Departure in Spain, return from the puy de Dôme: discover the route of the Tour de France 2023

Departure in Spain, return from the puy de Dôme: discover the route of the Tour de France 2023

The Tour de France 2023 will have a big thought for Raymond Poulidor who died 3 years ago. The 9th stage will pay special tribute to the man who remains one of the heroes of the Grande Boucle for eternity. On Sunday July 9, the stage will start from Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat (Haute-Vienne), the stronghold of Poupou, the village in which he lived a large part of his life and in which he rests. Direction ? Puy-de-Dôme and the slopes of the dormant volcano on which he and Jacques Anquetil had fought an epic, historic, immortal battle.

It was in 1964, almost 60 years ago. In 1975, a spectator assaulted Eddy Merckx by punching him in the liver just before reaching the summit. The return of the Puy de Dôme to the Tour map is an event that is all the more significant as it has not appeared there since 1988 and a victory for Dane Johnny Weltz.

Before giving way to the Massif Central halfway through the race, the Tour de France will start from Spain, more precisely from the Basque Country and Bilbao on July 1. This is the first time in several decades that, from the first stage, the peloton will swallow 3300m of elevation gain. The riders will stay two full days in Spain between Bilbao and San Sebastián before crossing the border on July 3, direction Bayonne.

A “big piece” in the Alps with more than 5000 m of altitude difference

Who says departure in the Basque Country says proximity to the Pyrenees that the peloton will cross very early. The first passes await the runners from July 5 between Pau and Laruns then, the next day, on the road from Tarbes to Cauterets. After the first week of racing, we will already know the state of form and the claims for the general classification of the strong men.

From the Landes, the peloton will then head for the vineyards of Bordeaux and Libourne, which had already hosted the Tour in 2021. Then head to Auvergne where the Tour will spend 4 days between Puy-de-Dôme, a rest stage in Clermont and a journey between Vulcania Park and Issoire.

After Bordeaux, the wine tasting will continue in Beaujolais with a stage between Roanne and Belleville-en-Beaujolais before beginning to see the Jura mountains in the distance. The Tour will pass on July 14 at the top of the Grand Colombier where Tadej Pogacar triumphed in 2020. It will be a taste of the Alps which await the survivors of the Tour from July 15 with an arrival in Morzine, a resort used to seeing the Round.

Only one time trial on the Domancy coast

The next stage the next day between Les Gets and Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc promises to be a summit of the edition with the highest point of the continent in sight. After the second rest day in Saint-Gervais, the Tour will not be done with the high mountains. The 17th stage between Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc and Courchevel is announced as the “big piece” of the Tour: “5100m of vertical drop, savors Thierry Gouvenou, the technical director of the Grande Boucle. There will be incredible breaks in the slope and in particular the last ascent of the Col de la Loze, not to mention an 18% gradient in the last kilometer before the Courchevel altiport. One can imagine a huge fight. »

Especially since, the day before, the only time trial of this edition – 22 km between Passy and Combloux – will perhaps have allowed to widen gaps between favorites on the famous coast of Domancy, where Bernard Hinault had been crowned world champion in 1980 and where the 2027 World Cup will be played.

Before reaching Paris, the runners will still cross the Vosges between Belfort and the Markstein station. If the final decision is not made sooner, this is where we will know the winner of the 2023 Tour in a remake of the 2020 Tour when Pogacar had blown the yellow jersey to Primoz Roglic. It was right next door, at the Planche des Belles Filles and the organizers of the Grande Boucle dream of such a thrilling finale.

In total, everyone should be served in 2023 with six altitude finishes without forgetting eight stages identified for sprinters “including three in the last week”, notes Christian Prudhomme, the boss of the event. In addition to Poulidor, the 2023 route will pay tribute to two other illustrious champions: Luis Ocana with the Nogaro stage, which he won in 1973, and that of Dax where André Darrigade started for the first time in 1953.