The Tour de France gets underway in Britain for only the second time in history on Saturday, with the Grand Depart taking place in Leeds ahead of three UK-based stages.
The 101st edition of cycling's most prestigious race takes in Cambridge and London—among others—before heading into France for the 21-stage, three-week contest.
For the first time since the 1953 Tour, there will be just one time-trial stage—Stage 20—something of a blow for reigning champion Chris Froome.
Read on for a look at the day-by-day schedule for the 2014 Tour de France, as well as television and live streaming information.
|Tour de France 2014: Race Schedule|
|Stage||Date||Start/Finish||Distance||Live Stream||TV Info|
|1||5 July||Leeds/Harrogate||190.5 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|2||6 July||York/Sheffield||201 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|3||7 July||Cambridge/London||155 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|4||8 July||Le Touquet-Paris-Plage/Lille||163.5 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|5||9 July||Ypres/Arenberg Porte du Hainaut||155.5 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|6||10 July||Arras/Reims||194 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|7||11 July||Epernay/Nancy||234.5 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|8||12 July||Tomblaine/Gerardmer La Mauselaine||161 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|9||13 July||Gerardmer/Mulhouse||170 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|10||14 July||Mulhouse/Planche des Belles Filles||161.5 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|/||15 July||Rest Day|
|11||16 July||Besancon/Oyonnax||187.5 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|12||17 July||Bourg-en-Bresse/Saint-Etienne||185.5 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|13||18 July||Saint-Etienne/Chamrousse||197.5 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|14||19 July||Grenoble/Risoul||177 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|15||20 July||Tallard/Nimes||222 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|/||21 July||Rest Day|
|16||22 July||Carcassonne/Bagneres-de-Luchon||237.5 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|17||23 July||Saint-Gaudens/Pla d'Adet||124.5 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|18||24 July||Pau/Hautacam||145.5 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|19||25 July||Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour/Bergerac||208.5 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|20||26 July||Bergerac/Perigueux||54 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
|21||27 July||Evry/Paris||137.5 km||ITV Player/NBCSN||ITV4/NBCSN|
The opening stage is, unusually, a 190.5-kilometre road stage and not a prologue. It starts from Leeds, heads through the Yorkshire Dales, with the first hill challenge being the Buttertubs Pass, and climaxing with a fast, flat finish into Harrogate.
The main players on Stage 1 will be the sprinters, and more specifically, Mark Cavendish, whose mother used to live in Harrogate and who has been specifically targeting the opener all year, per Le Tour Yorkshire:
If the Manx Missile can claim a win on Stage 1 it will not only be a very popular home-favourite victory, it will also put Cavendish in the yellow jersey for the first time ever and constitute his 26th stage win in the Tour—eight short of Eddy Merckx’s 34-stage record, per the Telegraph.
Stage 5 is being touted by many as a spot at which the major general classification challengers may come a cropper due to the presence of the dreaded cobbles in nine sections. One of the favourites, Alberto Contador, recognised the need to be well informed of a potentially dangerous stage:
The risk of falling on cobbles and suffering an injury is very high and could signal the end of a racer's challenge for the yellow jersey as early as Stage 5.
The 10th stage is the first proper mountain test and will be an early indicator as to who is really in contention after the predominantly flat early challenges.
Coming the day before the first rest day, the 161.5-km stage to La Planche des Belles Filles is the site of Froome's first ever stage win in the 2012 edition of the race, and it includes seven separate climbs.
While there are more challenging stages to come, this will provide a good benchmark from which to work for the rest of the race.
The positioning of the only time-trial stage on the penultimate day of the race could prove crucial, for if there is still only a narrow gap between the top contenders, it will all come down to this.
Stage 20 is 54km in length and that will suit Froome if he is still in with a shout of retaining his title—or indeed extending his lead.
After 21 gruelling stages there has to be one winner and received wisdom suggests this year's edition will be a straight shootout between Froome and two-time winner Contador.
However, the Tour likes to throw up surprises and there is no telling what might happen across the course of the race, but first up is Cavendish's chance to get himself in yellow on the opening day.
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