First a few facts:
- 1 Prologue, 20 stages, 2 rest days, 22 teams, 9 riders each.
- Total distance: 3,496.9 km (2,173 mi)
- 11 of the 25 climbs in the Tour are in the Pyrenees.
- Only 3 of the stages have uphill finishes.
- There will be 101.1 km of individual time trial in 2012.
- The Tour will begin in Belgium this year. It will also visit Switzerland.
- The Tour will flow in a clockwise direction in 2012. It rotates every other year - clockwise then counter-clockwise).
- There will be 9 new first ever stage towns in 2012.
- Of the podium finishers from 2011 (Evans, A.Schleck, Contador) only Evans will return in 2012.
- George Hincapie (USA) will set a record this year by racing seventeen times at the Tour de France.
- Approximately 2 million euros will be awarded to the teams and the riders, including 450,000 euros for the winner of the general individual classification (yellow jersey).
- The caravan gives away over 16 million gifts with € 200,000 to € 500,000 investment from each advertiser from 33 brands represented.
- 47% of spectators come first and foremost to see the caravan (learn more).
|2012 Tour de France Map (link to official larger map)|
(Hiding behind those fancy red arrows are profile maps of some of the stages)
|Stage||Type||Date||Start and Finish||Distance||Details|
|P||Prologue||Saturday 30 June||Liège - Liège||6.1 km|
|1||Plain||Sunday 1 July||Liège - Seraing||198 km|
|2||Plain||Monday 2 July||Visé - Tournai||207 km|
|3||Medium mountains||Tuesday 3 July||Orchies - Boulogne-sur-Mer||197 km|
|4||Plain||Wednesday 4 July||Abbeville - Rouen||214 km|
|5||Plain||Thursday 5 July||Rouen - Saint-Quentin||197 km|
|6||Plain||Friday 6 July||Épernay - Metz||210 km|
|7||Medium mountains||Saturday 7 July||Tomblaine - La Planche des Belles Filles||199 km|
|8||Medium mountains||Sunday 8 July||Belfort - Porrentruy||154 km|
|9||Individual time-trial||Monday 9 July||Arc-et-Senans - Besançon||38 km|
|10||High Mountains||Wednesday 11 July||Mâcon - Bellegarde-sur-Valserine||194 km|
|11||High Mountains||Thursday 12 July||Albertville - La Toussuire - Les Sybelles||140 km|
|12||Medium mountains||Friday 13 July||Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne - Annonay Davézieux||220 km|
|13||Plain||Saturday 14 July||Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux - Le Cap d’Agde||215 km|
|14||High Mountains||Sunday 15 July||Limoux - Foix||192 km|
|15||Plain||Monday 16 July||Samatan - Pau||160 km|
|16||High Mountains||Wednesday 18 July||Pau - Bagnères-de-Luchon||197 km|
|17||High Mountains||Thursday 19 July||Bagnères-de-Luchon - Peyragudes||144 km|
|18||Plain||Friday 20 July||Blagnac - Brive-la-Gaillarde||215 km|
|19||Individual time-trial||Saturday 21 July||Bonneval - Chartres||52 km|
|20||Plain||Sunday 22 July||Rambouillet - Paris Champs-Élysées||130 km|
The caravan, on the first day, will present at 12:00, the first rider in the Prologue will start at 14:00, the last rider will finish at 17:25. Most standard Tour de France days expect the Caravan to begin around 10:20am, the riders to start between 12:00 and 12:30 and finish shortly after 17:00.
For exact time schedules, please click on the Stage # link (and select the Time Schedule tab) for the complete stage schedule. Time are in France (CEST) time, (-6hrs EDT) (-8hr MDT) (-9hr PDT): Prologue ; Stage 1 ; Stage 2 ; Stage 3 ; Stage 4 ; Stage 5 ; Stage 6 ; Stage 7 ; Stage 8 ; Stage 9 ; Stage 10 ; Stage 11 ; Stage 12 ; Stage 13 ; Stage 14 ; Stage 15 ; Stage 16 ; Stage 17 ; Stage 18 ; Stage 19 ; Stage 20
Which riders to watch in 2012
Almost everyone has their eye on the top-5 candidates for overall victory: Cadel Evans (BMC), Bradley Wiggins (Sky), Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas), Frank Schleck (RSNT), and Robert Gesink (Rabobank). I expect to see a surprise on the podium, but the riders I am most interested in watching are the young ones - the twins Peter and Martin Velits, Tejay van Garderen, Marcel Kittel, and especially Peter Sagan.
The first week of the Tour, when the stages are in northern France, the fans will go crazy over Philippe Gilbert and Frank Schleck. When the Tour passes into Switzerland, the fans will turn out in support of Fabian Cancellara. The French have their favorite as well - Tommy Voeckler and his entire Europcar team. Expect to be entertained by the best riders to interview including Jens Voigt, Chris Horner, Pierre Rolland and Bernhard Eisel.
NO BONUSES For this 2012 edition, no bonuses will be awarded in intermediate sprints and stage finishes. Official time remains the absolute reference.
A SOLE INTERMEDIATE SPRINT As in 2011, the points for the green jersey classification will be awarded at stage arrivals and during the sole intermediate sprint in the straight stages.
POINTS SCALE INCREASED IN THE MOUNTAINS For this 2012 edition, points will be awarded to the first ten riders who go over the top of the highest level mountain passes. The points will be doubled for summit finishes.
For the schedule of TV coverage of the Tour de France, please read information by Pedal Dancer at How to watch the 2012 Tour de France.
For online live coverage - both Steephill.TV and Cycling Fans compile the best online links for viewing. Steephill.TV also compiles the best list of articles and videos, and photos. The tracker app is this one in Australia - SBS Tour de France Skoda Tour Tracker 2012 at thetourtracker.com/.
And this one in the United States: TourdeTrance.nbcsports.com/
Twitter: If there is any one person I would recommend following on Twitter it would be Aussie Edy Budicin @edbud68, he sorts through and offers the best he finds out on the web and on Twitter - he will point you straight to the good stuff without wasting your time. Also the @Orica_GreenEDGE team is producing Backstage Pass videos that should be fun and informative throughout the tour. Maxime Monfort @maxmonfort is also worth a follow, so is Robbie McEwen @mcewenrobbie, and Manuel Quinziato @manuelquinziato. VeloPeloton will bring you great local photography of the Pyrenees @velopeloton. And of course, please follow me @karenrake.
|Classification Jersey Sponsors for the 2012 Tour de France|
Pedal Dancer series: Guess Where? (Guess that landmark)
Word of the Day: Prologue
Word of the Day: Repos
Word of the Day at the TDF: voiture balai
Word of the Day at the TDF: Boucle
Word of the Day at the TDF: Le maillot verte
Word of the Day at the TDF: contre la montre
Word of the Day: Embrocation
Word of the Day: Dossard
Word of the Day: Penultimate
Who is Škoda
Who is the Devil?
Learn about the Tour de France caravan
2012 ProTeam bikes
2012 ProTeam wheels and tires
2012 ProTeam jerseys
2012 l'Étape du Tour Mondovelo
An interview with Thomson Bike Tours
Climbs of 2012 Tour de France - Alps
Recommended Reading: Tour de France History
Recommended Reading: 2012 Grand Tours
Who to follow at the Tour de France - Riders & DS
Tour de France Prize Money (2010), Updated Prize Money for the Tour de France (2011)
The best climbs in Europe in the Grand Tours (from 2010, but interesting)
If you plan to travel to France yourself to see the Tour de France, please enjoy Pedal Dancer's FRANCE CYCLING page or the FRANCE TRAVEL page, for more ride information and travel tips.
If you are interested in the famous climbs in France - please see FRANCE CYCLING
|After all those days racing, and they win by seconds (larger view at link)|
Le Tour 2012 White Jersey Preview: A Light but Powerful Year, by Podium Cafe
Tour de France Wins by Nation by VeloPeloton
Tour de France – Race Day Viewing Options by VeloPeloton
|Wearers of the 2011 classification jerseys (larger view at link)|