After the 2022 Tour de France began in Denmark, the 2023 race started in Spain and with the 2024 Grand Départ set for Italy, the 2025 Tour will finally return to the event’s home turf for its opening stages. The first three of those stages, all set in the Nord region, were revealed by race organizers on Thursday in Lille, which will host the 2025 Grand Départ.
The big takeaways from the unveiling were that the sprinters will have early opportunities, the puncheurs will get their own chance, and crosswinds could play a role as riders race along the coast. The nearby Roubaix cobblestones, however, do not appear to feature in the route, despite having been the highlight of the last Tour stage that started in Lille back in 2022.
The 2025 Tour will get underway on Saturday, July 5, with a stage that starts and finishes in Lille, taking riders in and around the city on a mostly flat course that should favor the sprinters. In other words, the fast finishers will have a shot at the yellow jersey to kick off the race.
Holding onto that jersey will be another matter, as stage 2 from Lauwin-Planque to Boulogne-sur-Mer will feature some punchy climbs near the finish. The stage will cover a distance of 209 km and within the last 30 of those, riders will tackle the Côte du Haut Pichot, the Côte de Saint-Étienne-au-Mont, and the Côte d’Outreau. None of the three ascents is more than a kilometer in length, but all feature punchy average gradients of at least 8.8%, and the road will kick uphill towards the finish line as well.
Those climbing tests are such that even the GC riders will need to be wary in the waning moments of the stage.
The final stage to take place entirely in the Nord de France department will run 172 km from Valenciennes to Dunkirk, where it is more likely that the day’s challenges will come not from the profile but from the atmosphere along the coast. According to the ASO’s description of the route, “the final 35 kilometres through the vast expanse of the [French] Flanders countryside will be exposed to the wind.”
The finish itself is mostly flat, which will favor the sprinters – if they can make it to the end of the potential chaos of echelons.
From there, the fourth stage of the 2025 Tour will start in the Picard capital of Amiens, famed for its massive 13th century cathedral, before continuing on to an as-of-yet unrevealed finish town.
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