The sun is shining and a veritable horde of elite cyclists are hitting the tarmac, cobbles and trail as they compete for the best times. That can only mean one thing: it's Tour de France time again.
After last year's route began in Germany and tore through Belgium before finishing up in France, the 105th instalment of the tour is held almost exclusively within the borders of its namesake. And over the race's 21 stages, riders will cover a total distance of 3,351 kilometres, which includes eight flat stages, five hilly stages and six mountain stages (with three altitude finishes), as well as an individual time trial and team time trial.
There's now a few stages in the books, and if you've been watching along, it's likely you've been wondering whether you could take on the same terrain. But you're only a mere mortal, and it's unlikely you're going to be taking a month off work just to cycle around France.
However, with Strava you're able to tap into sections from each stage and log your time and stats through a sports watch, heart rate monitor or other bit of cycling tech. Below, we'll break down a few that you may want to tackle on your next cycling trip, whether you're a novice or seasoned saddle-sitter. Now, get on your bike.
Let's kick things off with a mix of stage 1 and stage 2. The full 85.3km route involves a total elevation of 696m, passing through the D87 and D90 roads (to the north of Les Sables-d'Olonne) on D57, D12 and D36 (between Saint-Georges-de-Pointindoux and Nesmy). This makes up 33km of the official Le Tour route, though, of course, like the rest of this list, you can also take small Segments from each route.
For example, there's the Cote De La Corde section, a 0.44km hit featuring an elevation difference of around 28m. If you want to top the leaderboard, you're going to need to top 47 seconds, 33km/h and let your power hover around 500 watts.
There are plenty of mountain stages to tackle through Strava's Segments and routes, but this is perhaps the most accessible, while still presenting a considerable challenge.
Similar to En Vendée, you're going to take on 84.68km, though the elevation is a slightly more arduous 978m – most of which comes throughout the second half of the route. In terms of how it relates to the 2018 Tour route, riders will share the Sartrouville to Poissy, Chavenay to Villepreux and La Celle-Saint-Cloud to Paris sections, while the bicycle path from N184 (Saint-Germain-en-Laye) to Poissy to cross the forest is also involved.
If you want to tackle a specific Segment, why not look at the ML – Saint Germain, a 4.77km streak which hugs the Seine.
A nice city escape is all well and good, but if you want to really challenge yourself, take a look at this replica of stage 16 of the Tour.
This is only 31.1km of action, but the Argeles – Lourdes Cycle Path allows you to reach some serious speeds. Some of the top speeds in the community rest at above 40km/h, thanks to the fairly rapid elevation dip.
Quite possibly the most challenging of the five routes we'll outline here, this is one for those who love a climb. Taking inspiration from the Tour itself, riders will be able to experience the same Alpe d'Huez climb, as well as the Col de Sarenne, Mont-de-Lans and Auris balconies.
There are tons of Segments to choose from, but the entire route is a full 72.4km of calf-burning pain. Over the first 10km, you'll be experiencing a climb of around 1,000m, though the rapid decline begins at 25km and then evens out for the rest of the journey.
Dans le Nord
As the peloton progresses through Lille, you'll be able to take advantage of one segment which takes on the cobbles through this route. While it's only a very small, 1.42km section, stretching from Willems to Hem, you'll be able to top speeds of 35km/h with enough power in your legs.
For the rest of the route, you'll be on the road, and not the cobbles, completing a full 24.87km loop with intermittent elevation throughout the ride.
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