As much as we think every stage of the Tour de France is worth watching, we know that some of the 21 stages are more visually compelling and potentially newsworthy than others. And it’s with that reality in mind that we’ve compressed the route into the five stages most worth watching…but really, we encourage you to watch as many as possible.



Sepp Kuss (USA – Jumbo – Visma) – Tadej Pogacar (SLO – UAE Team Emirates). Photo: Bettini


Stage 5: An Early Cobbles Risk

The Tour runs through northern France over 11 miles of cobbles that are usually featured in the notorious Paris-Roubaix spring classic. Last visited in 2018 when Geraint Thomas produced a strong performance before going on to win the race, the stage can hamper the chances of those (many) riders who are uncomfortable on cobbles. The cobbles themselves are from old mining roads and cut through beetroot or potato fields. Dusty in dry weather and notoriously muddy in the wet, this is one of the early highlights of the race and will see an intense battle for a prestigious stage win.

Photo: Bettini

Stage 11: The Highest Summit

Photo: ASO/Pauline Ballet

Only the purest of climbers will thrive here, as the Tour surpasses the tree line to rarefied air at over 7800 feet. To get there, the peloton also has to cross the Col du Galibier, the highest point of the race at 8600 feet with an endurance-sapping 10-mile ascent.

Stage 12: Fireworks on Alpe d’Huez

Following Stage 11’s onslaught of ascents, the following stage is comprised of another 40 miles of them. The day will be dominated by scenes of partying fans on the hillsides as the iconic climb up the Alpe d’Huez returns to the Tour route on the French national holiday of Bastille Day, July 14th. Stages 11 and 12 could give a clear idea of who could win the race in Paris.

Stage 18: A Pilgrimage to the Mountains

Dries Devenyns (BEL – Deceuninck – Quick-Step) – Tim Declercq (BEL – Deceuninck – Quick-Step) – Davide Ballerini (ITA – Deceuninck – Quick-Step) – Mark Cavendish (GBR – Deceuninck – Quick-Step). Photo: Bettini

The stage sets off from the pilgrimage city of Lourdes and heads up the Hautacam climb, with eight miles at a steep incline on a narrow, winding ascent. We should know at the summit who the overall champion will be—or, at the very least, which names have for sure fallen out of contention.

Stage 20: The final time trial

Chris Froome (GBR – Israel Start-Up Nation). Photo Bettini

 In the 2020 Tour de France, race leader Primoz Roglic was memorably humiliated by his then-lesser-known, younger Slovenian compatriot Tadej Pogacar, who overhauled him to clinch the title. This 25-mile individual effort provides one more potential for another gaffe and will be a test of physical and mental endurance for a dog-tired peloton.


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