Published by Andrew on 14 June 2017
Just a few weeks before the Tour de France starts, the Route du Sud provides exciting racing and a small taste of things to come.
The Route du Sud is an annual UCI Europe 2:1 road race held just before the Tour de France and allows teams and riders to finetune selections and form before the big race itself.
Last year's winner was Nairo Quintana; Alberto Contador won it in 2015. It also allows cycling fans to see some of the sport's big names without all of the fuss of the Tour.
The route this year offers a real variety, starting over near Sete on the Mediterranean coast and moving across into the Pyrenees to take on the Col du Tourmalet. The 2017 Route du Sud finishes at the motor racing circuit near Nogarro. There's also a stage finish in Gavarnie, a beautiful spot.
The 2017 edition has four stages and is held June 15-18 (click on the links for detailed maps and profiles from the official site):
Stage 1: VILLEVEYRAC (Hérault) to SAINT-PONS-DE-THOMIÈRES (Hérault), 176km
Stage 2: ESPACE LOISIRS SOR-AGOUT (Tarn) to SARAMON (Gers), 173.8k
Stage 3: SAINT-GAUDENS (Haute-Garonne) to GAVARNIE-GÈDRE (Hautes-Pyrénées), 167km
Stage 4: GERS – ASTARAC ARROS EN GASCOGNE (Gers) to NOGARO (CIRCUIT AUTOMOBILE PAUL ARMAGNAC) (Gers), 154.8km
If you do manage to watch a stage, the jerseys to look out for are:
Mountains classification: Blue with white polka dots
Best young rider: White