2020's Tour de France kicks off this weekend - here's everything you need to know

By Alex Nelson
Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 3:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 3:41 pm
The winner of the 2019 Tour de France - Colombia's Egan Bernal - leads the pack down the Champs Elysees in Paris (Photo: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)
The winner of the 2019 Tour de France - Colombia's Egan Bernal - leads the pack down the Champs Elysees in Paris (Photo: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

It may look a little different this year, and it's being contested slightly later in the year due to Covid-19 restrictions, but cycling's biggest road race is upon us.

The Tour de France 2020 kicks off this weekend (29 August), with 176 riders across 22 teams contesting for the sport's grand prize and glory on the Champs-Elysees.

Here's everything you need to know about this year's race.

When does this year's Tour take place?

Originally, 2020's Tour de France was scheduled to take place from 27 June to 19 July.

But due to the banning of large-scale public gatherings in France and across most of the globe amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the dates were pushed back.

On 14 April, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced the start of the 2020 Tour would be postponed until Saturday 29 August.

It will run until Sunday 20 September.

What is the route?

Despite the delay to proceedings, the Tour de France will follow the same route with no changes, broadly following a clockwise path around the south of the country.

The start of the 2020 Tour (known as the Grand Départ) will take place in the Mediterranean city of Nice, only the second time the city has hosted the race's opening stage, the first being in 1981.

21 stages break up a 3,470km (2,156 mile) route that sees riders take in some of France's most breathtaking countryside, as well as some of the country's most notable towns and cities.

But the riders won't have much of a chance to enjoy the scenery, and there are plenty of mountainous stages among the more pleasant, flatter ones.

The world's most famous road cycling race will visit the Alps, the Vosges, Jura, the Pyrenees and the Massif Central across its three-week run time.

The race will end as always at its traditional home, the Champs-Elysees in Paris, on Sunday 20 September.

Who is going to win?

Last year's winner - the Colombian Egan Bernal - will be hoping to make it two Tour de Frances in a row, but he'll be challenged by the compatriot Nairo Quintana and the Dutchman Tom Dumoulin.

Primoz Roglic is arguably the bookies' favourite to claim the yellow jersey heading into the race.

The 30-year-old became the first Slovenian to win a Tour de France stage in 2017, and in 2019 won the Vuelta a Espana, becoming the first Slovenian to win a Grand Tour competition.

In terms of British hopes, Adam Yates of the team Mitchelston-Scott is the one to watch.

Former Tour winners Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome have both been left out of Team Ineos’ Tour de France line-up, so won't be competing for the most coveted jersey in cycling.

2018 Tour winner Thomas has his focus set on Giro d’Italia in October, while four-time winner Froome will instead set his sights on securing the Vuelta a Espana later in the same month.

This year’s Tour was Froome’s final opportunity to secure a record-equalling fifth Tour title before he leaves Ineos to join the Israel Start-Up Nation squad next year.

How can I watch it?

As usual, ITV4 will be providing its excellent coverage of both the men's and women's races throughout the duration of the Tour.

Studio presenter Gary Imlach will be joined by commentators Ned Boulting and David Millar, and reporters Daniel Friebe and Matt Rendell.

Former Team Sky rider Peter Kennaugh and road racing legend Chis Boardman will also be on hand for expert analysis.

ITV4 will present its daily highlights show every evening at 7pm, as well as live coverage of every stage of the men's race during the day.

This year, the channel will also broadcast live footage from the La Course women's race on 29 August in Nice.

As well as the usual TV coverage, ITV.com/tourdefrance will feature live action, highlights and exclusive features, and their popular daily Tour De France podcast is returning once again.