If you're looking for a condensed version of this year's tour, these five stages should provide you with enough material for your water cooler talk.
Stage 31 of 6
After its notable absence the past couple of years, the team time trial makes its triumphant return to the tour and its 35-km distance, which could have a big impact on the overall classification. While the yellow will likely end up in the hands of a sprinter who happens to be on the fastest team that day, this stage will determine who will be in attack mode come the mountain stages. And for those who appreciate the sport's esthetics, nothing holds a candle to the beauty of a perfectly orchestrated paceline.
Stage 92 of 6
A cyclist on a cobbled road is like a professional basketball player trying to shoot on a 20-foot hoop—it's watching professionals struggle at a sport they dominate. The hilly, cobbled stage 9 is sure to bring some drama and could be the first stage where viewers see some legitimate time gaps between the contenders. With 15 cobbled sections totaling nearly 22 km of cobbled terrain, this could make the stage ripe for a surprise attack.
Stage 123 of 6
The final stage in the Alps will see riders struggle up the 21 bends of cycling's greatest venue: Alpe D'huez. While the climb has become an annual tradition in the tour, this stage will also provide us with a race favorite. Whoever makes it to the top wearing yellow will likely have to defend the jersey the rest of the way.
Stage 194 of 6
The climb up the Col du Tourmalet, which occurs at this long stage's midpoint, is likely to be the last hope for those trailing the maillot jaune to make up time before the individual time trial. Expect plenty of attacks and some gutsy descents as riders scramble to make to the podium.
Stage 205 of 6
The penultimate stage also represents the only individual time trial at the year's tour. The 31-km time trial will also give riders their last opportunity to make a run for the maillot jaune before the Champs Elysees. While pure time trialists will certainly have their say, the stage's profile also gives climbers a puncher's chance at making up time.