• Trip Advisor

Burgundy wine tasting

Burgundy wine tasting ©Alain Doiré

The Center of France on the Back Roads

back roads tours france

Exploring by the back roads is the best way to experience France and immerse yourself in the culture. Get a real feel for the authentic France, and enjoy at your own pace.

I cannot recommend France Just For You enough! We had a wonderful time as we customized a trip and experienced our French dreams come true! Thank you for the best experience!

Your accommodations

Your B&B is nestled in a lovely Champagne village

Step by step

Reims & the champagne region.

  • This itinerary starts at Paris CDG airport where you will pick up your rental car and drive 1hr30 to the Champagne region, your first stop for 2 nights. 
  • You will stay in a family-owned Champagne winery.  From here, you are perfectly located to enjoy Champagne wines and tour the beautiful historic old town of Reims. 
  • Enjoy a special visit to the Champagne winery where you are staying, followed of course by a nice Champagne tasting ! After this, champagne will never have the same taste when you have it at home. 
  • We will also recommend Champagne wineries you can visit on your own, as well as some local attractions including fossils, belle epoque architecture, a lively food market and many restaurants from simple fare to 3 stars with the Michelin guide. 

Burgundy Wines & Gastronomy

  • In  Burgundy , you will reside for 3 nights in a  beautiful B&B house  owned by a wine maker family and located in one of Burgundy's most famous wine towns. Situated in the heart of Burgundy, near  Beaune,  this is the perfect place to learn about the local wines. Explore all the major vineyards of the region and have a chance to taste red and white wines among the best in the world, directly at the winery!
  • Sébastien, a real passionate, will take you for half a day on a 4-wheel drive to tour around Burgundy vineyards, following itineraries that no other tour can do. You will taste wines from smaller producers and ride over dirt roads in Nuits Saint Georges and Vosne Romanée. Sebastien is very friendly and you will feel like a relative he wants to show his favorite places.
  • Apart from the vineyards, we will show you how to exit the beaten track and discover the authentic and  charming Burgundy . Winding roads leading to tiny timeless villages - some of them "Most Beautiful Villages of France" - will give you a real feel for this region.
  • Discover Beaune , a beautiful medieval town that has been completely preserved from modern constructions, and you should definitly be there on market day, the local products are truly delicious. Taste some local cheese , the "Epoisse" at the cheese factory or uncover the mysteries of the Ducs de Bourgogne in Dijon . Burgundy has a lot to experience.

The Loire Valley

Then, enjoy the "sweet life" in Touraine , stopping over in little villages to savor goat cheese or taste amazing wines. Take the time to relax in rose gardens, or to enjoy the traditional cuisine in many small restaurants frequented by the locals.

  • You r next stop will be in the heart of the medieval city of Loches . Spend 2 nights in a very comfortable house - built against the old walls - that used to be a coach inn. From here, explore Montrésor , one of the "most beautiful villages of France" and the must see castles of Chenonceaux or Chambord.
  • As a second stop in the Loire Valley, you will stay for the following 3 nights in a restored 18th century stonehouse nestled in a lovely hamlet . Your charming host knows this region very well and will be happy to share some tips with you. One night, you will share a delicious home-cooked dinner, prepared by Monsieur. Do not miss the aperitif in the underground vaulted cellar - an out-of-time experience!
  • Located on the south banks of the Vienne River, this charming B&B is within short driving distance of Chinon and Saumur , beautiful historic cities. 
  • One day,  let the owner of a 12th century abbey guide you  in this amazing and totally off the beaten tracks historical site. A great experience. 

The Mont Saint Michel area

  • On your way to the Normandy landing beaches, stop over for 2 nights near the  Mont Saint Michel , the   ancient beautiful abbey sitting on top of a tidal island in the middle of Mont Saint Michel Bay. A true wonder!
  • Stay in a former presbytery from the 18th century,   located half-way between the famous village of Mont Saint Michel and the lovely port of Saint Malo.
  • Discover the famous  Mont Saint Michel with a local guide during a barefoot walk in the bay , around the site . . . great  and unique way to get a special feel for this very touristy site. 

Normandy from Bayeux : heritage & history

  • For 3 nights, taste the Norman quietness in a manor from the 11th century.  Jump into the Middle-Ages  all while enjoying the modern amenities . . . and amazing breakfasts cooked by your lovely hostess.
  • Jump into the local history: from William the Conqueror in the 11th century whose adventures are illustrated in the Bayeux tapestry, to the Battle of Normandy in 1944. 
  • From here, you will discover the WWII landing sites as well as the Norman hinterland, its cheeses and half timbered villages. 
History, culture, gastronomy, "the sweet life": this is France!

Activities included

©Carmen Moya-OT Grand Reims

Champagne Visit & Tasting

Enjoy a special visit of the Champagne house where you will stay and of course...a nice Champagne tasting !

wine tasting Burgundy

Burgundy Wine Tasting

Spend a half-day with Seb who will drive you in his 4WD in the back tracks and the dirt roads of Burgundy vineyards. He will take you like a friend would do to several wineries in some of the most famous vineyards in the world. 

tour to a middle ages abbey

Guided Tour of a 12th c. Abbey

Get totally off the beaten track and explore each nook and cranny of this 12th century jewel. The owner, who will guide you, is passionate about local history and is totally dedicated to the conservation of this site.

guided walk Mont Saint Michel Bay

A Guided Walk in Mont St Michel Bay

Let a local guide take you on a walk barefoot around Mount Saint Michel Bay to understand better the nature around this unique site. This is an opportunity to discover the bay as very few can see it.

Booking process

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Our travelers’ reviews.

"France Just For You" is the BEST way to visit France If you want to go on a tailor made self drive holiday to France, there is no better way, but to ask Emilie and Laura from France Just For You, to arrange it for you. We have traveled overseas a couple of times already, but then you have to do a lot of homework before hand, and you never know …

"France Just For You" is the BEST way to visit France If you want to go on a tailor made self drive holiday to France, there is no better way, but to ask Emilie and Laura from France Just For You, to arrange it for you. We have traveled overseas a couple of times already, but then you have to do a lot of homework before hand, and you never know whether or not you are doing the right thing, because you have never been to the area which you want to visit. After giving Laura an idea of what we wanted, she planned an itinerary to the finest detail, delivering over and above what we expected or could have imagined. We realised this when we received our travel pack with a 450 page, personalized guide book, detailing each day what we should do. Prepaid access tickets and vouches, eliminating long waiting times in queues, and an App, which puts the guide book on your mobile phone, where you just click on the GPS link to where you need to drive to. Why could anyone not think of this before? You just click on the link and there you go. They even sent as an USB flash drive with French Music to listen to when we drive, to experience the French atmosphere. Laura and Emilie's attention to detail made our holiday, stress- and hassle free, which made it possible for our family just to relax, and enjoy the ride. Thank you for going the extra mile, you guys are the greatest. We will and have been recommending you to anyone who wants to visit France. Like we say in South Africa "Viva, France Just For You, Viva!!!"

A fantastic well-planned self-drive tour We had the most amazing time on our 6 week self-drive tour designed by Laura, travelling through Brittany, Loire, Dordogne, Medoc, Basque France, Languedoc, Provence, the Alps, Alsace and Champagne. This was a big trip for us and it was everything I’d hoped and dreamed and even more besides. All our …

A fantastic well-planned self-drive tour We had the most amazing time on our 6 week self-drive tour designed by Laura, travelling through Brittany, Loire, Dordogne, Medoc, Basque France, Languedoc, Provence, the Alps, Alsace and Champagne. This was a big trip for us and it was everything I’d hoped and dreamed and even more besides. All our accommodation was delightful - all different and all with unique character and a personal touch. All our hosts and guides were fantastic and we so enjoyed our time with them. Everything was so meticulously planned, so well-organised, and presented clearly with a wealth of information and practical tips for suggested activities each day to make to most of our stay in each region. Restaurant recommendations were particularly helpful. The FJFY app is outstanding! We very much hope to travel with FJFY again. Thank you for all your hard work and attention to detail in making such a wonderful trip for us.

Emilie's services are amazing!! I contacted her after my one year anniversary trip planning fell through with another agency. She quickly picked up the reins from where they left off, listened to our budget requests and organized an absolutely fantastic trip for us! From Paris to Provence to the French Riviera, everywhere we stayed was wonderful …

Emilie's services are amazing!! I contacted her after my one year anniversary trip planning fell through with another agency. She quickly picked up the reins from where they left off, listened to our budget requests and organized an absolutely fantastic trip for us! From Paris to Provence to the French Riviera, everywhere we stayed was wonderful and in the perfect location. The activities were ones we will remember for the rest of our lives and we would have never thought to do them ourselves...learning how to play pentanque was a blast and making our own perfume was really interesting and fun! We told her exactly the type of trip we were looking for and she really delivered - we couldn't have done this without her! Our trip had some structure but we were also free to explore as we wanted. I even got to stay at a horse farm B&B in the french countryside bc I told her I love horses. This is the type of service you will get with Emilie. Also, the personalized guide book she provides is incredible - we used it throughout the duration of our trip and it was super informative beforehand as well. All of our hosts knew Emilie and spoke very highly of her too. We didn't have any issues with all of the reservations she made which was great. You absolutely can't go wrong working with Emilie; each trip is tailored to your individual likings and she knows all of the best spots. Thank you, Emilie, for planning the perfect 1 year wedding anniversary for us!! Highly Recommend France Just For You!

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Back-Roads Touring

Back-Roads Touring

Headquarters in London, England

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Back-Roads Touring Videos

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About Back-Roads Touring

Here at Back-Roads, our passion is delivering small group holidays that delve a little deeper. Travelling by luxury mini-coach along scenic roads, our tours invite you to see each destination through the eyes of the people who know it best: the locals who call it home. We know that the best kind of adventure is one that introduces you to authentic experiences, never-to-be-forgotten views and hand-picked retreats brimming with local charm – while providing you with the time and space to explore independently. With intimate group sizes and expert Tour Leaders and Drivers, there’s no better way to feed your curiosity than with a Back-Roads tour.

Back-Roads Touring have been running their small group, intimate, and unique trips across the UK and Europe since 1986. In this time, they have grown both in size and experience, but they still possess the same touring philosophy that they did back then, and now include more destinations, higher quality accommodation, and a wider range of interesting experiences.

Why Back-Roads Touring?

With small group sizes of no more than 18 people, you can expect a more personalised touring experience – and with like-minded travellers at your side, you’ll find that a journey shared is a journey best enjoyed.

Stories waiting to be unravelled. Secrets waiting to be revealed. Fascinating cultures, delicious flavours and unexplored terrain. Feed your curiosity and embark on a voyage of discovery with Back-Roads – and let the new and exciting take centre stage.

Immerse yourself in nature on uplifting journeys through evocative landscapes. From rolling hills and swathes of forest to shimmering coasts, islands and canals, breathtaking views lie around every corner when you take the scenic route.

There’s no better way to understand the essence of a destination than by meeting the people that call it home. Learn traditional crafts, stories and recipes as you venture off the tourist trail and behind the scenes with exclusive local experiences.

Slow the pace and take it all in; there’s plenty of time to enjoy each step of the journey. Whether you’re touring a historic home, enjoying a meal or indulging in a wine tasting session, you can do so safe in the knowledge that you won’t be rushed.

Insightful, attentive and passionate, our Tour Leaders will unlock the experiences that make your Back-Roads tour truly special – from adding personal touches to your itinerary to bringing destinations to life with their local knowledge.

The Small Group Touring Experience

On each and every night of your Back-Roads tour, you’ll bed down in charming boutique accommodation – from idyllic garden resorts in Asia to elegant European châteaux. Much like our carefully crafted itineraries, a lot of thought goes into selecting each property; only the most characterful, authentic properties make the cut.

From luxury mini-coaches to yachts and barges, our range of transport will deliver you from A to B in both comfort and style – and as we only travel along scenic country roads, you can be sure that you’ll see plenty of picturesque sights along the way. With Back-Roads, the journey is often just as spectacular as the destination! 

Travelling with us

Due to COVID-19, we’ve been restricted from exploring the world for some months now. However, as we approach new beginnings and travel plans, we want to reassure you that your health and wellbeing is at the forefront of our operations. As a small-group touring operator, we are well-equipped to ensure you have an enjoyable travel experience whilst keeping safe.

As we navigate through this unprecedented time, we continue to monitor, evolve and adapt our best practices as more information emerges. Once announced, you can be assured all our actions will fall in line with government regulations, World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and industry best practise.

In the meantime, know that your health and wellbeing is our main priority and we are actively working to ensure your safety when travelling with Back-Roads.

We understand that in times of uncertainty you need some extra flexibility if your situation changes. If you book your 2021 Back-Roads tour now, you’ll receive added flexibility to change the booking to another departure date or different tour up to 40 days before departure with no penalties until further notice. *Terms and Conditions apply.

Our modern and extremely hygienic fleet of mini-coaches are thoroughly cleaned before each tour starts and regularly throughout as standard. Your Back-Roads Driver will now pay meticulous attention to this daily, sanitising all surfaces including handrails, door handles, tables, seats, air-conditioning filters and any overhead lockers.

All our tours start with a full briefing highlighting the experiences you are about to enjoy. This will now include information on how to keep yourself safe and healthy during the duration of your tour. However, to ensure thorough preparation, we ask that you take personal responsibility for your own wellbeing –including hygiene measures as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). These include regular hand washing and sanitising, no sharing of products or food and packing a face mask and gloves to be used when necessary. We’ll provide adequate guidance before your tour departure via direct emails or through your travel agent.

We take our supplier and partner relationships very seriously and in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, there are no exceptions. Over the years we’ve built trusted partnerships with our suppliers and we’re working with them to ensure their cleaning protocols, hygiene records, customer ratings and risk assessments are focused on your wellbeing. This is new to us all and while we don’t have all the answers right now, all information regarding changes we implement for your safety, will be readily available ahead of your tour and highlighted in your departure briefing.

As you’d agree, our experienced Tour Leaders are a key ingredient to making your Back-Roads tour so special. We already conduct thorough Tour Leader training to ensure you have the best possible experience – while prioritising your health, safety and wellbeing. In addition to this, all Tour Leaders and Drivers will undergo further training in response to coronavirus risks. We’re committed to ensuring our Tour Leaders are as prepared as possible to keep you safe, protected and ready to answer any questions you may have.

While we can’t wait to explore with you again, we know this is just the beginning. Our Operations Team are working tirelessly to ensure we’re as prepared as possible for when we can run tours again. And our Customer Service Team is on-hand to help with any questions you may have. We’ll continue to evolve our operations to ensure full compliance with government regulations and will keep you updated as the situation progresses. Be sure to continue checking the Travel Alerts page on our website for up-to-date information.

Back-Roads Touring Guides

Flavio Lazzaretto

Flavio Lazzaretto

annavu

Questions & Answers

What is not included in the tour price.

Unless otherwise specified in the listed inclusions, airfares are not included in the tour price. Driver/tour leader gratuity is optional. Lunches (unless otherwise stated), social drinks, meals on free nights,’ items of a personal nature and entrance fees when not listed in the schedule of inclusions. Occasional optional evening theatre/festival visits and entrances not detailed in the tour inclusions. Incidental expenses, such as room service incurred at hotels. All expenses are to be settled prior to leaving the accommodation. Laundry costs and any shipping charges for the return of purchases made on tour, or for the return of property lost on tour. Pre and post tour accommodation. Unless otherwise listed in the inclusions, transfers are not included in the tour price.

What type of clothing is recommended on the tour?

Back Roads suggest packing for variable weather conditions, or if you are travelling through Italy, Spain or Southern France in summer, make sure you pack a hat and sunscreen.

How much luggage is allowed on the tour?

Back Roads travel in mini-coaches and so boot space is limited. Travellers are only entitled to one piece of main luggage of a standard size of no more than 158cm (when the length, width and height is added together) and not weighing more than 20kg. In addition travellers may bring one small carry-on bag per person.

What kinds of tour leader and driver does Back Roads have on the tour?

Their driver/tour leaders have all passed a stringent government test which allows them to drive vehicles and conduct tours. On some tours in mainland Europe (e.g. Italy, Spain, Croatia etc.) they will often use a driver in addition to a tour leader as this makes for better operation of the tour in these particular areas.

How much spending money is recommended on the tour?

Apart from meals and entrance fees within the price of the tour, travellers will need to bring spending money for any other meals, drinks and activities. Back Roads recommends a budget of £70 or 90 Euros per person per day.

Is it possible to do other things like getting my hair done, do laundry, go to church or synagogue while on the tour?

Yes. There is generally sufficient free time to incorporate all such functions, though it is not guaranteed in every country.

Are entrance fees included in the price of the tour?

Back Roads include a selection of entrances fees depending on the tour and these are outlined in the "what's included" section of the tour page.

Can Back Roads cater to travellers with dietary restrictions?

Back Roads will do their best to cater to the dietary needs of the travellers. This should be made clear upon booking, so we can pass on the requests.

What meals are included on the tour?

Breakfast is included daily. Lunches and dinners are also included, either in the hotel or in a local restaurant. Travellers will also have some free evenings to try the local cuisine independently. One thing to remember, dinner times in Europe are likely to be later than the usual: 7.30pm at the earliest and often later in France and Italy.

What are the benefits of travelling in a small group?

With a maximum group size of 18 people on our Europe tours (22 on our French barge tours) and 14 people on our Asia tours, we pride ourselves on ensuring that each guest has a personalised holiday experience. An intimate group allows our expert Tour Leaders to dedicate time to each and every one of their guests. We encourage you to ask questions and share their immense knowledge and passion for the destinations you visit.

How much time is spent in the vehicles while on tour?

Back Roads design tours that have little wasted time as possible on the bus. There are days when travelling between locations may involve freeway driving and more mileage. Generally, a typical day's driving would be anywhere between 110 and 170 miles. There are at least three major attraction stops, 'comfort' and meal stops.

Is tipping allowed on the tour?

Tipping your guide/ driver is entirely at your discretion and is not mandatory. It is common to leave a small gratuity in restaurants and cafes if you have received good service (typically 12% on top of the bill).

Is there time to do shopping while on tour?

Yes! But Back Roads will NOT be taking travellers to 'commission' stops. Their guides are not permitted to profit from your shopping.

How much walking is involved on a tour?

In cities, walking tours are offered by your guide. On European mainland tours there is considerable walking as many historic cities prohibit motorised transport and vehicles have to park some distance out of the centre. On most tours there are opportunities for some extended walking, often from the accommodations used.

Does Back Roads offer customized itineraries?

There are certain visits included in the itineraries which are fixed and included in the price. However outside of these there is some flexibility to adapt the itinerary according to such things as the weather, special events and group wishes but this will depend on the agreement of the fellow-travellers and the judgement of the Tour Leader.

What is the typical day out on the tour?

Touring days are conducted at a leisurely pace. Stops are made frequently during the day to avoid extended periods of time on the coach. On a typical day, the departure is at 9am and arrive at the hotel at 5pm.

How many people would be on a typical Back Roads tour?

The maximum number they carry is 18 (22 on Charming Waterways) and the minimum 4 (8-12 on Charming Waterways and minimum 8 on Norway: Fjords & Glaciers). Tours with a separate driver and tour leader will have a maximum of 18 passengers; tours with a driver/tour leader only will have a maximum of 15.

What is the smoking policy on the tour?

All countries in Europe have now implemented a total smoking ban in public places, and the local laws must be followed. Smoking is also not allowed on vehicles.

Is there sufficient leg room for tall passengers?

Yes, several of the seats have sufficient room for even the tallest passenger to stretch their legs. Back Roads also rotate places to ensure that no-one is sitting permanently in any particular seat.

What kind of vehicles are used on the tour?

Back Roads operate a fleet of Mini Coaches. The most common vehicle in the fleet is a 16 seater Mercedes Sprinter. This vehicle is used on all tours that operate in the UK, Ireland and France. In other countries in mainland Europe and Turkey they use models of a comparable standard and the group sizes do not exceed 18 passengers. Where group sizes are 7 or under they may operate the tour using a Mercedes Vito 8 seater.

Are visas required?

Yes, it is the travellers responsibility to obtain any visas which might be necessary to visit Europe. It is recommended to check with your local consular office regarding visa requirements for the countries you are visiting. As a note, you will definitely need a visa to enter Russia.

Are airport transfers included in the tour price?

No, airport transfer are not included in the tour price. Airport transfers can be booked for an additional cost.

Can TourRadar arrange additional nights’ accommodation in the arrival and departure cities?

Yes. You can certainly book extra accommodation with us here with TourRadar so please get in touch for more details.

Is porterage services included on the tour?

In the hotels, Back Roads include porterage wherever possible.

What other things do I need to know about the hotels on the tour?

Many of the traditional properties Back Roads use are in historic buildings which have been converted to hotels from the original function, rather than purpose built hotels. Often the rooms are different shapes and sizes and may be smaller than newer chain hotels. Some hotels do not have lifts: in many cases this is due to regulations concerning protected buildings, but the uniqueness and charm of these places will make it quite memorable.

What is the hotel quality on Back Roads tours?

Back Roads use a 3-star / 4-star standard of accommodation ranging from country inns to town centre hotels and the occasional castle! In all properties the rooms have en-suite bathrooms.

What is the accommodation for solo travellers?

Back Roads do not ‘match up’ solo travellers, But travellers are welcome to travel with a friend, or join the group as a single traveller with sole use of their own room. Single rooms in European hotels can have one single bed, although in some hotels solo travellers will have a double room for their own use. The single supplement is very reasonable, and much less than the total cost of 2 people sharing a room.

What kind of room is the recommended upon booking?

Trevellers should choose upon booking what kind of room they want, whether they want a twin room (two single-sized beds in a room) or a double room (one standard-sized bed for two people).

Where do travellers dine while on tour?

All breakfasts are taken in the accommodations. A minimum of a two-course cooked evening meal is served. But on occasion, to add variety to the tour experience, travellers also dine out at local pubs and restaurants.

Are there elevators in the hotels?

Most properties have a lift, but there are hotels which do not have one. In these instances our guides or the hotel staff will assist with the carrying of your bags to your room. Some hotels are in very old buildings and there may be stairs between the levels in the corridors.

Is it possible to get a ground floor room?

Approximately 60% of the places Back Roads use will have limited ground floor accommodation available, however they will only be able to provide for one room per tour. When a ground floor room is requested but not available, they will allocate the lowest, most easily reached alternative room available.

Are bathtubs and showers available on the room?

In historic hotels bathroom facilities can vary and some rooms will have a tub, some showers, some both. All hotel rooms have private ensuites.

Is there a triple room accommodation?

There is limited triple availability and often a triple room contains a double bed and one single. There is little, if any, cost saving to be made in booking a triple room unless it is to avoid a 'single supplement' charge.

Are Back-Roads tours suitable for children?

Back Roads tours are designed principally for adults, but they will consider accepting children aged 12 or over on request.

What is the age range of the travellers joining the tour?

Back Roads travellers are typically between 40-70 years old.

When is the perfect time to visit Europe?

There is no doubt summer months are the best time to visit the UK and Europe, due to the warmer climate, however, July and August are the 'peak' months where most of Europe is on holidays. If travellers prefer to travel away from the crowds, May-June and Sept-October can be more pleasant times to visit Europe. The Winter months are great alternatives to experience Europe's festive seasons. November-January being the best winter months to travel and catch Christmas Markets and the best sales.

How long has Back-Roads Touring been in the business and are they ATBA registered?

Back-Roads Touring Co. Ltd was founded in 1986 and are ABTA registered.

Does Back Roads Touring offer customized tours?

Yes, Back Roads Touring operate special customised tours for families, friends wanting to travel together, or any other group. Feel free to contact us here at TourRadar and we can assist in this style of booking.

Does Back Roads Touring allow travellers with health conditions?

If the health problem is manageable without the need for additional care, special facilities, or does not present a risk to any other passengers then you will be allowed on a Back-Roads Tour.

What level of fitness is required on the tour?

Travellers need to be fit enough to get on and off the vehicle on a regular basis, walk to attractions, around towns and villages, walk up and downstairs in some of the hotels and use a shower over the bath.

Are Back Roads tours all guaranteed departure?

Back Roads tours run with a minimum of four people, at which point they will usually guarantee the departure. If the tour is cancelled, travellers will be advised at least 6 weeks in advance and will then have a choice of a full refund of the amount paid for the tour, or an alternative tour. However, for their Charming Waterways programme, which operates with a minimum of 8 people (French Waterways tours operate with a minimum of 12) as well as Norway: Fjords & Glaciers, which operates with a minimum of 8 people.

Who are typical travellers on a Back-Roads Tour?

Travellers are mainly English-speaking and come from Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and Hong Kong. Other nationalities join occasionally but all tour commentaries are in English.

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Country Roads of France Guided Tour

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Country Roads

Revel in the French Riviera and see the City of Light on a 16-Day Guided Tour of France

Consider this your ‘Tour de France’ — a 16-day guided tour that embraces the best of the country, from fortified towns and fine wines. Drive along the Grand Prix circuit in Monaco, stopping to step inside its cathedral, where Princess Grace has been laid to rest. In Avignon, play pétanque, a bocce-like sport, then celebrate your new skills with a fine French aperitif. Travel to Carcassonne, a fortified city complete with ramparts and a medieval keep. Drive through the Valley of the Dordogne, then feast on a farm-to-table dinner paired with regional wine in Sarlat-La-Caneda. In Paris, embrace the City of Light’s most beloved sites: marvel at the Eiffel Tower, gaze at Louvre's glorious facades, and be driven down the posh Champs Elysées to Napoleon's Arc de Triomphe.

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Tour de France 2024 – Comprehensive team-by-team guide

A full rundown of all the teams, their leaders and the riders to watch at this year's race

Remco Evenepoel and Jonas Vingegaard amongst the WorldTour teams set for the Tour de France

Alpecin-Deceuninck

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As the 2024 Tour de France rolls out from Florence, Italy on June 29, there will be 176 riders competing across 22 teams – some with a target on overall victory, others looking for stage wins and more still pleased with any opportunity that comes along their way to gather publicity on the biggest cycling stage in the world. 

All 18 WorldTour teams, plus the two best-ranked ProTeams – Israel-Premier Tech and Lotto-Dstny – got their automatic invitations to race while organisers ASO handed out wild card entries to Uno-X Mobility and TotalEnergies.

Crashes, form and Olympic goals have shaped the selections and ambitions for the teams but regardless all will be fighting to make an impression as the 21 days of racing over 3497.3km from Tuscany to Nice in the south of France unfolds.

Cyclingnews has pored through every squad, assessing their leaders, objectives and chances of success to bring you this comprehensive team-by-team guide.

  • Team leader: Jasper Philipsen
  • Objective: Stage wins, points classification
  • Rider to watch: Mathieu van der Poel

Mathieu van der Poel and Jasper Philipsen proved a winning combination at the 2023 Tour

In the bunch sprints of the Grand Tours of recent years, one team has stood out above the rest as masters of the lead-out train: Alpecin-Deceuninck .

They were a prominent presence throughout the bunch finishes at the recent Giro d’Italia, but Kaden Groves wasn’t able to ride them to victory. However, at the Tour de France, the team will have Jasper Philipsen , the quickest sprinter in the peloton.

Philipsen was one of the stars of last year’s Tour, storming to four stage wins (as many as any sprinter has managed at a single Tour since the 2011 edition), as well as riding consistently enough to claim the green jersey. He didn't slow down this spring, either, with victories at Milan-San Remo and the Classic Brugge-De Panne, as well as a second place at Paris-Roubaix, among his very impressive results.

Not only is Philipsen the quickest sprinter in the race, but he’ll also have the quickest lead-out man riding for him in Mathieu van der Poel . The pair work brilliantly together, as seen not just at last year’s Tour sprints, but also during the spring, when Van der Poel helped Philipsen to triumph at Milan-San Remo, and vice versa at Paris-Roubaix.

Van der Poel will also go hunting for stage wins on appropriate stages, most likely on days with punchy parcours too hard for sprinters but not hard enough for climbers. For a man so untouchable in the Classics, it’s perhaps surprising that he only has one stage win to his name from three Tour appearances, but he has often ridden here with a future goal in mind, as will be the case this year as he builds towards the Olympics.

  • Team leader: Arnaud Démare
  • Objective: Stage wins
  • Rider to watch: Kévin Vauquelin

Arnaud Démare will be Arkéa-B&B Hotels' sprint hope this July

With Warren Barguil having followed Nairo Quintana out the door, Arkéa-B&B Hotels are going in a fresh direction for the 2024 Tour with sprinter Arnaud Démare as their new talisman.

Having grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of opportunities provided him by his former Groupama-FDJ team, who selected him for only one Tour de France start in the last five years, Démare has moved to a team where he won’t just be picked but will command unified support behind him.

It’s hoped that as a winner of two Tour stages in the past, Démare can deliver the team their long-awaited first-ever following ten winless Tours, but does the Frenchman have the shape to do so? He hasn’t made the top ten of any race for almost four months, and recently fractured a finger at the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, plunging his Tour preparations into doubt.

It could therefore be up to others in the line-up to deliver, from which Kévin Vauquelin has shown particular potential. The 23-year-old has done everything this year, from making the top 10 at both Itzulia Basque Country and Tirreno-Adriatico, finishing second on the Mur de Huy at La Flèche Wallonne and winning a time trial at Etoile de Bessèges. He could be a contender for a variety of different stages though specialises in climbing hills and mountains.

  • Team leader: Mark Cavendish
  • Rider to watch: Alexey Lutsenko

Mark Cavendish sprinting to glory on stage 2 of the Tour de Hongrie

At last, it's nearly time for the race that Astana Qazaqstan 's whole season has been building up towards.

Since signing Mark Cavendish in January 2023, they've made it their foremost mission to deliver the Manxman to the elusive win number 35, move clear of Eddy Merckx, and thereby become the outright record holder for most stage wins at the Tour de France.

It had initially been intended as a one-year plan, but after the heartbreak of last year’s race, where Cavendish crashed out at the end of the first week , he and the team have decided to have one last shot at history this July.

Unlike last year, when he went into the Tour off the back of a final-day victory in Rome at the Giro d’Italia, Cavendish has shown only sporadic signs of form this season, confined to smaller races. He won a stage during his first race of the season at the Tour of Colombia in February but had to wait another three months for a first victory on European roads at the Tour of Hongrie. His recent participation at the Tour de Suisse was mainly to sharpen his climbing form ahead of the Tour de France.

The Astana team is set to be built entirely around him. Veteran lead-out master Michael Mørkøv was signed exclusively to deliver him in the sprints, while Cees Bol and Davide Ballerini will sacrifice their own sprinting ambitions to form part of his lead-out train.

One rider who might be granted some freedom to ride for himself is Alexey Lutsenko . He showed great form by winning Il Giro d’Abruzzo before abandoning the Giro d’Italia and finishing seventh and eighth on GC in 2021 and 2022, respectively. He has two Tour de France GC top 10s, as well as a stage win in 2020, on his palmarès, so another top showing isn't out of the question.

  • Team leaders: Pello Bilbao
  • Objective: GC, stage wins
  • Riders to watch: Santiago Buitrago, Matej Mohorič

Pello Bilbao celebrated a stage win at the 2023 Tour de France

What Bahrain Victorious lacks in a single stand-out GC contender, they make up for in strength in depth. Following Antonio Tiberi’s fifth place at the Giro d’Italia, they’re hoping to extend their run of top-six finishes on GC to a fifth consecutive Grand Tour and have several riders potentially capable of doing so.

Their best candidate is Pello Bilbao , based on his performance at the Tour last year and in stage races so far in 2024. He was sixth place last year and has been building nicely towards that level again this year with sixth-place finishes at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Itzulia Basque Country, plus third at the UAE Tour in between. He was also second overall at the Tour of Slovenia, and while the field was not the same level as what he will face at the Tour de France, the results undoubtedly helped to build confidence.

Santiago Buitrago is poised to make his Tour debut. He brings with him considerable expectations off the back of his stage wins and top-ten finish at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, respectively, as well as his impressive showing at Paris-Nice earlier this year.

It’s also hoped that Jack Haig can rediscover some form ahead of the race, while even veteran Wout Poels could post a high GC finish based on his recent third and sixth-place finishes at the Tour de Hongrie and Tour of the Alps, respectively.

Poels and Bilbao were two of the three different riders to win a stage at last year’s Tour, along with Matej Mohorič, who will again be using his nous and engine to target breakaways. The Slovenian has three Tour stage wins on his career palmarès, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him add another win here.

With Phil Bauhaus , a debutant last summer, also posing a threat in the bunch sprints, Bahrain Victorious has the resources to target a win on almost every stage.

  • Team leaders: Guillaume Martin
  • Riders to watch: Bryan Coquard, Ion Izagirre.

Climber Guillaume Martin leads the French squad

For the first time in many years, Cofidis can go into a Tour de France without being badgered about questions of whether this will be the year they at last manage to claim a stage win.

By triumphing on stage 2 of last year’s edition, Victor Lafay ended the team’s 15-year drought, and then Ion Izagirre added another stage a week later.

Lafay has since left for Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale, but Izagirre remains and is set to ride, with stage wins on hilly and mountainous days again likely to be the target.

Guillaume Martin will ride his eighth consecutive Tour de France and will be the team’s leading GC hope. He’s placed eighth, 10th, 11th and 12th in past appearances but has never won a stage, so he may prioritise trying to take one from a breakaway. He recently finished 19th overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné with a top 10 in a stage, but will be aiming to improve on that at the Tour.

Bryan Coquard is another rider without a Tour stage win to his name despite many near misses, including a couple of fourth-place finishes last year. He’ll be the team’s man for the bunch sprints, especially on hillier days that weaken the specialists.

While these riders bring experience, 25-year-old Axel Zingle has form and potential. He’s been consistently in contention for multiple semi-Classics over the last few months and could win from a breakaway if he picks the right move.

  • Team leader: Felix Gall
  • Rider to watch: Sam Bennett, Benoît Cosnefroy

After a breakthrough 2023, Felix Gall will once again target a high overall placing

In the middle of an exceptional season, in which they have already racked up more victories than they managed in the last two seasons combined, expectations are high for Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale as they head into the biggest race of the year.

Although the men who delivered stage wins (Valentin Paret-Peintre and Andrea Vendrame) and fourth overall (Ben O’Connor) at the Giro d’Italia will sit this one out as they rest and recover, the core of the other names who have made 2024 such a success are set to be present.

Benoît Cosnefroy has been the team’s biggest contributor with seven of their 23 wins (as of the end of May) and will target the hilly stages, while Dorion Godon will be a candidate in reduced bunch sprints, having won two sprint finishes at the Tour de Romandie in late April.

In the pure flat finishes, Sam Bennett will still be their main candidate, having recently shown signs of returning to form with a haul of wins and GC at the 4 Jours de Dunkerque.

Felix Gall might have had a quieter season to date, but he'll still be the team’s main man for the mountains and their GC candidate, and is looking to be on target with a 10th overall at the Tour de Suisse. He finished eighth overall last year after breaking through with a series of good performances in the spring, while he'll also be hoping to replicate his breakaway stage win at Courchevel.

  • Team leader: Fabio Jakobsen, Romain Bardet
  • Rider to watch: Warren Barguil

Home favourite Romain Bardet heads up DSM-Firmenich PostNL

For the Tour de France, DSM-Firmenich PostNL are making the unusual move of deploying the same two leaders as they did at the Giro d’Italia.

In the bunch sprints, Fabio Jakobsen will again line up as he continues to rediscover his mojo. The Dutchman still only has one win to his name (at the Tour of Turkey) since signing for the team this year, and he failed to get involved in the Giro bunch sprints before abandoning during the second week. However, the team still retains faith that he can reach the level that saw him win a stage on his Tour debut two years ago.

Romain Bardet fared better at the Giro than Jakobsen, finishing ninth overall while coming close to a stage win on Bocca della Selva. Though he has made the top 10 in all but two of the eight Tours he has finished throughout his career, his excursions in Italy may mean he targets stage wins this time instead.

With 11 wins to their name – including just one WorldTour race and only three outside the Tour of Turkey – DSM need some big results. That means that another French climber, Warren Barguil , will likely be given the freedom to attack and get into breakaways.

  • Team leader: Richard Carapaz
  • Rider to watch: Neilson Powless, Ben Healy

Richard Carapaz attacks on the way to his first WorldTour win for EF at the Tour De Romandie

Last season was the first in EF Education-Easy Post ’s 16-year history that they did not place a rider in the top 10 of any of the Grand Tours. That run continued at the Giro d’Italia last month, where they aggressively targeted stage wins rather than GC via constant attacks, and were eventually rewarded in the final week with success from Georg Steinhauser in the Dolomites.

Nevertheless, they intend to strive to finish as high as possible at the Tour with Richard Carapaz as their leader. The 2021 podium finisher and 2019 Giro champion was signed in 2023 to do precisely that but he endured an under-par season last year and is only just showing signs of some form recently, with a stage win and seventh overall at the Tour de Romandie. 

However, Carapaz and Alberto Bettiol were forced to abandon the recent Tour de Suisse after crashing on stage 4, but expressed that their 'goal remains the Tour de France'.

With Carapaz’s form still uncertain, there ought to be plenty of scope for the rest of the line-up to chase their own personal ambitions. Neilson Powless , for instance, could either chase GC as he did in 2023 (when he finished 12th), or stage wins and the polka-dot jersey as he did last year.

Irish puncheur Ben Healy is set to make his Tour debut, and if his Giro debut from last year and performances in the Classics are anything to go by, we can expect him to attack at every opportunity.

Alberto Bettiol ’s form during the spring suggests he could add a Tour stage win to the one he managed at the 2021 Giro, while Marijn van den Berg has also earned a spot on the team thanks to his impressive early season performances.

  • Team leader: David Gaudu
  • Rider to watch: Stefan Küng

David Gaudu leads the home nation's GC hopes this July

A new dawn awaits Groupama-FDJ as they embark upon the first Tour de France of the post-Thibaut Pinot era. Before retiring at the end of last year, Pinot had been the fulcrum of the team, appearing for them in all but two of the last 12 editions — sometimes with great success, other times with great heartbreak.

David Gaudu will seek to fill the void left by Pinot, as he has for several years now. Fourth overall in 2022 remains his highest finish at any Grand Tour, and though a repeat of that looks ambitious given his stuttering form this year, he’s still dreaming of a podium finish.

If Gaudu doesn’t have the legs to mount a serious GC challenge, targeting stage wins may be the team’s optimum approach, and they have plenty of riders capable of delivering on that front.

Rising star Lenny Martinez misses the race in favour of the Vuelta a España, but 21-year-old Romain Grégoire is set to make his Tour debut on the back of some very impressive results this year, including a stage win at Itzulia Basque Country

Valentin Madouas has become a recognisable face from recent Tours without quite winning a stage, though he certainly has the talent to do so. Stefan Küng , newly crowned Swiss champion in the time trial, will, as ever, be a candidate for both the time trials as well as select breakaways.

  • Team leaders: Carlos Rodríguez, Egan Bernal
  • Objective: GC
  • Rider to watch: Tom Pidcock, Geraint Thomas

Tom Pidcock, Egan Bernal, and Carlos Rodríguez will take starring roles for Ineos Grenadiers

Last year was only the second time in the last decade that Ineos Grenadiers failed to put a rider on the GC podium at the Tour de France. Even since their run of yellow jersey-winning Tours came to an end in 2020, up until then they had still managed to crack the podium through Richard Carapaz (in 2021) and Geraint Thomas (in 2022), but last year their highest finisher, Carlos Rodríguez , finished further down in fifth place.

Still, that result means Rodríguez is one of the more obvious choices to lead the team’s 2024 GC bid, and the 23-year-old has bolstered his status with overall victory at the Tour de Romandie, second place behind Juan Ayuso at Itzulia Basque Country and fourth overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Also in the squad are other, more wildcard options for GC. Geraint Thomas would usually be a dependable candidate, but it’s unclear how fresh he will be, having dug deep to seal third place at the Giro d’Italia .

Egan Bernal and Tom Pidcock showed Tour de France leadership form at Tour de Suisse , finishing fourth and sixth place, respectively.

Pidcock has stated that he intends to concentrate on the GC rather than stage wins, despite failing to make the top ten last year and remained in Switzerland for additional training before heading to the Grand Depart.

And Bernal, the 2019 champion, has for the first time since his horror crash two and a half years ago shown form approaching his best, with third overall at Volta a Catalunya, top tens at Paris-Nice and the Tour de Romandie, and fourth at the Tour de Suisse but it remains to be seen if he can manage a sustained GC bid over three weeks.

Michał Kwiatkowski and Laurens De Plus will be on hand to help the aforementioned trio achieve their GC goals, even if the Belgian could harbour ambitions of his own after racing to an unexpected and impressive fifth overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné. 

  • Team leader: Biniam Girmay, Louis Meintjes
  • Rider to watch: Georg Zimmermann

Biniam Girmay scored his second win of the season at the Circuit Franco-Belge in May

Biniam Girmay returns to the Tour de France hoping for a positive turn in fortunes. So far, his season has been blighted by interruptions, with promising form in the early spring classics halted by a crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen and another crash spelling the end of his Giro d’Italia one day after finishing third in Fossano.

He’s since returned to winning ways with victory at the Circuit Franco-Belge , and looks on course to arrive at the Tour in form. As Intermarché-Wanty ’s star, the onus is on the Eritrean to make an impact and he has the chance to make history as the first-ever Black African to win a stage of the Tour de France. His consistency and versatility also make him a candidate for the green jersey.

Like Girmay, who failed to show his best self at last year’s Tour, Louis Meintjes will be hoping to return to the form that saw him finish seventh overall in 2022 rather than crash out last year.

Meintjes will be the team’s GC leader, but the rest of the line-up will have the freedom to get into break and chase stage wins, much as Georg Zimmermann (who was second on stage 10) did last year. Rouleurs like Laurenz Rex and Hugo Page might fancy their chances of winning a stage this way, too.

  • Team leader: Stephen Williams, Derek Gee
  • Rider to watch: Pascal Ackermann

Derek Gee is one of the riders to watch at the Tour following his Dauphiné stage win and podium

Israel-Premier Tech 's high ambitions from 2021, when they gambled on signing Chris Froome in the hope that he could recover from his horror crash two years earlier and revive his Tour-winning form of old, have since been significantly tempered.

Now no longer a WorldTour team, they've instead depended upon a wildcard to earn entry into the Tour de France, and their hopes are limited to chasing stage wins rather than mixing it up in the battle for the yellow jersey.

Froome was fighting for selection and eager to avoid a repeat of last year when he was left out of the Tour line-up, but he will once again not start the Tour de France with Israel-Premier Tech .

The team has put their support behind Stephen Williams and Derek Gee with the aim of winning stages at this year's event.

Williams is enjoying a terrific season, having won both La Flèche Wallonne and the Tour Down Under, and recently finished second in a stage at the Tour de Suisse. He'll, therefore, be a top contender for stage wins in the hilly terrain.

Gee, who last year burst onto the scene with a series of breakaway second places at the Giro d'Italia, makes his Tour debut in the form of his life after scoring a stage win and third overall at the Critérium du Dauphné .

The team should have a presence in the sprints, where Tour debutant Pascal Ackermann aims to add to his Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España stage wins and complete the Grand Tour clean sweep. The rest of the line-up will be made up of stage hunters such as Dylan Teuns (who won here in both 2019 and 2021).

  • Team leader: Simon Yates, Dylan Groenewegen
  • Riders to watch: Michael Matthews

Simon Yates' big win in 2024 came at the AlUla Tour back in February

For a second successive season, Jayco-AlUla leader Simon Yates has foregone his usual Giro d’Italia participation in order to concentrate more committedly on the Tour de France.

Last year, this approach turned out to be a success, as he came to the Tour with some of the best legs of his career, eventually finishing fourth overall, and only missing out on a podium finish by 87 seconds to his brother Adam. His build-up to this year’s Tour isn’t so encouraging, however, having not shown much form since winning the AlUla Tour in the winter.

However, he will lead the general classification charge with key support rider Chris Harper alongside, as he hopes to, this year, break Visma-Lease a Bike and UAE Team Emirates' stranglehold on the podium.

Jayco-AlUla aren’t putting all their eggs in the single basket of Yates’ GC bid. Dylan Groenewegen , who recently won a stage at the Tour of Slovenia, will be led out in the sprints by the likes of Luka Mezgec to see if he can add to his five Tour career stage wins, having come close last year with a second and third-place finish at Moulins and Paris, respectively.

On days too hilly for Groenewegen, Michael Matthews , recently second in a stage at the Tour de Suisse, will step up and may also try to get into some breakaways as he did to win a stage in 2022. He looked in fantastic form this spring, placing second at Milan-San Remo and, before being relegated for deviating from his line, third at the Tour of Flanders.

  • Team leader: Mads Pedersen
  • Objective: stage wins
  • Rider to watch: Giulio Ciccone

Mads Pedersen represents Lidl-Trek's best chance of success this July

As a team boasting a diverse range of talent, Lidl-Trek could feasibly compete for all a couple of major jerseys.

For the yellow jersey, they had high hopes for Tao Geoghegan Hart , but COVID-19 and a fractured rib due to a crash at the Dauphiné prevented him from toeing the start line . He’s only done the Tour de France once in his career and was eager to target GC here while still in his prime years.

Mads Pedersen finished a distant second to Jasper Philipsen in the points classification last year, though he did score his second stage win in as many years. He's shown the kind of excellent form throughout this year to suggest he could bridge that gap, as well as add to his stage win tally. His victory in the opening stage at the Dauphine suggests that he is in great form heading into this Tour.

As for the king of the mountains, Giulio Ciccone won that classification last year and will now be present to potentially defend that title after saddle sore surgery forced him to skip the Giro d’Italia. Unfortunately, he was also unwell due to the flu following the Dauphiné, and so his form is uncertain.

Lidl-Trek might even have had a prime candidate for the white jersey if Matias Skjelmose had opted to ride, but he plans to skip the Tour and save himself for a Vuelta a España overall bid instead.

  • Team leader : Arnaud De Lie
  • Rider to watch: Maxim Van Gils

Sprint star Arnaud De Lie makes his Grand Tour debut this July

Compared to other teams, Lotto-Dstny have a laser-focussed approach when it comes to the Tour de France. Not only will it be their first Grand Tour of the season, having opted out of the Giro d’Italia, but they have also narrow down their ambitions to focus exclusively on stage wins, having not placed a rider in the top 10 for 14 years.

They haven’t had success on these terms recently, though, with no stage win to their name since Caleb Ewan’s victories in the sprints during the 2020 edition. The Australian has led the team for the past five Tours, bringing much success initially with multiple stage wins in 2019 and 2020, but nothing in the three editions since then.

He’s now left the team for Jayco-AlUla, and taking his place as Lotto’s leader will be Arnaud De Lie . Much is hoped from the 22-year-old debutant based on his rapid rise over the past two years, and he'll be especially threatening on hillier days where the pure sprinters will struggle.

However, the Tour will be a big step up from the level of competition he’s used to, and he’s only recently r eturned to form after suffering from Lyme disease during the spring. A recent podium finish in a stage at the Tour de Suisse suggests that he is taking a step forward ahead of the Tour.

De Lie might be the most hyped name, but another young Belgian, Maxim Van Gils , has been the team’s best performer so far this season. He finished second on the stage to Grand Colombier last year and has since established himself as one of the very best puncheurs in the world following podium finishes at Strade Bianche and La Flèche Wallonne, and a fourth place at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

2023 super-combativity winner Victor Campanaerts is also set to ride again, though his season to date has been a quiet one.

  • Team leader: Enric Mas
  • Rider to watch: Rémi Cavagna

Perennial Grand Tour contender Enric Mas aims for a top spot after two Tour de France DNFs in recent years

2024 has so far been another difficult season for Movistar , with Pelayo Sánchez’s stage victory at the Giro d’Italia their only win at WorldTour level all year.

That doesn’t bode well for their prospects at the Tour de France, where they have, in recent years, laboured to reach the levels of the past. They’ve now gone two successive Tours without placing a rider in the top 10, having done so in eight of the nine previous editions.

If any of their roster is to break that duck, it’ll be Enric Mas . The Spaniard has generally been one of the most dependable GC riders of his generation, making the top six in six of his last eight Grand Tour appearances.

However, he has been forced to abandon both of his last two Tours de France, with his participation last summer ending on the first day following a crash.

So far, Mas has enjoyed a solid season without causing too much of a stir, finishing fifth overall at Volta a Catalunya, sixth at the Tour de Romandie and seventh at the Tour de Suisse. Considering that he normally ups his game for the Grand Tours, that’s encouraging.

The team also have Alex Aranburu , who recently won a stage and finished third overall at the Baloise Belgium Tour. He could be marking stage wins and a support role.

New signing Rémi Cavagna is a dependable name in the time trials, breakaways and in helping team leaders on the flat, though the Frenchman hasn't scored a WorldTour win of his own since 2021. Returning star Nairo Quintana won't make the race, meanwhile, after breaking his hand in a crash at the Tour de Suisse.

  • Team leaders: Primož Roglič
  • Riders to watch: Jai Hindley, Aleksandr Vlasov

Primož Roglič heads to the Tour with a Critérium du Dauphiné win in the books

For the 2024 season, Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe signed Primož Roglič with the primary objective of winning the Tour de France.

The team might never before have made the podium at any previous edition in their 10-year history, but Roglič has the calibre to challenge for yellow, as well as the desire, having moved from Visma-Lease a Bike for that specific purpose.

The Slovenian has left it to the last minute to show the kind of form he'll need to challenge for the yellow jersey, with his Critérium du Dauphiné victory his best showing of 2024 so far. The week-long warm-up race marked his first race since the heavy crash suffered by him, Remco Evenepoel, and Jonas Vingegaard at Itzulia Basque Country.

His two stage wins at the late summit finishes at Le Collet d'Allevard and Samöens 1600 were his first since the opening day at Itzulia, though a shaky final stage showing – where he shed almost a minute to Matteo Jorgenson and only held onto yellow by eight seconds – could provoke some cause for concern. 

Roglič’s presence means last year’s leader Jai Hindley — who enjoyed a day in the yellow jersey after winning stage five in Laruns before back pain contributed to a slip down to seventh on GC — will be demoted to the role of super-domestique.

While Hindley’s form has tailed away since his impressive third-place finish at Tirreno-Adriatico, Aleksandr Vlasov might believe he has the results to justify potential co-leadership status. With a second place at Tour de Romandie, sixth at Volta a Catalunya and fifth at Paris-Nice, he has been among the team's top performers this year. At the Dauphiné, he proved a reliable and strong deputy for Roglič.

Elsewhere, the rest of the team is geared exclusively towards targeting the yellow jersey, with Champs-Elysées-winning sprinter Jordi Meeus missing out on selection as the team looks to domestiques Danny van Poppel , Nico Denz , Marco Haller , Matteo Sobrero , and Bob Jungels .

  • Team leader: Remco Evenepoel
  • Rider to watch: Mikel Landa, Ilan Van Wilder

Soudal-QuickStep set their sights on GC success with Remco Evenepoel

In a drastic change of approach, Soudal-QuickStep have abandoned their usual Tour de France strategy of targeting bunch sprints and stage wins, and instead are going all-in on Remco Evenepoel ’s push for GC.

This is set to be Evenepoel’s debut Tour, and it’s a hugely anticipated one, given the already enormous star profile he’s built for himself through many superb performances and major results, including two Liège–Bastogne–Liège victories, the world title in 2022, and the GC at the Vuelta a España that same year.

His build-up has been compromised after a crash and fractured collarbone at Itzulia Basque Country stalled the momentum that had already seen him win Volta ao Algarve and finish second at Paris-Nice, but the plan remains the same.

His first race back, the Critérium du Dauphiné, saw him score a dominant time trial win. However, he faded hard in the closing three mountain stages, losing 2:25 to Primož Roglič and finishing seventh overall in the GC. That will be a major cause for concern heading into July.

As part of the team building around Evenepoel, Mikel Landa has been signed up as a super-domestique. The Spaniard has performed this role in the past – at Sky to help Chris Froome win the 2017 Tour de France and at Movistar for Richard Carapaz’s 2019 Giro d’Italia triumph. Second at Volta a Catalunya and 10th at the Dauphiné suggests he has the legs to do something similar this year, too

Landa will be joined by Evenepoel’s familiar right-hand man, Ilan Van Wilder . The Belgian has ridden in support of Evenepoel many times, most notably during his triumphant Vuelta a España effort two years ago and should be in solid form, too, having placed fourth at the Tour de Romandie.

The team’s focus on GC means there will be no room for in-form sprinter Tim Merlier, despite his success at the Giro d’Italia, nor even home favourite Julian Alaphilippe, as the remaining spots instead go to domestiques including Yves Lampaert , Casper Pedersen , Louis Vervaeke and Gianni Moscon .

  • Team leader: Mathieu Burgaudeau
  • Rider to watch: Steff Cras

Mathieu Burgaudeau in polka dots at Paris-Nice

When TotalEnergies signed Peter Sagan for the 2022 season, they hoped the Slovakian would be the star name to make them protagonists at the Tour de France. His first edition for them was typically consistent, finishing in the top six of five different stages, but lacking the edge of his heyday; by the following year his powers had seriously waned, and he only made the top ten once.

Now that Sagan has retired, the team must embark on a new direction. They’ve struggled at the Tour in recent years and haven’t won a stage since Lilian Calmejane in 2017.

It will be hard for them to break that duck this year. Of the four non-WorldTour entries, they probably have the weakest roster, as reflected by the fact that they’d only won three races this season as of the beginning of June.

Consequently, their strategy will be to buy daily tickets in the lottery that is getting into the breakaway. Mathieu Burgaudeau is a particular specialist at this, having finished second and third on stages of last year’s race, and placed second in the King of the Mountains classification at this year’s Paris-Nice riding similarly aggressively.

The likes of Pierre Latour, Anthony Turgis, Geoffrey Soupe and Alexis Vuillermoz all provide experienced options for TotalEnergies to potentially select. And though the team don’t tend to target GC anymore, Stef Cras ’ 11th place finish at the Vuelta a España last year suggests he could become their first rider to crack the top ten since Pierre Rolland in 2015 — although his participation remains up in the air due to his involvement in the horror crash at Itzulia Basque Country.

  • Team leaders: Tadej Pogačar
  • Rider to watch: Adam Yates, Juan Ayuso

Tadej Pogačar takes aim at the first Giro-Tour double since 1998

Phase one of UAE Team Emirates ’ great ambition to win the Giro/Tour double this year with Tadej Pogačar was a success, with the Slovenian waltzing to an enormous victory at the first Grand Tour . Now, it’s time for the hard part.

Pogačar won the Giro at a canter, almost 10 minutes clear of second place as he won a staggering six stages without ever appearing to have to stretch himself. But at the Tour, he’ll be up against a much stronger field of GC candidates, none of whom have the accumulated fatigue of having already completed a Grand Tour this season – even if Evenepoel, Roglič, and Vingegaard are all making comebacks from that brutal Itzulia crash.

UAE Team Emirates provided ample support to him at the Giro, with Rafał Majka and Vegard Stake Laengen impressing in particular, but the team is set to ring in the changes with an all-new line-up at the Tour.

On paper, it’s a much stronger group of riders, and the team have announced that recent winner of the Tour de Suisse Adam Yates , and runner-up João Almeida , along with Juan Ayuso will support Pogačar's bid for victory at the Tour de France .

In Yates, they have the man who finished third last summer, even if his form this year is in more doubt, having performed only in patches since winning the UAE Tour in February. Ayuso provides another potential GC option, making his Tour debut on the back of a podium finish at the Vuelta a España and overall victory at Itzulia Basque Country earlier this year. 

More climbing firepower will come from Almeida, another rider who would slot in as a GC leader at most of the other teams in the peloton. Elsewhere, Pavel Sivakov and Marc Soler bolster the climbing line-up along with Tim Wellens and Nils Politt , the latter pairing set to feature in the engine room during flatter stages.

The team will be hoping Ayuso, Sivakov, Wellens, and Politt recover well from a mass spill at the Critérium du Dauphiné, with Ayuso forced out of the race with pain in both hips as a result.

  • Team leader: Alexander Kristoff
  • Riders to watch: Andreas Leknessund, Magnus Cort

Alexander Kristoff will hope to add to his four career Tour de France stage wins

After making a successful Tour de France debut last year, Uno-X Mobility have been invited back by ASO as a wild card entry again.

Last year, they impressed by being active in the breakaways, with Tobias Halland Johannessen enjoying particular success with three top-six finishes. He’s set to return this year and on the back of some good form, too, having finished sixth at La Flèche Wallonne during the spring.

This time, they’ll have more strings to their bow. In new signing Andreas Leknessund , they have a rider capable of challenging for GC, even if he hasn’t yet shown the form this season that saw him finish eighth overall at the Giro d’Italia last year. And Magnus Cort brings considerable experience as a two-time former stage winner at the Tour, and will be dangerous from an intermediate stage break or reduced bunch sprint.

They will also again have Alexander Kristoff for the bunch sprints, who, though poised to turn 37 during the Tour, has been winning regularly this past month or so and could have it in him to add to his four career Tour stage wins. 

But they are also sure to be one of the main presences in the breakaways, with Jonas Abrahamsen posing a particular threat, having recently won the Brussels Cycling Classic that way.

  • Team leader: Jonas Vingegaard
  • Rider to watch: Sepp Kuss, Wout van Aert

Jonas Vingegaard accelerates away during his dominant Tirreno-Adriatico win

The final decision arrived just one week before the start of the Tour de France: Jonas Vingegaard  and Wout van Aert were confirmed in Visma-Lease a Bike’s Tour de France line-up, ending weeks of speculation about their fitness and ambitions for the biggest race of the 2024 season.

But as the Tour approaches, however, Visma-Lease a Bike are still cautious on the fitness of Vingegaard. The defending champion’s participation was plunged into doubt when he crashed out of Itzulia Basque Country in April and hasn’t raced since. He has recently returned to training at high altitude, though his exact racing level won't become apparent before the Tour.

Given the severity of that fall, the fact he will return in time for the Tour de France feels miraculous, but doing so with the form to win the yellow jersey again will be an even bigger ask.

Prior to that crash, Vingegaard had started the season in intimidatingly good form, triumphing at both Tirreno-Adriatico and O Gran Camiño while claiming five stage wins in total, and would surely be the overwhelming favourite for yellow were it not for his fitness and form doubts. 

The team has stated that Vingegaard has recovered enough from the crash to achieve a good result, while the Dane himself has said, “The last few months have not always been easy, but I thank my family and Team Visma-Lease a Bike for their unwavering support. We have worked together to get to this moment, and of course, I am very excited to see where I stand. I feel good and very motivated."

The team will also field Sepp Kuss , who could potentially fill a GC role. The peerless climbing super-domestique proved himself as a Grand Tour GC rider by winning the Vuelta a España last year, though he hasn’t shown anything like that form so far this year. On top of that, he abandoned the Critérium du Dauphiné before the final day of racing as he wasn't feeling 100% .

Like Vingegaard, Van Aert, too, was a doubt as he tried to recover in time from the injuries that ruled him out of both the Giro d’Italia and the major spring Classics, though he has returned to racing at the Tour of Norway.

Van Aert has won nine stages at the Tour de France and won the green points jersey in 2022. He was keen to return to the Tour after missing the Giro. He has stated that his main goal is to "ride a top classification with Jonas."

Also on the team will be Tiesj Benoot , Jan Tratnik, Christophe Laporte and Wilco Kelderman . Matteo Jorgenson will make for a very useful addition to the line-up, bringing a diverse range of talents that has this year seen him win Paris-Nice and Dwars door Vlaanderen and score a surprising second overall at the Dauphiné.

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Stephen Puddicombe is a freelance writer based in Bristol. He has written for Cyclingnews since 2020, and has covered cycling professionally as a freelancer since 2013, writing for outlets such as Rouleur , Cycling Weekly and Cycle Sport , among other publications. He is the author of The World of the Tour de France, published by Sona Books. Outside of cycling he is a passionate cinephile, and a long-suffering Spurs fan.

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Romain Bardet retires! After Pinot, France loses another fan favorite, with summer 2025 as the endpoint

Romain Bardet will retire as a professional cyclist in the summer of 2025. The Frenchman of Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL announced through his team that he will hang up his bike after next year's the Critérium du Dauphiné. This means he will start his last Tour de France on June 29.

Bardet, who had an expiring contract with the Dutch team, will still be seen on the road for another half year in 2025. He will ride the Giro d'Italia as his last grand tour. In the second half of next year, he will switch to gravel racing, with the World Championships in Nice as his goal. "He is a figurehead of the sport and a rider that is beloved by fans worldwide," Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL initially announced his one-year contract extension.

However, 2025 will signify the end of the road for the climber, who has been in the professional peloton since 2012 and achieved two podium finishes in the Tour de France with his previous team AG2R, in 2016 and 2017. He accumulated numerous top finishes in major one-day races and won stages in both the Tour and the Vuelta a España. "To those within the team it’s his professionalism, enthusiasm and a genuine true, authentic kindness to his persona that stand out," the team praised.

"I have really enjoyed my time with the team so far so for me, it was a no-brainer to either continue with them or fully end my career. I am very grateful for the relationship I have with all the team members and for the trust that the management is putting in me. I was not really sure if I wanted to continue cycling, but I still feel that I can bring value and keep chasing big results with the team, so I am happy that we are going into another year together to do something a bit special," Bardet said about his decision.

Continue reading below the photo .

Bardet explains why he will stop after the Dauphiné

"For me, this is the way I dreamed of finishing my career. I hope to still chase some big victories with the team in 2025," he promises. Bardet wants to win a stage in the Giro, which would give him a stage win in all three grand tours. "I also feel that I want to give back to the team. I will also keep working with the younger riders in the team and help them develop towards their GC goals. The Dauphiné will be my final road race, as it is my favourite race on the calendar. It is really mountainous and close to where I live. These are the roads I used to train on a lot, so there couldn’t be a better place to finish my road career."

The fact that he will then take up gravel racing may come as a small surprise. "It will be a kind of transition for me, but I will do my best in some of the World Cups and hope to also do well in the World Championships in Nice in 2025." Head coach Rudi Kemna is pleased that Bardet will end his career with them. "He is a true professional who always gives his all for the sport and gives energy to those around him. We’ve seen Romain not only perform brilliantly on the bike with us, but he has a passion for helping those around him, and with a voice of wisdom and calmness he helps to guide and mentor the young up-and-coming GC talents within the team. We’re excited that we can continue working with him in his final year on the road and be there to support him as he takes on his new adventure in gravel racing."

Romain Bardet retires! After Pinot, France loses another fan favorite, with summer 2025 as the endpoint

StarTribune

Edina council backs plan for multi-use development on macy's furniture site.

Arguably the most out-of-date building along the busiest stretch of France Avenue in Edina is a step closer to demolition.

The Edina City Council gave the preliminary OK on Tuesday to a land use plan that would bring a four-building, mixed-use development to the Macy's Furniture Gallery site. The council is expected to take a final vote in August.

The "earth-sheltered" building currently on the site opened in the late 1970s. It is sunk into the ground and surrounded on two sides by parking lots.

"All of us have been driving by this site for years and looking at that bunker," Mayor Jim Hovland said Tuesday night during a four-hour council meeting largely devoted to the site.

"This is one of the best pieces of property in town," Hovland said of the land between France Avenue and the Edina Promenade.

Developer Enclave Companies plans four buildings for the site with a mix of housing, offices, retail and restaurants. The tallest will be an 11-story building on the southwest corner of the property. Three others will rise seven stories.

The development could cost up to $350 million by the time it is completed in 2028. It includes more than 500 apartments and 49 condos, with 10% of the units meeting the city's affordable housing guidelines.

Each building has a parking ramp, and there's minimal street parking.

Developer Enclave Properties proposed the redevelopment of the former Macy's Furniture Gallery site along France Avenue in Edina. The project includes four buildings with housing, offices and retail.

To put buildings that tall on the property, the developer needs the council to approve "planned unit development" zoning, which allows exemptions from some setback and other requirements. It also gives city officials more say in design and appearance of the structures.

"I think this is exactly what the Southdale plan had in mind for this spot," Council Member Carolyn Jackson said of the city's comprehensive plan for the area. "It is a place where we can have super density. I think this will be a real benefit to our community."

Enclave Companies and other partners on the project have been working since 2022 through the city's approval process, which includes community engagement and detailed reviews from the city planning commission and council.

Yet, the plan is not without critics.

Residents have concerns about the height and size of the buildings , saying they will not fit in with the surrounding community. They also worry about increased traffic in the already congested area.

"We only have one opportunity to get it right," said Judy Buckley, who lives nearby, during a June 4 meeting.

"It is such a beautiful area. It could be better for the neighborhood; better for Edina," Buckley said after Tuesday's vote.

Residents have raised questions about whether the project will receive tax increment financing (TIF), which uses future property taxes to cover some of the costs of construction and public infrastructure.

Patrick Brama, of Enclave, said the project would not be "financially feasible" without TIF and that city leaders have discretion over what types of expenses are eligible for the tax break.

The redevelopment plan includes a path between the buildings to connect the promenade with France Avenue. City leaders eventually want a bridge or tunnel for pedestrians to safely cross the busy street.

Macy's furniture store in Edina is facing the wrecking ball. It's not a big loss.

Macy's furniture store in Edina is facing the wrecking ball. It's not a big loss.

Christopher Magan covers Hennepin County. .

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Macy’s Furniture Gallery in Edina is an example of an earth-sheltered building, a short-lived fad in commercial architecture.

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    France Bike Tours. Backroads hosted our first France bike tour in 1988 in the gorgeous Loire Valley. Since then, we've deepened our roots in the country. Let us show you why we love cycling France. We will take you past fairytale castles or through fields of lavender in Provence. Meet with local vintners and dine at Michelin-star restaurants ...

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    Still, that result means Rodríguez is the obvious choice to lead the team's 2024 GC bid, and the 23-year-old has bolstered his status with overall victory at the Tour de Romandie and second ...

  24. Romain Bardet retires! After Pinot, France loses another fan ...

    However, 2025 will signify the end of the road for the climber, who has been in the professional peloton since 2012 and achieved two podium finishes in the Tour de France with his previous team ...

  25. Edina council backs plan for multi-use development on Macy's furniture site

    The Edina City Council gave the preliminary OK on Tuesday to a land use plan that would bring a four-building, mixed-use development to the Macy's Furniture Gallery site. The council is expected ...

  26. Basque Country Biking, Walking & Hiking Tours

    French Pyrenees to Basque Country Women's Walking & Hiking Tour. Sparkling Biarritz to Spain's Rioja Wine Region. 6 days. Levels 2-4. Premiere Hotels. From $5,499 /person. Quick Look. Multi-Adventure. Families with 20s & Beyond.

  27. Porsche at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

    Two Porsche 963 have advanced into the so-called 'Hyperpole' in qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In this 30-minute session, the eight fastest drivers in each category will make a bid for pole position on Thursday at 8 pm. Kévin Estre qualified the No. 6 Porsche 963 for the Porsche Penske Motorsport works team.

  28. Bordeaux France Biking Tours

    Biking. Couples, Friends & Solos. Bordeaux River Cruise Bike Tour. Vineyards & Châteaux of Garonne, Dordogne & Gironde. 8 days. Levels 1-3. Small Luxury Ship. From $7,699 /person.