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The excitement is building for the start of this year’s Tour de France! Cycling’s biggest event starts on Saturday 2nd July in North Western France by the famous Le Mont-Saint-Michel and finishes on Sunday 24th July in Paris.

2015 winner Chris Froome said that he expected this years course to suit him better than last year's; "I think it's going to take a complete cyclist – but the stage that certainly stands out for me is Mont Ventoux." he added.

For the first time in Tour de France history, the race will start in Manche, Normandy before crossing Western France, with a long stretch passing through Angers, Saumur and Limoges.

The tour will pass through southern France as it then dips into Northern Spain before winding its way back into France. Stage 16 and 17 diverts through Switzerland summits to really put the cyclists through their paces.

One of the final stages is expected in landlocked Andorra but as usual, the Tour will culminate on the Champs-Élysées in Paris for a sprinters’ showdown.

If you’re going to be in France near any of those locations, do go out and experience the excitement. The colour and atmosphere are unforgettable as cyclists flash past in a loud whirr, a host of officials and support vehicles cruise by and the crowd goes crazy.

If you’re looking for last minute accommodation within access of the Tour route, check out our self-catering holiday homes in the regions. They make a great base for seeing the race and taking in some sightseeing and relaxation. Full details and links are in our guide to the Tour de France, along with more information about the event.

Want to watch the Tour in English on TV? From the opening day, ITV covers the finish of each stage live and provides an hour of expertly and entertainingly narrated highlights every night.