in Northern France for most of the first week which will give chance for a trip across the channel for us Brits.

Moving forward the 2012 Tour de France route has more flatter stages than previous years however Prudhomme has found some new climbs with "very steep parts and very high gradients". Stage 7 finishes on La Planche des Belle Filles, with an average gradient of 8.5% over 6km, the steepest section on this climb being 20%!

For me stage 16 will be a killer with the riders taking on Col's Aubisque, Tourmalet. Aspin and Peyresourd.

Altogether there are 5 mountain stages with 2 summit finishes; across the Tour there are 25 second, first and HC climbs, two more than last year's race. The 2012 route also sees 3 Time Trials, no guessing what Andy and Frank Schleck will be spending time doing this Winter!

I was delighted to read about Mark Cavendish's move to Sky. It is such great news for British Cycling. I look forward to see him working with Bradley Wiggins & Geraint Thomas.

2012 Tour de France route

30 June - Prologue: Liege, 6.1km

1 July - Stage 1: Liege - Seraing 198km

2 July - Stage 2: Vise - Tournai 207km

3 July - Stage 3: Orchies - Boulogne-sur-Mer 197km

4 July - Stage 4: Abbeville - Rouen 214km

5 July - Stage 5: Rouen - St Quentin 197km

6 July - Stage 6: Epernay - Metz 210km

7 July - Stage 7: Tomblaine - La Planche des Belles Filles 199km

8 July - Stage 8: Belfort - Porrentruy 154km

9 July - Stage 9: Arc-et-Senans - Besancon (time trial) 38km

10 July - Rest day in Macon

11 July - Stage 10: Macon - Bellegarde-sur-Valserine 194km

12 July - Stage 11: Albertville - La Toussuire/Les Sybelles 140km

13 July - Stage 12: St Jean de Maurienne - Annonay 220km

14 July - Stage 13: St Paul Trois Chateaux - Le Cap d'Agde 215km

15 July - Stage 14: Limoux - Foix 192km

16 July - Stage 15: Samatan - Pau 160km

17 July - Rest day in Pau

18 July - Stage 16: Pau - Bagnères de Luchon 197km

19 July - Stage 17: Bagnères de Luchon - Peyragudes 144km

20 July - Stage 18: Blagnac - Brive la Gaillarde 215km

21 July - Stage 19: Bonneval - Chartres (time trial) 52km

22 July - Stage 20: Rambouillet - Paris Champs-Élysées 130km

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