Organisers have unveiled an unconventional route for the 2017 Tour de France 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 most prestigious event.
Race director Christian Prudhomme peppered the 104th race 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 five countries before ending in Paris on the 23.
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 having seen Britain’s all-powerful Team Sky in particular often control many stages with meticulously planned and executed group riding.
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, four minutes and five seconds behind three-time Tour De France winner Chris Froome.