The 2011 Tour de France gets underway on Saturday morning as cyclists begin a month-long journey through France in cycling's biggest test of endurance. With 21 stages that range from flat, sprint routes to hilly, climbing routes, the Tour de France is a grueling test of endurance and strategy. And it all gets underway on July 2 with a 119 mile stage setup for sprinters.
For Seattle cycling fans, Tejay Van Garderen and Tyler Farrar are your local racers to watch, the latter of which should make waves early in the sprint stages. Saturday's opening stage is a chance for Farrar to show his stuff as the lead sprinter Garmin Cervelo. With six of the first seven stages setup as sprints -- the other is a team time trial -- you'll see plenty of Farrar near the finish line, at least if all goes according to plan for the Garmin team.
Here is the race schedule and route. The race begins on July 2 and ends on July 24 in Paris, with the traditional ride down the Champs-Élysées. For more basic information on the route, head over here.
|1||2-Jul||Passage du Gois – Mont des Alouettes||191.5 km (119 mi)||Flat stage|
|2||3-Jul||Les Essarts – Les Essarts||23 km (14 mi)||Team Time Trial|
|3||4-Jul||Olonne-sur-Mer – Redon||198 km (123 mi)||Flat stage|
|4||5-Jul||Lorient – Mûr-de-Bretagne||172.5 km (107 mi)||Flat stage|
|5||6-Jul||Carhaix – Cap Fréhel||164.5 km (102 mi)||Flat stage|
|6||7-Jul||Dinan – Lisieux||226.5 km (141 mi)||Flat stage|
|7||8-Jul||Le Mans – Chateauroux||218 km (135 mi)||Flat stage|
|8||9-Jul||Aigurande – Super-Besse||189 km (117 mi)||Medium-mountain stage|
|9||10-Jul||Issoire – Saint-Flour||208 km (129 mi)||Medium-mountain stage|
|10||12-Jul||Aurillac – Carmaux||158 km (98 mi)||Flat stage|
|11||13-Jul||Blaye-les-Mines – Lavaur||167.5 km (104 mi)||Flat stage|
|12||14-Jul||Cugnaux – Luz-Ardiden||211 km (131 mi)||Mountain stage|
|13||15-Jul||Pau – Lourdes||152.5 km (95 mi)||Mountain stage|
|14||16-Jul||Saint-Gaudens – Plateau de Beille||168.5 km (105 mi)||Mountain stage|
|15||17-Jul||Limoux – Montpellier||192.5 km (120 mi)||Flat stage|
|16||19-Jul||Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – Gap||162.5 km (101 mi)||Medium-mountain stage|
|17||20-Jul||Gap – Pinerolo||179 km (111 mi)||Mountain stage|
|18||21-Jul||Pinerolo – Col du Galibier / Serre Chevalier||200.5 km (125 mi)||Mountain stage|
|19||22-Jul||Modane – L'Alpe d'Huez||109.5 km (68 mi)||Mountain stage|
|20||23-Jul||Grenoble – Grenoble||42.5 km (26 mi)||Individual time trial|
|21||24-Jul||Creteil – Paris (Champs-Élysées)...||95 km (59 mi)||Flat stage|
Coverage of the Tour de France begins bright and early here on the West Coast thanks to the time difference. VERSUS will have the broadcast beginning at 5 a.m. PDT. There will be a replay of the stage on NBC at a much more manageable 11 a.m. PDT if you can survive without running into spoilers.
For the latest on Farrar and Van Garderen's journey, stay with our Tour de France StoryStream. For more on the race, including full coverage and results, visit SB Nation's Tour de France StoryStream or stop by Podium Cafe.