Tour de France - Stage 1

Punchy day in the Basque Country kicks off a tough first week of the Tour

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Tour de France - Stage 1
Tour de France - Stage 1
  • Dates 1 Jul
  • Race Length 182 kms
  • Start Bilbao
  • Finish Bilbao
  • Race Category Elite Men

The Tour de France heads to the Basque Country in Spain for its grand départ this year, a second foreign start in a row after its visit to Copenhagen in 2022. There will be no big transfer back to France, though, with the peloton riding north from the Basque Country and into the Pyrenees.

If the sprinters were hoping for a straightforward day to kick off the Tour, they’re going to be disappointed with the stage that awaits them in the Basque capital. Starting and finishing in Bilbao, the route features five categorised climbs in its 182km loop, plus plenty more uncategorised rises in the unforgiving Basque terrain, for a total of more than 3,000m of elevation gain.

The first climb starts after just 11km, so should be a good launchpad for the early breakaway, particularly for any riders who want a chance at wearing the polka dot jersey in the first week. Expect a hard-fought battle to get in the break on this stage, especially from the Basque riders who will be relishing a chance to get out front on their home stage of the biggest race in the world.

Once a break has gone, the race should be fairly calm during the middle part, but the three climbs packed into the last 40km should ensure some fireworks towards the finale. The Col de Morga is an easier start, but the 7.3% Côte de Vivero and the 10% Côte de Pike will entice attacks from the puncheurs. There are also bonus seconds available at the top of the Côte de Pike, so we could see the GC favourites try to get involved - every second will count at the Tour, even in the first week.

There’s just 10km from the top of the final climb to the finish line, which also kicks up in the final kilometre. If an elite group or solo rider doesn’t go over the last climb, a particularly strong sprinter may be able to hold on to contest the finish, but this should really be one for the punchier riders in the peloton.


km 13.8 - Côte de Laukiz, 2.2km at 6.9% (cat 3)
km 67.8 - Côte de San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, 3.5km at 7.6% (cat 3)
km 140.9 - Col de Morga, 3.9km at 4.1% (cat 4)
km 154.9 - Côte de Vivero, 4.2km at 7.3% (cat 2)
km 172.4 - Côte de Pike, 2km at 10% (cat 3)

You can watch live and on-demand coverage of stage 1 of the Tour de France on GCN+ via the GCN app, website and connected devices. Plus, tune into The Breakaway for expert pre- and post-stage analysis from Orla Chennaoui, Dan Lloyd, Adam Blythe and Robbie McEwen. As always, territory restrictions will apply.

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