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Tour de France 2004 - The Route!!
By Staff
Date: 10/23/2003
Tour de France 2004 - The Route!!

Additional coverage:

Tour de France 2004: The Route - More Reactions  here.
Tour de France 2004. The Route: Spanish & Italian reactions here.
Tour de France 2004 - Latest Reactions click here.
And also...Giro d'Italia 2004. Route Rumors and Tidbits here.

The route of the 2004 Tour, Courtesy of Societe’ Tour de France

Tour de France fans rejoice: the route of the 91st edition of the World’s biggest cycling race has finally been unveiled! With Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich and several other cycling personalities attending, the parcours of the 2004 “Grande Boucle”, that will see the American going for a record number of six straight overall wins, has been officially presented in Paris’ Palais des Congres.

The 2004 Tour de France, running from July 03-25, is set to start in the Belgian town of Liège, where participants will get on their bikes to tackle the 6-km. prologue against the clock. More rides inside Belgian territory will follow in the next days, with Stage 1 going from Liège to the town of Charleroi, and the next leg heading for Namur.

The last start in Belgium will take place in Waterloo, the town well-known for Napoleon's defeat. Then the peloton will move westward into France, crossing the Picardy and Brittany regions in the north of the country. On Wednesday, July 7, the first all-French stage will be the 65-km. "traditional" Team Time Trial, that could write another page to the "USPS v. Manolo Saiz Boys (no matter which name they'll be racing under)" saga.

After more than a week in the North (Belgium included), the peloton will move to the Center of France, and after the rest day (and the transfer to Limoges) the race will resume with a 160-km. stage into Gueret.

Then to the south-west, with the Pyrenees coming before the Alps this year. After the first mountain top finish at La Mongie (Stage 12), Plateau de Beille will be the "traditional" uphill finish in the mountains between Spain and France.

And as for the Alps, coming after a leg reserved for stage hunters (finishing into Nimes) and another rest day, how could a real Tour de France miss a top mountain finish at L'Alpe d'Huez ? Sure the 2004 edition won't. But the big news is that this year the legendary climb in the Isere department will be hosting a 15-km. uphill ITT, starting in Bourg d'Oisans, a town well-known to hardcore fans of the TdF.

The Alpe d'Huez "race of the truth" is the second of four straight hilly stages that might well decide the outcome of the 2004 Tour. But in case uncertainty persists even after the Alps, the day before the usual show on the Champs a long (60 km.) ITT both starting and finishing in Besancon will be the last chance given to anyone wishing to be dressed in yellow in Paris.

Twenty-two teams of nine riders each (a total of 198 cyclists) will take part in the race. Names of the 14 teams having the right to be at the startline thanks to their position in the UCI Rankings will be unveiled in the next month of January.

But the big news is that we will not have to wait until May to know who’s going to get the coveted wild-cards. In order to help teams planning much of their season upon an eventual participation to the TdF, the Professional Cycling Council made the decision to have the names of all teams invited to Le Tour (wild-card getters included) made public by early March, well before the first big stage races of the year.

One thing cycling fans are certainly eager to know are the details of Lance Armstrong’s “new “ build-up for the 2004 Tour. With the French Grand Tour and the record number of wins being only ONE of his main objectives for the season this time, the other one being the Athens Olympic race in August, the American is going to make some changes to his “usual” preparation. As he recently told to French newspaper “L’Equipe”, he may be skipping the Dauphiné Libere stage race (his usual rehearsal in June) and opt for different races.

Some details are already known: according to his own words, the man should train in Europe in February and March, then move to the U.S. in April (when Armstrong would spend more time with his children, and delight the Tour of Georgia organizers with his participation) and get back to the Old Continent to take part in shorter race like Euskal Bizikleta in the Basque Country (early June) or the new race replacing Midi Libre. Then the “drive for six” at Le Tour would come, and in August, after spending some more time with his children, Armstrong would be busy with his attempt to pedal to the medal at the Olympics.

But now let's have the names and numbers of the 2004 Tour de France do the talking.

91st Tour de France – The Stages

Prologue: Saturday, July 3: 6 km. - Liège Prologue (TT)

Stage 1 Sunday, July 4: 195 km. - Liège - Charleroi

Stage 2 Monday, July 5: 195 km. - Charleroi - Namur

Stage 3 Tuesday, July 6: 195 km. - Waterloo - Wasquehal

Stage 4 Wednesday, July 7: 65 km. - Cambrai - Arras (Team TT)

Stage 5 Thursday, July 8: 195 km. - Amiens - Chartres

Stage 6 Friday, July 9: 190 km. - Bonneval - Angers

Stage 7 Saturday, July 10: 208 km. - Châteaubriant - Saint-Brieuc

Stage 8 Sunday, July 11: 172 km. - Lamballe - Quimper

Rest Day Monday, July 12 Transfert to Limoges

Stage 9 Tuesday, July 13: 160 km. - Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat - Guéret

Stage 10 Wednesday, July 14: 237 km- Limoges - Saint-Flour

Stage 11 Thursday, July 15: 164 km. - Saint-Flour - Figeac

Stage 12 Friday, July 16: 199 km. - Castelsarrasin - La Mongie

Stage 13 Saturday, July 17: 217 km. - Lannemezan - Plateau de Beille

Stage 14 Sunday, July 18: 200 km. - Carcassonne - Nîmes

Rest Day Monday, July 19: Rest Day (Nîmes)

Stage 15 Tuesday, July 20: 179 km. - Valréas - Villard-de-Lans

Stage 16 Wednesday, July 21: 15 km. - Bourg d'Oisans - L'Alpe d'Huez (Ind. TT)

Stage 17 Thursday, July 22: 212 km. - Bourg d'Oisans - Le Grand Bornand

Stage 18 Friday, July 23: 166 km. - Annemasse - Lons-le-Saunier

Stage 19 Saturday, July 24: 60 km. - Besançon - Besançon (Ind. TT)

Stage 20 Sunday, July 25: 165 km. - Montereau-Fault-Yonne - Paris Champs-Élysées

91st Tour de France – Route Details

Running from Saturday July 3rd to Sunday July 25th, the 2004 Tour de France will be made up of one prologue and 20 stages and will cover a total distance of 3.360 kilometres.

The 20 stages have the following profiles:

* 11 flat stages,
* 6 mountain stages,
* 2 individual time-trial stages,
* 1 team time-trial stage.

Distinctive aspects of the race
* 3 mountain finishes,
* 2 rest days,
* 75 kilometres of individual time-trials,
* 65 kilometres of team time-trials,
* 1 transfer by plane and 1 transfer by train (TGV),
* 21 Category 1, Category 2 and highest level passes will be climbed,
* 7 new stop-over towns: Waterloo, Cambrai, Chartres, Lamballe, Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, Guéret, Annemasse.

91st Tour de France – Main Difficulties

Stage 10 - Wednesday, July 14: Limoges - Saint-Flour (237 km.)
Km. 67 - Col de Lestards (km. 7, gradient 4.7 %)
Km. 162 - Col de Néronne (km. 8.3, av. gradient 3.5%)
Km. 173.5 - Col du Pas de Peyrol (km. 5.5, av. gradient 8%)
Km. 205.5 - Plomb du Cantal (km. 8.2, av. gradient 6%)

Stage 12 - Friday. July 16: Castelsarrasin - La Mongie (199 km.)
Km. 173 - Col d'Aspin (km. 12.5, av. gradient 6.3%)
Km. 199 - La Mongie (km. 15, av. gradient 5.7%) - Mountain Top Finish

Stage 13 - Saturday. July 17: Lannemezan - Plateau de Beille (217 km.)
Km. 49.5 - Col des Ares (km. 9, av. gradient 3.8%)
Km. 71 - Col de Portet d'Asp (km. 10, av. gradient 5.4%)
Km. 107.5 - Col de la Core (km. 14.5, av. gradient 5.8%)
Km. 139 - Col de Latrape (km. 18, av. gradient 3.3%)
Km. 153.5 - Col d'Agnes (km. 9.5, av. gradient 8.4%)
Km. 217 - Plateau de Beille (km. 18.5, av. gradient 6.4%) - Mountain Top Finish

Stage 15 - Tuesday. July 20: Valréas - Villard-de-Lans (179 km.)
Km. 15 - Côte d'Aleryrac (km. 3.4, av. gradient 4.7%)
Km. 38 - Côte du Puy-Saint-Martin (km. 3.9, av. gradient 3%)
Km. 91.5 - Col des Limouches (km. 10.7, av. gradient 6.4%)
Km. 121 - Col de l'Echarasson (km. 12, av. gradient 7.4%)
Km. 137 - Col de Carri (km. 6.2, av. gradient 2.6%)
Km. 164 - Côte de Chalimont (km. 10.3, av. gradient 5.8%)
Km. 179 - Villard-de-Lans (Côte 2000) (km. 2.3, av. gradient 6.6%) - Mountain Top Finish

Stage 16 - Wednesday. July 21: Bourg d'Oisans - L'Alpe d'Huez (ITT, 15 km.)
Km. 15 - L'Alpe d'Huez (km. 13.8, av. gradient 7.9%) - Mountain Top Finish

Stage 17 - Thursday. July 22: Bourg d'Oisans - Le Grand Bornand (212 km)
Km. 36 - Col du Glandon (km. 27, av. gradient 4.5%)
Km. 86 - Col de la Madeleine (km. 19.5, av. gradient 8%)
Km. 143.5 - Col de Tamié (km. 9, av. gradient 6%)
Km. 166.5 - Col de la Forclaz (km. 8.5, av. gradient 8%)
Km. 200.5 - Col de la Croix-Fry (km. 12.5, av. gradient 6.8%)

Stage 18 - Friday. July 23: Annemasse - Lons-le-Saunier (166 km.)
Km. 34.5 - Côte de Collonges (km. 2.5, av. gradient 4.2%)
Km. 75.5 - Col de la Faucille (km. 11.5, av. gradient 6.3%)
Km. 87.5 - Côte de Lajoux (km. 3.7, av. gradient 5.4%)
Km. 119 - Côte de Saint-Lupicin (km. 6.2, av. gradient 3.9%)
Km. 127 - Côte des Crozets (km. 6.3, av. gradient 3.7%)
Km. 153 - Côte de Nogna (km. 2.2, av. gradient 4.3%)

The Daily Peloton's coverage of the 2004 Tour de France Route presentation continues with more news and details. Stay tuned !!!

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