Tour De France 2014: Updated Schedule, Route Map and Critical Stages

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Tour De France 2014: Updated Schedule, Route Map and Critical Stages
Peter Dejong/Associated Press

The most grueling, difficult sporting event in the world is underway—the Tour de France.

No weather delays. No television breaks. Thousands of calories thrown to the wayside and gallons of liquids consumed. All for one fleeting shot at glory on a track that began in London and winds through France and everywhere in between over the course of three weeks.

The finisher rate has never cracked 90 percent.

Suffice it to say, the 2014 edition of the Tour de France is an unmatched spectacle that the globe will want to dial in on—even in the face of other important international sporting events.

Here is a look at where things stand, with a breakdown of critical stages after the jump.

 

Updated Schedule

Stage Date Start/Finish Distance Profile
4 8 July Le Touquet-Paris-Plage/Lille 163.5 km Hill
5 9 July Ypres/Arenberg Porte du Hainaut 155.5 km Flat
6 10 July Arras/Reims 194 km Flat
7 11 July Epernay/Nancy 234.5 km Flat
8 12 July Tomblaine/Gerardmer La Mauselaine 161 km Hill
9 13 July Gerardmer/Mulhouse 170 km Hill
10 14 July Mulhouse/Planche des Belles Filles 161.5 km Mountain
15 July Rest Day
11 16 July Besancon/Oyonnax 187.5 km Flat
12 17 July Bourg-en-Bresse/Saint-Etienne 185.5 km Hill
13 18 July Saint-Etienne/Chamrousse 197.5 km Mountain
14 19 July Grenoble/Risoul 177 km Mountain
15 20 July Tallard/Nimes 222 km Flat
21 July Rest Day
16 22 July Carcassonne/Bagneres-de-Luchon 237.5 km Mountain
17 23 July Saint-Gaudens/Pla d'Adet 124.5 km Mountain
18 24 July Pau/Hautacam 145.5 km Mountain
19 25 July Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour/Bergerac 208.5 km Flat
20 26 July Bergerac/Perigueux 54 km Time Trial
21 27 July Evry/Paris 137.5 km Flat

letour.com

 

Route Map

An interactive route map can be found via LeTour.com.

 

Stages to Watch

Stage 8: Tomblaine/Gerardmer La Mauselaine, 161km

USA TODAY Sports

While relatively early in the proceedings, Stage 8 is quite the behemoth. The above profile of "hill" does not exactly do it justice.

In fact, this stage is one of the more interesting of the entire event for its wild nature, as illustrated by AFPgraphics:

Things start innocently enough on a flat 130km stretch which results in a frenzied sprint before things get uphill in a big way.

The upward climb slows things down quite a bit and features a pair of second-category mountains in the form of Croix des Moinats and the Col de Grosse Pierre. But it doesn't end there, with the finish line for the stage actually residing on a third-category spot.

It's also important to note that the stage certainly has major implications on the rest of the race, as the cyclist who can win the sprint and sustain the lead up the large climb proves to have the ingredients of a champion.

Just ask last year's winner, Chris Froome, who won the wild stage to secure the yellow jacket, which he never relinquished. Speaking of the defending champ, he spoke to BBC Sport about starting this year's race with a bit of an edge via home-field advantage:

Fans can rest assured that Froome and plenty of other contenders have their eyes set squarely on the challenging stage.

 

Stage 20: Bergerac/Perigueux, 54km

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The penultimate day is highlighted by a track that touts a distance which does not sound all that intimidating, especially after the cyclists will have already covered thousands of kilometers.

Will Froome repeat as champion?

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While Thierry Gouvenou of LeTour.com does not think Stage 20 will have a drastic impact on the outcome, with the stages prior doing their part to create natural separation between the best and the rest, it's a thought that will be truly put to test in what is the final time trial of the event.

"What happens in the organisers' dreams? The final winner is decided in this 54 km time trial," said Gouvenou.

Dreams might just become reality in the critical time trial, as the unpredictable nature of the lengthy trek through treacherous terrain can produce even the unlikeliest of winners. A time trial is, of course, the only proper way to settle the manner.

Don't miss out.

 

Stage information courtesy of LeTour.com unless otherwise stated.

 

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