Under the watchful eyes of defending champion Chris Froome and two time winner Alberto Contador the route for the 2014 Tour de France was unveiled at a ceremony in Paris on Wednesday.
The race begins on July 5 with three stages in England before skipping across the channel to France.
There will be five summit finishes and one time-trial which takes place on the penultimate day of action.
Stage five features 15 km of cobbles spread out over nine sections and could turn the race into a lottery.
Contador says: “It is a complicated and nervous stage with risks of falling and mechanical failures, and the risk of losing the Tour. It’s a Tour which has a little bit of everything.”
Despite early criticism of the cobbles defending champion Froome was sure his Team Sky would help him manage the tricky nature of the stage in Northern France.
‘‘We might have to put a mechanic standing every 100 metres with spare wheels and, but I’m sure the performance team will be on to that.”
Froome will attempt to become the first rider in 19 years to successfully retain the title.
But first he’ll have to make the 3656 kilometre trip around France and hope to be in yellow when the main bunch cross the traditional finish line down the Champs Elysees on July 27.