The 2018 Tour de France started on July 7 and finishes on July 29 in Paris.

WATCH TOUR DE FRANCE FREE LIVE ONLINE

The Giro d’Italia is done and dusted, so are the Spring Classics, and it’s almost time for the greatest stage race of them all – the Tour de France.

Tour de France

Defending champion and Giro winner, Chris Froome will be on hand to defend his title, while contenders Nairo Quintana, Romain Bardet, Richie Porte and Rigoberto Uran are also ready to ride.

Froome is currently experiencing an unprecedented period of form, having won three consecutive Tours de France, as well as the 2017 Vuelta a Espana and the 2018 Giro.

It’s crazy, really.

Here’s absolutely everything you need to know about the 2018 Tour de France.

When does the 2018 Tour de France start?

The Tour started on July 7 and will finish on July 29.

The 2018 edition of the race started a week later than most years to avoid a clash with the World Cup. As a consequence, it will be the shortest Tour in a while.

Tour de France 2018 route

The 2018 Tour de France will cover 3351km over the course of 21 stages and three weeks.

There will be two rest days, one individual time trial, a team time trial and three mountain finishes.

Check out the route below:

How to watch the 2018 Tour de France

The best place to watch the Tour de France on TV is on SBS.

The free-to-air channel has been the home of Australian cycling for years, and recently added former Green Jersey winner Robbie McEwen and veteran caller Matthew Keenan to the commentary ranks.

SBS airs every stage live, and will have a show called Daily Update every day at 7am.

Stage replays will be shown at 1pm and 3pm on Viceland, while a highlights show is on at 5:30pm every day.

Starting times of coverage on SBS varies between 8:30pm and 10:30pm, with the first stage going to air on July 7 at 8:30.

With SBS also showing the FIFA World Cup, whenever there is a clash, the cycling will move to Viceland.

Can I stream the Tour de France?

Absolutely. You can stream the Tour on SBS on Demand, the Cycling Central website and on the official Tour Tracker App.

Richie Porte at the 2018 Tour de France 

Australian rider Richie Porte’s BMC team has named it’s eight-man squad to tackle the roads of France in July.

Veteran Aussie Simon Gerrans is in the mix, with Greg Van Avermaet set to carry the load on some of the more windswept sections of the course.

There was no room for fellow Australian Rohan Dennis though after he road the Giro in May.

Click here for the full team and comments from the bosses.

Chris Froome reinstated to the 2018 Tour de France

After a few days of uncertainty, four-time Tour winner Chris Froome is riding the 2018 Tour de France.

The Brit was blocked earlier in the week by Tour organisers after he returned a suspect drug test during last year’s Vuelta a Espana. But after Team Sky appealed the ban, Froome will be on the start line this Saturday attempting to win a fifth Tour.

Thibaut Pinot out of 2018 Tour de France

France’s big hope, Thibaut Pinot has been forced out of the 2018 Tour after contracting pneumonia at the Giro d’Italia in May.

After a hugely successful spring, and a win in the Tour of the Alps, Pinot was near the top of the leaderboard heading into the final weekend in Italy.

Pinot had hopes of wresting the leader’s jersey from Chris Froome on the last mounatin stage, but came down with pneumonia and slipped from third to 16th overall.

After the stage, he was taken by ambulance to hospital and couldn’t finish the race.

In June, he announced he wouldn’t ride the Tour in order to be fit for the Vuelta a Espana and World Championships later in the year.