Details have been announced of the opening two stages of the 2020 Tour de France, which gets underway in Nice on June 27 of next year. ASO confirmed on Monday that the opening weekend of the 2020 Tour will feature two road stages, both beginning and ending in Nice.
While stage 1 offers the sprinters a chance to race for the first yellow jersey of the Tour on the Promenade des Anglais, stages 2 sees the Tour make a very early entry into the Alps. The Col de la Colmiane and the Col de Turini will both feature ahead of a testing finale that includes the Col d'Èze and the Col des Quatre Chemins ahead of a fast drop into Nice.
It will be the second time that Nice hosts the Grand Départ. In 1981, the race began with a prologue in Nice, won by Bernard Hinault, before a road stage and team time trial on the second day.
The opening stage of the 2020 Tour will be 170km long and will be composed of two circuits centred around Nice. The first portion of the stage will see the peloton tackle two laps of a 50km circuit. After crossing the line on the Promenade des Anglais for the second time, the bunch will then face into a longer, 70km lap over the climb to Levens before a fast run-in to the finish in Nice.
It will mark the seventh time in a decade that the Tour begins with a road stage. Prior to 2008, the Tour had started with a time trial on 40 consecutive occasions.
Stage 2 of the 2020 Tour includes from the final two legs of this year's Paris-Nice. The peloton will begin climbing after 45km with the 1,500m-high Col de la Colmiane (16.3km at 6.2%). After a fast descent, the race climbs the 1,607m-high Col de Turini (14.9km at 7.3%).
The ascent of the Turini is unlikely to prove decisive given that it comes some 90km from the finish, but it will offer a robust test ahead of a demanding finale in and around Nice. The Col d'Èze (7.8km at 7%) is scaled with a little over 30km to go. The peloton crosses the finish line on the Promenade des Anglais for the first time with 17km remaining before climbing the stiff Col des Quatre Chemins with 9km to go.
"The fabulous geography where Nice is situated is ideal for sensational cycling races," said Tour director Christian Prudhomme. "We're ready to place a bet that on the Baie des Anges the riders of the 2020 Tour will give spectators and TV viewers a battle at the height of the azure surrounding that will welcome them."
Prudhomme pointed out that 2020 will be just the seventh time that the Tour has begun in south-eastern France, and he said that the geography of the area offered a configuration that "immediately places the riders in front of the challenge of mountains."