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VeloNews official Tour de France guide — 2018

It is only a month away. We live for these three summer weeks. It is the Tour de France, July 7-29, and this year’s race is poised to be one of the most exciting editions in years. To get you up to speed on all the key stories, route info, and teams, VeloNews has again published the official Tour de France guide.

As always, this essential guide includes profiles and descriptions of all 21 stages of the summer’s most important race. The route includes some tricky twists for 2018. There is the devilishly rough cobblestone day on stage 9. Then we have an epic day to Alpe d’Huez on stage 12, and let’s not forget the wildcard, stage 17, which clocks in at just 65km — nearly all of it climbing. You’ll want to read up on the route and plan ahead to watch the most exciting stages.

Along with the route info, our guide profiles the 22 teams that will toe the line in the Vendée this July. We pick out key riders to watch from each squad, hand out red dossards to the aggressors who should animate the Tour, and also hear from the legendary Thomas Voeckler about what each team will need to do to succeed in France.

Then, we break out the GC favorites into a list of top-10 favorites to win the maillot jaune (plus four honorable mentions that couldn’t be left out). Each rider is analyzed and scored on a 40-point scale based on his merits as a climber, time trialist, his tactical acumen, as well as team strength.

Our official Tour de France guide also has a number of features to help you understand why this year’s edition of the race stands to be so exciting.

Andrew Hood looks back on the infamous stage 4 crash in the 2017 Tour that sent Mark Cavendish home with an injury and got Peter Sagan disqualified from the race. After the controversy, the UCI took steps to make sure this type of thing would never happen again.

Also in the realm of sprinters, Fred Dreier writes about Marcel Kittel, whose green jersey dream was shattered at the 2017 Tour de France in a blink of an eye, merely days before the final stage in Paris. Now he’s back and ready to reclaim his sprint throne. The trouble is, a new generation of sprint stars, such as Fernando Gaviria and Caleb Ewan may be standing in his way this Tour.

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We also look ahead to the Women’s WorldTour race to be held July 17 on a new route for La Course by Le Tour de France. Featuring the Romme and Colombière passes before the finale in Le Grand-Bornand, the fifth edition of La Course looks more beautiful than ever.

For the history buffs, we also have an original story from the 1938 edition of l’Auto about Gino Bartali’s first Tour de France victory. It was a victory that lives on today as part of the Tour’s legend.

And of course, this Tour guide wouldn’t be complete without a look at the ongoing controversy surrounding defending four-time champion Chris Froome and his unresolved Salbutamol case. Fred Dreier and Dane Cash debate the merits of Froome’s participation in this Tour, which he hopes will be his fifth yellow jersey, equaling the all-time record.

All that and much more in this official Tour de France guide from VeloNews.

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