Tour de France 2020: When, where, who and why?

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In a year when a host of huge sporting events have been scrapped from the schedule, the Tour de France has remained on the calendar, albeit shunted to a later date.

It represents the kind of reluctance to surrender that is so common among the riders who compete in what is arguably sport's most gruelling event.

After a long wait, the most famous event on two wheels will begin on Saturday and cycling fans from across the planet will be tuning in.

But what about those who are not usually inclined to take in this annual parade of lean men riding expensive bikes in even more eye-wateringly garish lycra?

Well, there ought to be something in it even for the most cynical observer because, put simply, there is nothing else quite like it.

WHY SHOULD I WATCH IT?

Cycling may not be 'your thing', but the Tour de France is about so much more. It's a colossal feat of human endeavour, which this year will feature 176 men representing 22 teams taking on a challenge like no other. There will be blood, sweat and, in all likelihood, tears. And it's remarkably tactical to boot, while arcane unwritten rules of the road determine the actions of the peloton. And if you've never seen a bunch sprint before, you're in for a treat.

OKAY, WHEN IS IT?

The action begins on August 29 and runs all the way until September 20, with just two days in that three-week ordeal for the riders to rest their weary legs.

I GUESS THIS IS AN EASY ONE, BUT WHERE IS IT?

The answer to this would not normally be quite so obvious, but this year's Tour de France does in fact take place exclusively in France. The start, known as the Grand Depart, is in Nice and, as ever, the whole thing will end with a procession down the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

RIGHT, AND WHO IS GOING TO WIN?

The Tour has been dominated by Team Sky, now Team INEOS, for the best part of a decade. Indeed, they have won seven of the past eight editions. However, four-time winner Chris Froome and 2018 victor Geraint Thomas will not feature this year. Reigning champion Egan Bernal will be there, though, and the Colombian will be among the favourites, with Jumbo-Visma's Primoz Roglic shaping as his closest rival despite an injury scare this month.

INTRIGUING. ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW?

There is so much more, but the best way to learn about this historic and frankly peerless sporting spectacle is to watch it. With the peloton covering 3,470 kilometres across 21 stages, there is plenty of time for you to check it out. Even when the race is lacking in drama, the scenery – particularly in the numerous mountain stages – is simply glorious.  


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