- 1 prologue
- 9 flat stages
- 6 mountain stages and 3 summit finishes
- 4 medium mountain stages
- 1 individual time-trial stage (52 km)
Rotterdam is an awesome Dutch city, although when you go there, you feel like you've been beamed out of Europe. Since it suffered so much damage during the war, it had to be rebuilt and hence feels much more modern than the cobblestones and steeple-centric layouts of its neighbouring cities.
The Dutch have hosted Le Grand Depart more times than any of France's other neighbouring countries. If you want to know why, read these few lines, written in L’Équipe in 1954, when the Grande Boucle decided to start outside French borders for the very first time: “All of the Netherlands seemed to have gathered on the roads of Wassenaar, Delft, Rotterdam… Tens of thousands of spectators in closed ranks, uninterrupted, for kilometres and kilometres, clapping, cheering for everything that had to do with the Tour, the cyclists, the motorcyclists, the cars that followed or that led… [In this way] they made a triumph of the first stage!”
Yep, that sounds like the Netherlands to me.
When the Tour gets rolling, I'll be at home in Port Elgin, so I will hopefully get to see the opening stages on a real TV instead of following the live updates from a computer screen. The one month of the year I wish I had cable!
Vive le tour!!