• France's news in English
Tour de France route revealed: And there's few mountains
Photo: AFP

Tour de France route revealed: And there's few mountains

AFP · 18 Oct 2016, 12:17

Published: 18 Oct 2016 12:17 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
The visually spectacular 104th race over 3,516 kilometers (2,183 miles) starts in Dusseldorf, Germany on July 1 with the traditional time trial. There are only five real mountain stages, fewer than 2016.
"This Tour de France route has been designed to be won by a true champion," Tour director Christian Prudhomme insisted, without naming Froome, winner in 2013, 2015 and 2016 or any favourite.
If the playing field has been levelled by cutting down on mountains the alternative challenges opens the door to he who dares, Prudhomme promised.
The opening 13km time trial offers world champion time-triallist Tony Martin the chance to clinch the yellow jersey on stage one as the Tour embarks from his native Germany for the first time in 30 years.
As the tour starts in the north, Prudhomme, president of tour organisers ASO explained the route has to be 'J' shaped, and this year misses the north and west of France entirely as it enters France via Belgium.
With nine varied flat stages, five hilly ones designed to open up the challenge, the five real mountain stages are designed to have a visual backdrop which will amplify the exploits of the athletes who excel there.
And if the crucial penultimate day's time trial starting at the Marseille Velodrome football stadium is only 23km long, it will be run in searing heat and feature a 1km stretch at 18 per cent gradient.
Contrary to nearly all the preceding Tours there will never be more than two consecutive days of climbing either.
Bond route 
The Tour's toughest stage on paper is the 214km Pyrenean run from Pau to Peyragudes which feature the mountain where the James Bond movie 'Tomorrow Never Dies' was partly filmed, and has a summit finish as the fifth climb of the day.
In total contrast, the following day's stage 13 is a short but spectacular 100km mountain run from Saint Girons culminating in a 27km hair-raising descent to Foix, featuring extreme climbs and descents along the way.
This is followed with a day for punchers and will evoke powerful memories for both the Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaert and world road champion Peter Sagan. The 181km 14th stage culminates in Rodez where the Belgian out-paced Sagan for a stage win in 2015.
Story continues below…
But even in the first week there will be stages for rollers, sprinters, testing cross-wind infested plains, and on day five the Planches Des Belles Filles where Bradley Wiggins took the yellow jersey in 2012 on a day Chris Froome won the stage.
There was further good news for Froome when it was announced that around 10km of mountain terrain, at crucial tactical climb points, would be stripped of roadside fans. The 2016 champion will never forget his accident caused by packed crowds on Mont Ventoux in 2016 that saw him run part way to the summit having abandoned a broken bike.
Prudhomme says a daring and decisive rider will be encouraged to soar away rather than be suffocated by over-enthusiastic fans.
The two Alpine stages on day 17 and 18 finish at the summit of the Izoard, described in the presentation guide as the perfect frame for the potential champion.
The most watched of all the stages by television audiences is the final day jaunt to Paris and the 10 laps of the Champs Elysees generally won by a top sprinters such as Mark Cavendish or Andre Grepel or Marcel Kittel.
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available