The 2011 Tour de France, the 98th edition of the race, starts on July 2 with a day for the sprinters at Mont des Alouettes, and it will finish, as always, on the Champs-Elysees on July 24. The stages in the Alps are mean this year, in contrast to last year when the biggest stages were on the Pyrenees, including two battles on the Col du Tourmalet. Here's a complete schedule of all of the tour's stages.
|1||2-Jul||Passage du Gois – Mont des Alouettes||191.5 km (119 mi)||Flat stage|
|2||3-Jul||Les Essarts – Les Essarts||23 km (14 mi)||Team Time Trial|
|3||4-Jul||Olonne-sur-Mer – Redon||198 km (123 mi)||Flat stage|
|4||5-Jul||Lorient – Mûr-de-Bretagne||172.5 km (107 mi)||Flat stage|
|5||6-Jul||Carhaix – Cap Fréhel||164.5 km (102 mi)||Flat stage|
|6||7-Jul||Dinan – Lisieux||226.5 km (141 mi)||Flat stage|
|7||8-Jul||Le Mans – Chateauroux||218 km (135 mi)||Flat stage|
|8||9-Jul||Aigurande – Super-Besse||189 km (117 mi)||Medium-mountain stage|
|9||10-Jul||Issoire – Saint-Flour||208 km (129 mi)||Medium-mountain stage|
|10||12-Jul||Aurillac – Carmaux||158 km (98 mi)||Flat stage|
|11||13-Jul||Blaye-les-Mines – Lavaur||167.5 km (104 mi)||Flat stage|
|12||14-Jul||Cugnaux – Luz-Ardiden||211 km (131 mi)||Mountain stage|
|13||15-Jul||Pau – Lourdes||152.5 km (95 mi)||Mountain stage|
|14||16-Jul||Saint-Gaudens – Plateau de Beille||168.5 km (105 mi)||Mountain stage|
|15||17-Jul||Limoux – Montpellier||192.5 km (120 mi)||Flat stage|
|16||19-Jul||Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – Gap||162.5 km (101 mi)||Medium-mountain stage|
|17||20-Jul||Gap – Pinerolo||179 km (111 mi)||Mountain stage|
|18||21-Jul||Pinerolo – Col du Galibier / Serre Chevalier||200.5 km (125 mi)||Mountain stage|
|19||22-Jul||Modane – L'Alpe d'Huez||109.5 km (68 mi)||Mountain stage|
|20||23-Jul||Grenoble – Grenoble||42.5 km (26 mi)||Individual time trial|
|21||24-Jul||Creteil – Paris (Champs-Élysées)...||95 km (59 mi)||Flat stage|
The sprints should be a blast on the flats while the medium-mountain stages provide chances for aggressive riders to get some individual stage glory, but here are the stages to watch as far as the general classification is concerned:
Stage 2 - The team time trial returns to the tour this year and represents the first chance for the favorites to get some separation.
Stage 12 - The first true mountain stage of the tour features two beyond category climbs, including a mountain-top finish on the Luz-Ardiden.
Stage 14- This stage finishes on the top of the Plateau De Beille, but the number of smaller climbs before the finish will provide an opportunity for a breakaway to succeed.
Stage 19 - Any regular viewer of the Tour hears Alpe-d'Huez and knows that the stage could be a potential tour decider. Stage 19 is a short one, but with Alpe-d'Huez as the last of three big climbs, it will also be extremely difficult
Stage 20 - A day after Alpe-d'Huez, the individual time trial could be a chance for a rider left behind on Stage 19 to move back up in the GC.
For more on the 2011 Tour de France, stay tuned to this StoryStream and check out SB Nation's cycling blog, Podium Cafe.