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.
"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."
Detailed reconnaissance of the new steep climbs will be vital for every Tour de France contender.
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