The Grand Depart for the 2018 Tour de France takes place one week later than usual due to the crucial FIFA World Cup matches that take place at the beginning of July.
Although the World Cup finals overlap with stage 9 of the Tour de France, sports fans won't have to worry about missing a moment of either event, as organisers ASO have arranged for the finishes of the stages 1, 8 and 9 - which fall on the same day as the first World Cup quarter-final match, third place play-off and final, respectively, to end earlier than normal to keep fans tuned in.
The Vendée region hosts the Grand Depart, with two flat road stages suited to the sprinters before the 35.5km team time trial in Cholet. Expect a battle royale for the first maillot jaune between the main sprinters.
Stage 3's team time trial will be a critical test for the teams of the overall contenders, and anyone who wants to unseat Chris Froome (should he be allowed to race) will have to put time into Team Sky - a difficult proposition.
The next critical stage is the 156.5km cobbled stage from Arras to the Roubaix velodrome on July 15: the stage winner will be throwing up his arms in victory just before the kick-off for the World Cup finale. Stock up on provisions - it's going to be a big day in front of the television!
Three mountain stages in the Alps come in the week following the first rest day, and the grande finale in the Pyrenees comes in the final week, with three mountain stages and an individual time trial on the penultimate stage before the parade into Paris.
Cyclingnews will offer unparalleled live text coverage of every stage, giving exclusive information from inside the race to enhance your experience. Engage with us on Twitter, and you could find your tweet embedded in our live coverage!
Tour preview and stage details
In addition to extensive news coverage already published, Cyclingnews has a complete preview here, including the contenders for the overall classification, points classification and the race route. Plus, we have maps and profiles of each stage, and profiles of the key climbs, and more information in each stage preview page. You can flick through them at your leisure beginning with stage 1 here.
As always, Cyclingnews will have start to finish live text coverage including insights and rider quotes from our staff before the race, analysis and information during the race, and results, standings, rider quotes and recaps after the finish.
If you wish to be alerted to the most critical moments, follow us on our social media channels, and we will let you know when the race is heating up!
Race reports, news and analysis
Cyclingnews will have a crack team of reporters to bring you breaking news, comments from the winners, animators and main protagonists as well as full race results, reports and analysis from the Tour de France.
With the official welcoming of disc brakes into the peloton before the race, our tech experts will be scouring the paddocks for the latest in bike and braking technology, plus gear, shoes, helmets, clothing and more.
After each stage, we will post the official video highlights shortly after the finish.
Our team will be producing regular podcasts discussing the racing action and off-the-bike dramas of the Tour de France.
Stage timings in CET (Finish is slowest estimate)
Stage 1: Sat, July 7 - Noirmoutier-en-l'Île – Fontenay-le-Comte, 201.0km - flat. Start 11:00, Finish 16:00
Stage 2: Sun, July 8 - Mouilleron-Saint-Germain – La-Roche-sur-Yon, 182.5km - flat. Start 13:10, Finish 17:45
Stage 3: Mon, July 9 - Cholet – Cholet, 35.5km - TTT. Start 15:10, Finish 17:35
Stage 4: Tue, July 10 - La Baule – Sarzeau, 195.0km - flat. Start 13:05, Finish 18:00
Stage 5: Wed, July 11 - Lorient – Quimper, 204.5km - hilly. Start 12:20, Finish 17:45
Stage 6: Thu, July 12 - Brest – Mûr-de-Bretagne, 181.0km - hilly/uphill finish. Start 13:05, Finish 17:45
Stage 7: Fri, July 13 - Fougéres – Chartres, 231.0km - flat. Start 12:05, Finish 17:50
Stage 8: Sat, July 14 - Dreux – Amiens, 181.0km - flat. Start 11:35, Finish 15:57
Stage 9: Sun, July 15 - Arras – Roubaix, 156.5km - cobbles. Start 12:35, Finish, 16:28
Rest Day: Mon, July 16 - Annecy
Stage 10: Tue, July 17 - Annecy – Le Grand-Bornand, 158.5km - mountain. Start 13:15, Finish 18:15
Stage 11: Wed, July 18 - Albertville – La Rosière, 108.5km - mountain/summit finish. Start 14:00, Finish 17:35
Stage 12: Thu, July 19 - Bourg-Saint-Maurice – Alpe d'Huez, 175.5km - mountain/summit finish. Start 12:10, Finish 18:15
Stage 13: Fri, July 20 - Bourg d'Oisans – Valence, 169.5km - flat. Start 13:35, Finish 17:40
Stage 14: Sat, July 21 - Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux – Mende, 188.0km - hilly/uphill finish. Start 13:05, Finish 17:54
Stage 15: Sun, July 22 - Millau – Carcassonne, 181.5km - hilly. Start 13:10, Finish 18:00
Rest Day: Mon, July 23 - Carcassonne
Stage 16: Tue, July 24 - Carcassonne – Bagnères-de-Luchon, 218.0km - mountain. Start 11:30, Finish 17:40
Stage 17: Wed, July 25 - Bagnères-de-Luchon – Col de Portet, 65.0km - mountain/summit finish. Start 15:15, Finish 17:44
Stage 18: Thu, July 26 - Trie-sur-Baïse – Pau, 171.0km - flat. Start 13:55, Finish 17:58
Stage 19: Fri, July 27 - Lourdes – Laruns, 200.5km - mountain. Start 12:05, Finish 18:11.
Stage 20: Sat, July 28 - Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle – Espelette, 31.0km - ITT. Start 12:00, Finish 17:13
Stage 21: Sun, July 29 - Houilles – Champs-Élysées (Paris), 116.0km - flat. Start 16:15, Finish 19:19