Climbs of the 2021 Tour de France

Looking down at a cyclist on the road to Luz Ardiden in the Pyrenees

The final few kilometres of Luz Ardiden which will be the last climb featured in the 2021 edition of the Tour de France.

Cloud rising up the valley on the Col du Tourmalet

Looking back at the final few hundred metres of the Col du Tourmalet. The riders will head down this way in 2021 before finishing on Luz Ardiden.

The 2021 Tour de France features 25 different categorised climbs, two of which will be climbed twice by the riders. In this post we have included lots of information about the climbs so you have everything you need to know at your fingertips in the one location. We have put together a stage by stage list of each climb and relevant information in the table below.

A brief history of the mountains in the Tour de France

In most editions of the Tour de France the mountain stages are where the race is won or lost. A single bad day for a rider in the mountains can see them lose minutes to rivals and an end to their title bid. On long mountain climbs there is nowhere to hide and any little chinks in a riders armour are usually found out. Over the years climbs such as Alpe d'Huez, Col du Galibier, Mont Ventoux, Col du Tourmalet and Col d'Aubisque have become synonymous with the race.

The mountain stages are some of the most popular for people to watch the race and there are many iconic images of riders navigating a sea of spectators. It is estimated that many hundreds of thousands of fans line the mountain roads as they twist and turn their way to the summit. On rare occasions fans get a little too close and bring a rider down.

First mountain stage in the Pyrenees

The mountains first entered the Tour de France in the 8th edition in 1910. In that year stage 10 started in the Pyrenean town of Bagneres de Luchon and climbed Col du Peyresourde, Col d'Aspin, Col du Tourmalet and Col d'Aubisque before finishing 326km later in Bayon. Octave Lapize finished the stage first in a time of 14hrs 10mins. No mean feat given that all the mountain passes were dirt roads back in those days and the bikes had nowhere near the range of gears modern bikes now have.

Inclusion of the French Alps

While the organisers deemed the addition of the mountains to be successful the riders were less impressed and there were protests in 1910 about the stage. Nevertheless, in 1911 the French Alps were added to the race with the inclusion of Col du Galibier, Col de Castillion and Col de Braus. This was in addition to the stage in the Pyrenees.

Since those early days both the Pyrenees and French Alps have featured in the race annually. In later years climbs in other regions such as the Jura, the Vosges and Massif Central have been added to the race. The Pyrenees and French Alps have generally taken turns in being featured in the all important last week of the race. In 2021 it is the Pyrenees that will close out the mountain stages for this edition of the race.

2021 Tour de France climb stats

The 2021 Tour de France includes 10 stages with categorised climbs, three of which includes a summit finish; Stage 9 Tignes, Stage 17 Col du Portet and Stage 18 Luz Ardiden. The race includes 27 categorised climbs on 25 different mountains, Mur de Bretagne and Mont Ventoux will be climbed twice by the riders.

There are four climbs over 2,000m with the highest being Port d'Envilaria at 2,408m, followed by Col du Portet at 2,215m, Col du Tourmalet at 2,115m and Montée de Tignes at 2,089m. The longest climb is the climb to Mont Ventoux from Sault which is 24.3km at an average gradient of 5%.

We will continue to update this section as more information becomes available. The detailed route is not yet announced for every stage.

StageClimbProfileDistance from stage start (km)Stage distanceClimb distanceAverage gradientElevation at topTour de France appearancesComments
1Côte de la Fosse Aux Loups,960:911-500-0-90/1cf1818418735.70%176A short punchy climb to the finish with a maximum gradient of 14%Cat 3
2Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan,960:925-500-0-90/635fd164.518226.90%2934The first of two ascents of this short but steep climb. Cat 3
2Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan,960:925-500-0-90/635fd18018226.90%2934The final climb to the finish line.Cat 3
7Signal d'Uchon,960:925-500-0-90/537672252485.75.70%6351This is the first time this climb has featured in the Tour de France
8Côte de Mont Saxonnex
8Col de Romme,960:868-500-0-90/120e2113.51518.88.90%12973HC
8Col de la Colombière,960:868-500-0-90/120e21291517.58.50%161823Cat 2
9Côte de Domancy 1
9Col des Saisies 1
9Col du Pré,960:886-500-0-90/74c1868.514512.67.70%17482HC
9Comet de Roseland,960:886-500-0-90/74c1887.51455.76.50%196814Cat 1
9Montée de Tignes,960:925-500-0-90/f6062122145215.60%20893The first summit finish of the 2021 Tour de FranceCat 1
11Col de la Liguière
11Mont Ventoux (Sault),960:925-500-0-90/f45509819924.35%191018The first of two ascents up the giant of Provence from the town of SaultHC
11Mont Ventoux (Saint Estève),960:925-500-0-90/36583161.519915.78.80%191018The second climb up Mont Ventoux is from the more traditional side starting in Bedoin.HC
14Col de Montségur84.81844.28.60%10593Cat 2
14Col de la Croix des Morts is the first time this climb has featured in the Tour de France
14Col de Saint Louis is the first time this climb has featured in the Tour de France
15Montée de Mont Louis781928.45.70%15601This is the first time this climb has featured in the Tour de France
15Col de Puymorens 2
15Port d'Envalira highest pass of the 2021 Tour de FranceCat 1
15Col de Beixalis 1
16Col de Port42.616911.45.10%124912Cat 2
16Col de la Core 1
16Col de Portet d'Aspet 2
17Col du Peyresourde 1
17Col de Val Louron-Azet 1
17Col du Portet,960:925-500-0-90/6ce0c162178168.70%22152The second of the 3 summit finishes for the 2021 Tour de FranceHC
18Col du Tourmalet,960:925-500-0-90/1c09e77.513017.17.30%211559HC
18Luz Ardiden,960:925-500-0-90/6addf116.513013.37.417159The last summit finish and climb of the 2021 Tour de FranceHC

Categorisation of Tour de France climbs

Each of the climbs is given a categorisation which is an indication of the difficulty of the climb. Hors category (HC) are the toughest climbs followed by category 1, category 2, category 3 and category 4. A category 1 climb will be harder than a category 3 climb so the lower the number the harder the climb. A climb can change categorisation based on how far into a stage it might be. For example a climb could be considered a category 2 climb if it comes early on in the stage when riders have fresh legs, or a category 1 climb if it comes towards the end.

The climb categorisation also comes into play when awarding points in the Polka Dot jersey competition. For example on a HC climb the first rider over the top will be awarded 20 points while on a category 4 climb the first rider will be awarded 1 point. On a HC climb points are awarded for the first 8 riders while on a category 4 climb only the top rider receives any points. There is a sliding scale of points and positions between HC and category 4.

At present the detailed route for the 2021 Tour de France has not been announced. As such the official categorisation of the climbs is not yet available. We will update the article once the information is released.

Planning your own cycling holiday to France

If you are planning a trip to France to ride some of these climbs and the many more on offer our site includes lots more information. We have written guides on the Best base for cycling in the Pyrenees and Where to stay in the French Alps with lots of information about these two areas. Our Destination guide page has more detailed information about The Pyrenees, The French Alps, The Alpes Maritimes, The Jura and Provence and Luberon.

We also have lists of cycle hotels, airline luggage rules, cycle tour companies and bike travel cases to help you plan your trip.

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