Route for the 2020 Tour de France revealed


Joe Robinson

15 Oct 2019

Lots of new mountains, hardly any time trials and no room for classics Alpe d'Huez and Mont Ventoux

Legendary Tour de France mountains Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux will be skipped for new climbs as the 2020 edition is set to be ‘identical in difficulty’ to 2019 with the race scheduling only one individual time trial.

At the route presentation in the Palais des Congres Paris, the full route for the 2020 Tour de France was revealed with the race set to visit five different mountain ranges.

Like last year’s edition, it will be particularly sparse of time trial kilometres with only one on the penultimate stage, an individual mountain time trial to the summit of La Planche des Belles Filles.

Usual climbs like Alpe d’Huez, the Col du Galibier and Mont Ventoux will all be avoided too with race organisers preferring to take the peloton to new ascents, including the Col de La Loze in Meribel, a road that was only constructed within the last 12 months.

The race will also contain a mountaintop finish on the Pyramide du Bugey for the first time, a summit finish to Grand Colombier and a summit finish on the Pyrenean mountain of the Puy Mary.

The race’s first summit finish will come as early as Stage 4 on the Orcieres-Merlette climb in the Southern Alps.

It was a route organisers said favoured the brave. ‘If the riders in the 107th edition are feeling as bold and inspired as in July this year, we are likely to see a race in which the top of the classification changes virtually every day and the pretenders to the crown will have to take matters into their own hands early on.

‘The route has been designed to favour aggressive riders with the ability to jump out of the peloton with ease.’

The Grand Depart of the 107th Tour will take place in the southern Riviera city of Nice which will host two stages. Both stages will start and finish in the city with the first expected to finish with a bunch sprint on the Promenade des Anglais.

Stage 2 will be the race’s first taste of the mountains with ascents of the Col de la Colmiane, Col de Turini and Col d’Eze.

The races will then head across the south of the country for the first week of racing before culminating in the Pyrenees before the first rest day. After two stages on the west coast of France, the race will head back through the Central Massif teeing up a final week in the mountainous east of the country.

After the penultimate day’s time trial on La Planche des Belles Filles, the race will finish with its traditional processional stage in Paris on the Champs-Elysees.

The race will also take place a week earlier than usual in 2020, between Saturday 27th June and Sunday 19th July, in order to accommodate riders wanting to race in the Olympic Games road race in Tokyo on Saturday 25th July.

Gallery: How to suffer at a Hill Climb


Joe Robinson

15 Oct 2019

Hill Climbs are a strange yet wonderful thing and the Catford is the oldest and most prestigious of the lot

Words: Joe Robinson Photography: Leigh Simpson

There will usually be a taste of sick. There will definitely be the taste of blood. Your lungs will be wrenching in any oxygen they can get and your heart will feel like it’s pounding harder than a Keith Moon drum beat.

The lactic acid in your thighs will burn and there will be some snot somewhere, likely on your top lip, maybe on your chest. There will be a brief moment where everything starts to go fuzzy behind the eyes and get a sudden feeling that your body is beginning to shut down.

But the legs keep pumping, using momentum and sheer force to propel you through a crowd that’s loud cheers fall on deaf ears. Then you cross the line and come to a complete stop.

You’ll slump over your frame for about a minute or so at the top or maybe even slide down onto the damp tarmac, panting like a dog overheating. The human body is a wonderful thing and within a minute or two, you’ll be back to normal, smiling, laughing about how hard it all was.

The Hill Climb is a wickedly strange and utterly British event. If you read about it in the history books, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was some strange torture technique.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Calum Brown, the 2019 winner of the Catford Hill Climb, who came within two seconds of the 37 year record with his calves like balloons bulging as he pedalled, or veteran rider Martin Hillier who rolled across the line 128th out of 128 and was old enough to be Brown’s day, you’ll all be suffering the same.

It’s the beauty of it. No matter how good you are, you will share that same feeling of utter agony and joy, pain and glory when finally cresting that hill.

The Catford Hill Climb is the oldest continuing cycling race in the world and therefore the oldest continuing hill climb. Cyclist has helped out with running the event for the past two years and plans to for many more. It’s a grassroots event and needs all the help it can get.

Leigh Simpson captured the race beautifully through his lens and here are his best images