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If you haven’t paid attention to pro cycling before but are getting into it this year, here’s what to expect, how to watch, who to watch, and which stages are going to be the most fun to tune into in this year’s Tour de France, which starts on. 

Pro cycling can be a little intimidating and tough to understand when you first get into it, but the Tour de France is an absolute blast to watch, whether you’re sneaking stages while you’re at work or watching it while on the trainer in the evening. 

When is the 2024 Tour de France?

This year’s 21-stage Tour de France begins on Saturday, June 29, and runs through Sunday, July 21, with two rest days in the mix.

How long is the Tour de France?

The longest stage in the Tour this year is 229 kilometers (142 miles) and the shortest stage is a 34 kilometer (22 mile) individual time trial. Over the 21 stages, riders will rack up 3492 kilometers of riding including a whopping 52,320 meters of elevation gain—nearly 10,000 more meters than the Giro d’Italia, which was a similar distance. (Check out the full route here.)

Who are the top racers to watch this year?

  • Tadej Pogačar of UAE Team Emirates is the obvious choice for the win—in fact, it would be more surprising if he didn’t win it again. He’s in fantastic shape this year and keeps riding away from the rest of the peloton in the single-day classics, but he normally does even better in stage races. In this year’s Giro, he won by a historic margin. Added to that, he’s had more time off this year (uninjured) than most of the other racers, so he’s coming in fresh.
  • João Almeida: Keep an eye on Tadej’s teammate João, who will be working for Tadej but also going for some stage wins of his own after winning two stages at the Tour de Swisse in the last week. 
  • Mark Cavendish will be going for a historic 35th stage with at the Tour to cement his GOAT status as a sprinter, so assume he’ll be jockeying for position on any flat stages
  • Derek Gee: The Israel – Premier Tech had a breakout performance at the Criterium du Dauphine and is planning to hunt for a Tour stage win. 
  • Remco Evenepoel: The Soudal Quick-Step rider has been touted as the one rider who just may be able to go up against Pogačar at this point. 
  • Casper Pedersen: Pederson will be the road captain for Remco Evenepoel most of the time. As a former winner of Paris-Tours, he knows the roads around Troyes very well and might end up going for the win on stage 9 too. His main role will be to guide his captain safely to the finish, but on a day like this you never know.
  • Mads Pedersen: If Tao isn’t fully back in fighting form, there’s still Mads of Lidl Trek. He was on the podium at Paris-Roubaix, so you know he’s capable of performing in the absolute toughest conditions. 
  • Jonas Vingegaard: The Team Visma | Lease a Bike racer who’s won the last couple of Tours had a terrible crash early in the season that’s taken him months to recover. The Tour will essentially be his first race back and it’s still TBD how he’ll fare after a season of no racing. 
  • Sepp Kuss: America’s best hope for a Tour win, Sepp will be riding to support Jonas, unless Jonas can’t keep up… Then, it’s all Sepp.
  • Tom Pidcock: The INEOS Grenadiers racer, like Remco, is considered one of the few riders capable of beating Tadej. But he’s untested in long stage races like this and also will have a gold medal in the MTB race at the Olympics at top of mind.
  • Mathieu Van der Poel: The Alpecin – Deceuninck is joined by teammate Jasper Philipsen as two of the fastest racers in the peloton today. Whether they can make a dent in GC standings remains to be seen but surely both will light up a few stages at minimum. 
  • Georg Zimmermann: Then Team Intermarche-Wanty racer narrowly missed his first Tour de France stage win last year and is almost guaranteed part of every breakaway that goes for the win on the hillier stages. The first week could already suit him very well and he could already be part of the action in the two opening stages. The fight for the first KOM jersey will be ferocious but he’s the right man to keep going when it gets really tough. 

What’s the deal with all the different color jerseys they give out?

Yellow: the rider who’s leading the General Classification, meaning he has the lowest finish time when all the stages are added up

Green: the rider who’s collected the most points in intermediate sprints and finish line sprints

Polka dot: the rider who has the best overall climbing results, also known as the King of the Mountain

White: the rider who’s best placed in the overall standings who is under the age of 26

Which stages should I tune into?

June 29: Stage 1 – Florence-Rimini – Grand Depart

July 1: Stage 3 – Piacenza-Torino – first bunch sprint, maybe record win for Cavendish, but we’re watching Mads Pederson too!

July 2: Stage 4 – first mountain stage, highest peak of the Tour at the Col du Galibier

July 7: Stage 9 – features 14 sectors of gravel

July 13: Stage 14 – first stage in the Pyrenees, features famous Col du Tourmalet (Love to climb? You can scope some of the Tour’s most iconic climbs here.)

July 14: Stage 15 – second stage in the Pyrenees, queen stage with finish at Plateau de Beille

July 20: Stage 20 – penultimate stage with start in Nice and 4 big climbs, if the GC is still to be decided, this will be the day

July 21: Stage 21 – time trial and final stage from Monaco to Nice, and a fun one to watch if the GC is tight!

Which inGamba guides have raced the Tour de France?

Honestly, it’s impressive how many inGamba guides have raced in the Tour over the years! Our Italian leadout man Eros Poli is the most obvious ride guide and Tour veteran. Sergio Paulinho also raced the Tour and even won a stage in 2010. Manuel Cardoso and Ted King have raced it. If you’re a big Tour fan, make sure you’re checking who your inGamba guide is so you can hear all of their stories!


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How do I watch the Tour de France?

In the US, you can watch each stage of the Tour de France streaming on NBC’s Peacock app for $5.99/month or $59.99/year. (An annual subscription will let you stream the Tour de France Femmes in August.) The Peacock app is available on Roku, Apple devices, Android and AndroidTV devices, Google platforms, Chromecast, Xbox consoles, PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles, VIZIO SmartCast TVs, LG Smart TVs or just on your computer’s browser. 

Those with cable can also watch at home on the USA Network and CNBC. Live coverage generally starts around 7 a.m. EDT.

Canadians can watch the race on FloBikes ($29.99/month CDN). Stream on, the FloSports iOS app, or the FloSports app for Amazon FireTV, Roku, and Apple TV.

Molly Hurford

Molly is the author of Fuel Your Ride, and a Precision Nutrition-certified coach. Her writing has appeared in many leading publications, including Bicycling Magazine and Outside. When she's not writing or coaching, she loves ultra-running and racing on trails, riding bikes, or hiking with her mini-dachshund DW.