We follow the exact route of each year’s Tour de France, with the following exceptions…
We cycle in and out of hotels rather than the exact town-centre start and finish points. This might mean a 2 – 5 kilometre difference at the start or end of each stage (depending on how close to the finish we can find accommodation).
If there is a morning transfer (to a stage start 20 or 30km from the previous stage end), we’ll start from a car park or open area where we can lay out the bikes and park our coach (again, not necessarily the exact start point).
If there is a section of road which we think is unsafe for cyclists, we’ll re-route around on smaller side roads. In reality, this is very rare and probably amounts to a total of 10 or 15 kms each year.
It goes without saying but we have to abide by local traffic lay outs. So if the Tour go the wrong way down a one way road, we don’t! These detours are very small.
Occasionally we come to a closed road (road works, accident, village fete) and in these cases we just re-route around and rejoin the Tour route as soon as possible.
The only exception to the above rules is stage 21 going into Paris. The tour often uses roads which are too big and fast for us – and we don’t think you’d want to cycle multiple laps of the central Paris Loop. So we start in (or pass through) the right place but then necessarily alter the route. We always finish by passing the Eiffel Tower for photos and then making just one lap of the Paris Tour loop before heading to our hotel (and a big party)!