Report: 2018 Tour de France to run only limited cobbled sectors

As few as 3km of pavé in stage 9 from Arras to Roubaix?

The 2018 Tour de France route is due to be announced on October 17, but rumours of another stage with lengthy stretches of cobbled roads near Roubaix, such as the 13km of pave used in 2010, 2014 and 2015, have been quashed by regional news outlet Nord Eclair, which reports that there may be as few as 3.2km in next year's race.

La Voix du Nord reported last month that stage 9 of the 2018 Tour de France was likely to start in Compiegne, the traditional host city of Paris-Roubaix, and would pass through Roubaix itself.

Sunday's report from Nord Eclair says the stage would instead begin in Arras and end in Roubaix and would likely be short, roughly 150km, to facilitate the transfer of the peloton to Aix-les-Bains for the first rest day.

Nord Eclair speculates the only cobbled sectors that will be in the route are the Carrefour de l'Arbe (2100m), Gruson (1100m), which typically follows the Carrefour sector in Paris-Roubaix, and possibly Camphin-en-Pévèle (1800m) which normally precedes it in the Classic.

The 2018 Tour de France is due to begin in the Vendée region. A planned Grand Depart on the Passage du Gois had to be scrapped because the date shift to avoid a date conflict with the FIFA World Cup meant the tide would be in during the start.

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