How Many Rest Days in the Tour de France?

By : Mr Mamil
Updated :

The Tour de France is a three-week long race comprising 21 stages with a total distance of around 3,500km (2,188 miles). Racing for three weeks takes a heavy toll on the body, even for professional cyclists.

Hence, the need for rest days. The rest day is the day where there is no racing at the Tour de France.

How many rest days at the Tour de France?

Since 1999, there are two rest days on Mondays on week 2 and week 3. The rest days are preceded by a hard mountain stage on the prior day (Sunday) to allow the riders to rest and recover.

In 2022, there will be two rest days and a transfer day after Stage 3. Transfer day is relatively new to the Tour de France, but not other Grand Tours such as the Giro d’Italia. As the name implies, teams use this day to do longer transfers between cities. For 2022, it will be the day when the teams transfer between Sønderborg, Denmark to Dunkirk, France.

The rest days of the Tour de France started in 1934 with three days. The most number of rest days is 6 in 1936, 1937 and 1938. The last time the Tour de France didn’t have a rest day was in 1970. Since 1970, there are either one or two rest days.

Interesting fact : All three Grand Tours in 2022 will have two rest days and a transfer day as the race starts from outside the home country.

What do the riders do on a rest day?

Although the is no racing, the riders still go out for an easy, recovery ride. After the ride, the riders will get their daily massage, refuel and relax for the rest of the day. For those who are nursing an injury, it’s also a time to recover and visit a doctor if needed.

Depending on their fatigue levels, the recovery ride can be anywhere between one to two hours long under very low intensity. One of the main reasons to do the ride is for recovery and to keep the body going.

In recent years, the stages following the rest days are usually ridden at a harder pace, and riders who haven’t ridden on the rest day would usually struggle to keep up.

Rest days at Tour de France, 1933 to present

YearRest days
19343
19354
19366
19376
19386
19393
19475
19485
19494
19504
19512
19522
19532
19542
19552
19562
19572
19580
19592
19601
19611
19620
19631
19641
19651
19662
19672
19682
19690
19700
19712
19722
19732
19742
19752
19762
19772
19782
19791
19802
19812
19822
19831
19841
19851
19861
19871
19881
19892
19902
19911
19921
19932
19941
19952
19961
19971
19981
19992
20002
20012
20022
20032
20042
20052
20062
20072
20082
20092
20102
20112
20122
20132
20142
20152
20162
20172
20182
20192
20202
20212
20223