How long is the Tour de France?

The Tour de France has changed dramatically since the first edition in 1903. We examine how the length and speed of the Tour de France has evolved with time

The Tour de France is the world's biggest bike race and the leading event in the men's professional cycling calendar. Riders strive their whole careers to win stages, or even to just start and finish the race.

The 2022 Tour de France follows a standard formula of 21 stages, with a mixture of flat, hilly, and mountainous days, as well as a cobbled stage on this year's route. The difference in this edition though is that the Tour begins in Denmark with three stages before moving back to France, adding in a travel day after stage three to allow teams and race staff time to move the whole circus over from Scandinavia. 

That means the Tour this year will be staged over 24 days rather than 23, with one travel day and the usual two rest days breaking up the three weeks. The Tour begins on July 1 and ends in Paris on July 24.

How far is the Tour de France 2022 in kilometres and miles?

This 109th edition of the Tour de France covers a total distance of 3,328km, or 2,068 miles, making it the second longest of the three Grand Tours in 2022, with the Giro d’Italia the longest at 3410.3km (the Vuelta a España is the shortest at 3280.5km). 

This Tour de France is shorter than last year’s edition, which totalled 3414km, and is the fourth shortest edition of the race in the modern era. The first three editions of the race totalled less than 3000km but were spread across just six gruelling stages. Following that, the Tour tended to be much longer, covering distances in excess of 5000km in the 1920s and regularly exceeding 4000km right up until the 1980s, when distances began to be reduced. 

Now the race has found a happy medium – incorporating a variety of distances over the course of the three weeks that make for exciting and unpredictable racing, but remain within the capabilities of the modern peloton.

It’s not all about distance though. The challenges that face the riders throughout the 21 stages of a Grand Tour come in myriad shapes and sizes. This year, the race begins in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, with a 13km time trial. With a further, longer time trial on stage 20, there will be a total of 53km raced against the clock in 2022. Stage one will give time trial specialists the chance to fight for the yellow jersey before the remaining two stages in Denmark offer chances for the sprinters. The total distance raced in Denmark will be 394km, and the race will also enter Switzerland on stages nine and ten, making a total of four countries visited on the 2022 route.

The race then travels to France for the remaining stages and the riders will face the cobblestones of Northern France and Belgium for the first time in four years on stage five – 19.4 km of pavé, to be exact, split across 11 sectors ranging from 1.3 to 2.8 km in length.

The following day will see the longest stage of the race – stage six travels through the Ardennes from Binche to Longwy across 220km, one of only two stages that totals 200km or above. 

Later in the race, elevation metres will be uppermost in the rider’s minds as they contend with the dramatic climbs of the Alps and Pyrenees. The race will climb a staggering total of 48,530m, with the most elevation gained on an individual stage being 4,692m on stage 11. The highest altitude reached by the riders will be 2,642m, atop the Col du Galibier, which they will have to summit twice, once on stage 11 and once on stage 12 from a different side.

Tour de France distance over previous ten editions

  • Tour de France 2022: 3,328 kilometres / 2,068 miles

  • Tour de France 2021: 3,414 kilometres / 2,122 miles

  • Tour de France 2020: 3,484 kilometres / 2,165 miles

  • Tour de France 2019: 3,366 kilometres / 2,091 miles

  • Tour de France 2018: 3,351 kilometres / 2,082 miles

  • Tour de France 2017: 3,540 kilometres / 2,200 miles

  • Tour de France 2016: 3,529 kilometres / 2,193 miles

  • Tour de France 2015: 3,360 kilometres / 2,088 miles

  • Tour de France 2014: 3,661 kilometres / 2,275 miles

  • Tour de France 2013: 3,404 kilometres / 2,115 miles

  • Tour de France 2012: 3,497 kilometres / 2,173 miles

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