TdF 2022 – How Long Is The Tour De France?

The Tour de France starts on 1 July with a 13.2km Prologue. That's the only short stage on a race that covers many, many kilometres.

By Molly Hurford |

The Tour de France is cycling’s most well-known stage race, taking place over the course of three weeks every July (unless, of course, it’s a crazy year like 2020).

The elite pack of cyclists will cover hundreds of kilometres and climb thousands of meters of elevation as they roll through different parts of France. But how long will they ride, exactly?

The answer depends on the year, and what metric you’re using to measure length. Honestly, if you’re trying to explain the Tour de France to a new fan, it can feel a little confusing. Here, we’re looking at all the different ways to consider the length of the Tour de France.

How long is the Tour de France last on average?

The Tour de France is usually 23 days long and split into 21 stages—days of riding—with a couple of rest days spread out during the event. Depending on how the dates are organised, though, some years it’s been run with only 20 stages, while other years have as many as 25 stages, and the first two Tours ever run in the early 1900s only had six stages.

Seriously, how long is the Tour de France on average?

In general, the total mileage of the 21 stages combined tends to hover around 3 500km over the 21 days of racing, which averages to around 160km of racing most days (via

Is every stage the same length?

Not at all! Stages in the Tour de France vary wildly in length so that some days involve 290-plus kilometre long races and others are 50km fast and furious short stages. The styles of racing also change: Some stages are individual time trials, others are team time trials, and most are standard road races that take place with a mass start. (Here’s how the 2021 stages are broken down.)

What’s the shortest Tour de France stage?

In 1988, it was the shortest race of the modern era, with the shortest time trial and flat stage, and the second-shortest total distance in history at only 3 268km. The one-kilometer individual time trial from the prologue of the 1988 Tour de France is the shortest race ever run during the Tour, and it was won in 1 minute and 14 seconds by Guido Bontempi (and must have been incredibly painful). The 1988 race also contained the shortest flat stage, which was only 37.8km. That stage, by the way, was won by Adri van der Poel in 46 minutes and 36 seconds. Ardent cycling fans might recognise Adri as the father of multi-time cyclocross world champion, road and mountain bike superstar Mathieu van der Poel.

What was the shortest Tour de France?

Depends on what you mean by the shortest! The second Tour de France ever run—back in 1904—was only six stages long—but it covered 2 300km, so some stages lasted for nearly a full day. In the last two decades, the shortest Tour was in 2002 and covered 3 250km across 20 stages.

What was the longest Tour de France?

That would be the 1926 Tour de France, which covered 5 710km in an attempt to ride around the border of France… but close behind that is the 1919 Tour de France, which also has the dubious honour of being the slowest Tour de France ever.

Despite the fact that it was almost 320km shorter than the 1926 route, it was only a few hours faster in overall ride time for the winner. It also had the longest one-day stage—424km—and it reportedly took the winner almost 19 hours to complete it. That year’s Tour also only had 10 finishers out of 69 starters, the lowest number of Tour finishers ever. Yes, 1919 was rough.

What about elevation gain?

Remember, a lot of the stages of the Tour de France go up and down mountains, so not only are riders contending with 160km days in the saddle, they’re climbing thousands of metres in the process. In 2020, one stage included 4 811m of climbing over the course of 200km That’s a half-Everest in a single stage.

How fast do riders go?

In recent years, the average speed has hovered around 40 kilometres per hour, though it changes a bit from year to year depending on the riders, the elevation gain, the temperature, and the length of the stages. But it stays fairly close to that 40 mark.

What’s the deal for 2022?

The 2022 Tour de France begins on July 1 with a route that is just over 3 328 kilometres long. The shortest stage is 13.2km and the longest stage is 217.6km.

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