Tour de France 2018 could return to the cobbles

Rumoured stage from Compiegne in opening week

The 2018 Tour de France will likely feature a stage over the Roubaix cobbles to round out the opening week of racing, according to a report in La Voix du Nord. The full Tour route will be announced on October 17 in Paris, but the opening stages have already been confirmed, and details about subsequent stages have been rumoured in the press.

Le Voix du Nord reports that there will be a stage starting from Compiegne on stage 9, on Sunday, July 15. Compiegne is to the north-east of Paris and has been the start town for Paris-Roubaix since 1977.

The finish down is not yet known, but the Amis Paris-Roubaix – which painstakingly looks after the cobbled roads of the region – Tweeted earlier this week that the race would pass through Roubaix. A visit to the region would coincide with the 100th anniversary of the armistice of the First World War.

The Tour de France has visited the cobbles a number of times in recent years, with a mixed reception from the riders. The last visit came in 2015 with Tony Martin surprising the cobbles specialists to win the stage and take the yellow jersey. The previous year, Lars Boom conquered the cobbles while Chris Froome abandoned before the pavé after a series of crashes. 

Next year's Tour de France will start in Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile with the first stage taking the riders off the Passage du Gois. Stage 2 will take the riders from Mouilleron-Saint-Germain and finish in La Roche-sur-Yon, while the third stage is set to be a team time trial around Cholet. Stage 4 will set off from La Baule, with the location of the stage finish yet to be confirmed.

There have also been rumours of a ride up the Alpe d'Huez in the second week, but that is still unconfirmed.

The 2018 Tour de France will begin on Saturday, July 7 and will finish three weeks later in Paris.

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