Tour de France organisers have announced the route for the 2017 race.
Next year’s race will take part in four countries, (Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and France), covers 3516 kilomètres and be less mountainous than the 2016 edition.
The race will kick off in Dusseldorf, Germany, with a 13km time trial. It will head to France by Liege in Belgium and Schengen, Luxembourg.
It will visit all five mountain ranges in France – the Jura, Vosges, the Pyrenees, the Massif Central and the Alps – for the first time in 25 years.
Organisers have unveiled a route featuring many early climbs in a bid to limit the opportunities for strong teams to dominate stages and reward aggressive riders looking to shake up the sport’s greatest spectacle.
Race director Christian Prudhomme peppered the 2017 course with steep climbs, five of them making their first appearance on the Tour and many early in stages, which will start from Duesseldorf on July 1 and go through four countries before ending in Paris on July 23.
“We want to favour the long-range attacks,” Prudhomme told reporters before unveiling the route on Tuesday.
“We want to break the catenaccio on the race,” he added, referring to the conservative tactics top teams are able to impose on flatter stages.
There will be only four summit finishes but attackers will get a chance to make an early impression with two of them coming in the first week, which will end with a gruelling mountain stage in the Jura featuring three daunting out-of-category ascents.
Organisers hope that the top teams will not be able to impose their rule in such a stage having seen Britain’s all-powerful Team Sky, in particular, often control many stages with meticulously planned and executed group riding.
“Let’s hope that some aggressive top riders will be able to break away in the Col du Grand Colombier (the second of the three big climbs in the stage) and hold on to their lead all the way to Chambery. It will be difficult to control that stage,” said Prudhomme.
The course, which features two short individual time trials — including the penultimate stage in Marseille, starting and ending at the Stade Velodrome — could favour France’s Romain Bardet, who finished second overall this year.
No Frenchman has won the Tour since Bernard Hinault clinched the last of his five titles in 1985, but France have been on the final podium of two of the last three editions with Bardet, Thibaut Pinot and Jean-Christophe Peraud.
However, anyone wanting to win will have to find a way to beat Chris Froome, aiming for a third
Stage 1, Saturday, July 1: Dusseldorf – Dusseldorf (ITT), 13km
Stage 2, Sunday, July 2: Dusseldorf – Liege, 202km
Stage 3, Monday, July 3: Verviers – Longwy, 202km
Stage 4, Tuesday, July 4: Mondorf-Les-Bains – Vittel, 203km
Stage 5, Wednesday, July 5: Vittel – Planche des Belles Filles, 160km
Stage 6, Thursday, July 6: Vesoul – Troyes, 216km
Stage 7, Friday, July 7:Troyes – Nuit-Saint-Georges, 214km
Stage 8. Saturday, July 8: Dole – Station des Tousses, 187km
Stage 9, Sunday, July 9: Nantua – Chambery, 181km
Rest day 1, Monday, July 10
Stage 10, Tuesday, July 11: Perigueux – Bergerac, 178km
Stage 11, Wednesday, July 12: Eymet – Pau, 202km
Stage 12, Thursday, July 13: Pau – Payragudes, 214km
Stage 13, Friday, July 14: Saint-Girons – Foix, 100km
Stage 14, Saturday, July 15: Blagnac – Rodez, 181km
Stage 15, Sunday, July 16: Laissac-Severac L’Eglise – Le Puy-en-Velay
Rest day 2, Monday, July 17
Stage 16, Tuesday, July 18: Le Puy-en-Velay – Romans-Sur-Isere, 165km
Stage 17, Wednesday, July 19: La Mure – Serre-Chevalier, 183km
Stage 18, Thursday, July 20: Briancon – Izoard, 178km
Stage 19, Friday, July 21: Embrun – Salon-de-Provence, 220km
Stage 20, Saturday, July 22: Marseille – Marseille (ITT), 23km
Stage 21, Sunday, July 23: Montgeron – Paris Champs Elysees, 105km