Nairo Quintana set to return home following Tirreno for "calm" approach towards the Giro d'Italia/Tour de France double attempt this year.
Showcasing everything from high mountain stages in the Alps and Pyrénées to high-speed sprint finishes like the final day on the Champs-Élysées, the Tour de France is the season’s biggest race.
The Tour has been held annually in July since 1903, when it was first organized by Henri Desgrange, a charismatic editor at French newspaper L’Auto. Though the race was not run during the two World Wars, it remains the “Grande Boucle,” the oldest, most prestigious of the three-week grand tours.
In addition to individual wins in the Tour’s 21 stages, riders vie for three coveted jerseys: yellow for the overall winner on time, green for the best rider in the points classification (ordinarily a sprinter), and polka-dot for the best climber, who collects the most points on the route’s biggest ascents. Prizes are also awarded for the best overall team, based on cumulative time, and the most aggressive rider, which is decided by a race jury.
Four riders have won the Tour overall a record five times each: France’s Jacques Anquetil, Belgian Eddy Merckx, Frenchman Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain of Spain. Although American Lance Armstrong finished first in seven Tours, he was stripped of those yellow jerseys after confessing to doping.
The Colombian is gearing up for an attempt to win both the pink (Giro d'Italia) and yellow (Tour de France) jerseys this season.
The 4km Passage du Gois was last featured in the race in 2011, when it hosted the start of the French grand tour.
Esteban Chaves already has two grand tour podium finishes, and this summer he will shoot for another one in France.
Romain Bardet is cycling's most unlikely star, and he could end France's Tour de France drought after finishing second in 2016.
Louis Meintjes is a pure climber with tons of potential — how far can the South African go in the Tour de France?
The 2018 Tour de France will start from Vendée on Sunday, June 30.
Giuseppe Martinelli directed Marco Pantani to his double in 1998 and said Nairo Quintana has the talent to pull it off.
Andrew Hood breaks down Nairo Quintana's Giro-Tour plans, which come on the heels of his strong performance at the Volta a Valenciana.
Romain Bardet, 26, is the top French rider to win a Tour de France title, a feat not accomplished since 1985.