Next year's Tour to favour aggressive riders as route is unveiled
Organisers have unveiled a route for the 2017 Tour de France featuring many early climbs in a bid to limit the opportunities for strong teams to dominate stages and reward aggressive riders looking to shake up the sport's greatest spectacle.
Race director Christian Prudhomme peppered the 2017 course with steep climbs, five of them making their first appearance on the Tour and many early in stages, which will start from Duesseldorf on July 1 and go through four countries before ending in Paris on July 23.
"We want to favour the long-range attacks," Prudhomme told reporters before unveiling the route on Tuesday.
"We want to break the catenaccio on the race," he added, referring to the conservative tactics top teams are able to impose on flatter stages.
Organisers hope that the top teams will not be able to impose their rule in such a stage having seen Britain's all-powerful Team Sky in particular often control many stages with meticulously planned and executed group riding.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) after stage 20 of the Tour de FranceEurosport
"Let's hope that some aggressive top riders will be able to break away in the Col du Grand Colombier (the second of the three big climbs in the stage) and hold on to their lead all the way to Chambery. It will be difficult to control that stage," said Prudhomme.
The course, which features two short individual time trials -- including the penultimate stage in Marseille, starting and ending at the Stade Velodrome -- could favour France's Romain Bardet, who finished second overall this year.
No Frenchman has won the Tour since Bernard Hinault clinched the last of his five titles in 1985, but France have been on the final podium of two of the last three editions with Bardet, Thibaut Pinot and Jean-Christophe Peraud.
However, anyone wanting to win will have to find a way to beat Chris Froome, aiming for a third successive victory and fourth in all, and his dominant Team Sky, who have won four of the last five races.
2017 TOUR DE FRANCE ROUTE
July 1 - Stage 1: Duesseldorf - Duesseldorf (individual time trial), 13km
July 2 - Stage 2: Duesseldorf - Liege (Belgium), 202km
July 3 - Stage 3: Verviers (Belgium) - Longwy, 202km
July 4 - Stage 4: Mondorf-Les-Bains (Luxembourg) - Vittel, 203km
July 5 - Stage 5: Vittel - La Planche des Belles Filles, 160km
July 6 - Stage 6: Vesoul - Troyes, 216km
July 7 - Stage 7: Troyes - Nuits-Saint-Georges, 214km
July 8 - Stage 8: Dole - Station des Rousses, 187km
July 9 - Stage 9: Nantua - Chambery, 181km
July 10 - Rest day in Dordogne region
July 11 - Stage 10: Perigueux - Bergerac, 178km
July 12 - Stage 11: Eymet - Pau, 202km
July 13 - Stage 12: Pau - Peyragudes, 214km
July 14 - Stage 13: Saint-Girons - Foix, 100km
July 15 - Stage 14: Blagnac - Rodez, 181km
July 16 - Stage 15: Laissac-Severac L'Eglise - Le-Puy-en-Velay, 189km
July 17 - Rest day in Le-Puy-en-Velay
July 18 - Stage 16: Le-Puy-en-Velay - Romans-sur-Isere, 165km
July 19 - Stage 17: La Mure - Serre-Chevalier, 183km
July 20 - Stage 18: Briancon - Izoard, 178km
July 21 - Stage 19: Embrun - Salon-de-Provence, 220km
July 22 - Stage 20: Marseille - Marseille (individual time trial), 23km
July 23 - Stage 21: Montgeron - Paris Champs-Elysees, 105km