This Saturday 20th July the penultimate stage of the Tour de France will pass through the historic town of Annecy, about an hour's drive from Chamonix.
The riders will gather beside the lake close to the centre of town for a 1:30pm start. If you want to cheer them off then arrive in plenty of time as the caravan will go past at 11:30am and the streets will be lined with Tour fans long before that - you'll have to be early to grab a good spot!
The riders will then pass through 5 cols (mountain passes) and cycle 125km before arriving at the pretty mountain resort of Semnoz at 1655m. The fastest cyclists are expected to arrive at 4:52pm; it is one of the shorter stages so the riders should hopefully have plenty of oomph left in them for a good battle on the final steep climb up to the finish!
This will be the 20th stage of the Tour de France, the last day before the grand finish at the Champs Elysee in Paris. The event is the biggest and most fervently supported sporting event in France, so the atmosphere along the route will be electric.
If you want to watch the start and then relax for the rest of the day then Annecy is a beautiful place to visit with a medieval "old town" district, a crystal clear lake and lots of park areas; you can take boat trips, ride on a sightseeing train or hire a bicycle to cycle round the lake. The waterways that run through the old town give it the nickname "Venice of the Alps" and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from for a leisurely lunch.
Semnoz is about 20 minutes drive from Annecy and is in the heart of the Bauges Natural Regional Park. The race finishes with a steep climb up Le Crêt de Châtillon, from where there are stunning views of Mont Blanc, the Aiguille du Midi, the Écrins massif and Beaufortain as well as over the nearby lakes of Annecy and Bourget.
If you are coming by car then be aware than Avenue du Rhone will be closed from 9am until 3pm, the recommended parking zone is in Vovray off exit 15 of the autoroute. A free Tour de France bus will be travelling between Annecy and Quintal, leaving at regular intervals from the Palais de Justice in Annecy. You can find all the time schedules, stage profiles and route maps on the official Tour de France website.