The route of the 2017 Tour de France has been unveiled in Paris, with a series of new steeper climbs, a finish at the summit of the Col d'Izoard and a final time trial in Marseille are likely to be the key moments of next year's Grand Boucle. For all the latest reaction on the 2017 Tour de France, head to our hub page.
The innovative route will include some short but intense mountain stages and visit all five mountain regions of France -the first time in 25 years - with a transfer from the east on the first rest day meaning the Vosges and Jura will be followed by the Pyrenees, the Massif Central and the Alps.
There is no team time trial again in 2017 and only 36km of individual time trials, with the route seeming tipped in favour of the climbers and aggressive overall contenders.There are three mountain finishes at La Planche des Belles Filles, Peyragudes and the Col d'Izoard, while other mountain stages end with testing descents. Time bonuses will be awarded, with 10, 6 and 4 seconds awarded at the finish of the road racing stage. The mountains classification has also been tweaked, with extra points awarded on the Hors Category climbs.
Race director Christian Prudhomme seems to have taken inspiration from the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana by searching out steeper, little-known climbs and reducing stage distances. He also called on the UCI to allow him to reduced team sizes to end what he called a 'catenaccio' racing style.
2016 Tour de France winner Chris Froome was in Paris for the route presentation. "Tough," Froome said when asked of his reaction to the route. "It's definitely going to be a climbers' race from what I can tell. It's very light on time trial kilometres but that's all part of the race and that's something I'm going to have to focus my training on, being the best I can be on the climbs.
"Certainly, from my first reaction there were quite a few stages going up over 2,000 metres. The Izoard goes up to 2,300 metres; that's going to be an absolute beast of a stage. Initial feelings are that it's going to be a race that is won or lost in the mountains. Of course, it's the Tour and anything can happen so we have to be ready for all eventualities."
Richie Porte said: "It's quite a balanced course. There's not a lot of time trialling but there is quite a bit of climbing but descending to the finish as well. There's quite a spread between the Planche des Belles Filles on the fifth stage and then the Col d'Izoard on the 18th. There's a lot of stages in between there with cross winds. I think it's typical to stand here now and saw that it's not a climber's Tour but the road will always decide that."
As already confirmed, the German city of Dusseldorf will host the Tour de France Grand Depart with a 13km individual time trial kicking off the action on Saturday July 1, and awarding the first race leader's yellow jersey of the race. The route will then head to France via Liege in Belgium and Luxembourg, with the first mountain finish atop La Planche des Belles Filles, where Froome won in 2012, and Vincenzo Nibali in 2014.
A diversion to Troyes gives the sprinters a chance of success before the Jura and a finish at the Les Rousses ski resort close to the border with Switzerland. The following stage to Chambery is a day for the pure climbers with the Grand Colombier tackled from the Virieu-le-Petit side - which has a section of road at 22% - followed by the terrible Mont du Chat -8.8km at 10%. The stage includes 4200 metres of climbing.
A plane transfer will take the race across France to Perigueux near Bordeaux on Monday July 10 for the first rest day, with the race then heading to Pau and into the Pyrenees with finishes in Peyragudes and Foix. The first includes the Port des Bales and the Peyresourde but the second –on July 14, Bastille Day - covers lesser known, and steeper, climbs packed into less than three hours of racing. It is the shortest stage of the last 30 editions of Tour at just 100km.
Detailed reconnaissance of the new steep climbs will be vital for every Tour de France contender.
Exiting the Pyrenees, the route transfer west via Rodez, Le Puy-en-Velay and Romans-sur-Isère, with the tiny village of Le Puy-en-Velay in the Haute-Loire also hosting the second rest day before the Alps begin.
Stage 17 finishes in Serre Chevalier in the Hautes Alpes and includes both the Telegraph and the Galibier. It is followed by the final mountain stage of the race to the summit of the legendary Col d'Izoard in the heart of the Alps. The stage will also include the Guillestre, Barcelonnette and the Col de Vars climbs before the finish at 2,360 metres after passing through the moonlike landscapes of the Casse Déserte area. This stage will host the Etape du Tour sportif on July 14 and the women's La Course race, which moves from Paris and the Champs Elysees to the Alps. There is no women's Tour de France in 2017.
A transfer stage to Salone-en-Provence will take the riders onto Marseille for the decisive 23 time trial stage around the Mediterranean city, with race organizers hoping every second will be decisive in who wins the Tour de France. The time trial starts and finishes in the Marseille velodrome football stadium, offering a unique way to see the race.
After a long transfer north to Paris on Sunday morning, the French capital will again host the final evening road stage before the final sprint and celebrations on the Champs Elysees.
Tour de France 2017 route
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 – Peyragudes, 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