While the rumour mills work overtime, there are only a few things we know for sure so far about the 2019 and 2020 routes:
Brussels is a beautiful city with palaces, historical squares, the modern EU quarter and plenty of charm – and the Tour passes through the centre on stages 1 and 2. This means 2 nights in the same hotel (a Tour luxury!). After these first two stages, we’ll be heading west for some classic first week Tour cycling which could mean cobbles (again?!).
Our guess (but it is only a guess) is a route that takes us more south than west, towards Alsace-Lorraine (quiche!) and the French-German border, including the Vosges and the gorgeous areas last explored in 2014 (our fingers are crossed for the Grand Ballon).
From there, will it be the shortest route from the Alps to the Pyrenees – or will the Tour route planners do something interesting and send us through the middle of France (or via the Mediterranean in preparation for 2020) to the Pyrenees, looping back for a grand finale in the Alps? We won’t know for sure until the stage start and finish towns are announced in October. Until then, let’s just focus on the beer and chocolate…!
This is a glorious place to start a Tour and it’s super-easy to get to (maybe tack on a little family holiday before/after?). We last visited Nice for a stage 4 time trial after the Corsica Grand Depart in 2013 – a glorious summer morning and a ride along the famous Promenade des Anglais.
Nice is not only on the mediterranean but it’s also very close to the Italian border, an hour from proper mountains and the gateway to Provence – so it’s anyone’s guess what the tour have in mind for week one.
After the last couple of years which have included hilly first week stages and 2019’s team time trial on stage 2, we shouldn’t expect a certain format. But it almost doesn’t matter because it’s bound to be good…
The tour won’t go to the Alps or Pyrenees until after the first rest day, leaving the big question of where to go from Nice before returning south for the last 10 days of mountains? It’s almost impossible to leave Nice without visiting Provence so this is set to be a tour of sunshine, sunflowers, icecream and the holiday feel.
These are a few of our photos from when we were last there in 2013 … looks Nice eh?