The 2021 Tour de France will feature a double ascent of the iconic Mont Ventoux, organisers have announced.

The gruelling climb will feature twice on Stage 11, with riders starting on the easiest of the three sides at Sault - 26km at an average gradient of 4.6 per cent - then tackling its hardest side from Bedoin - 21km at 7.5 per cent.

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The 2021 route also features two individual time trials, in the opening week and on the penultimate day, and another iconic climb on Stage 18 up Col du Tourmalet. There’s also the longest stage in 20 years as the peloton travels over 248km from Vierzon to Le Creusot on Stage 7.

The Tour de France will start on June 26 - having being moved forward a week to avoid a clash with the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games - and 22-year-old Tadej Pogacar will be the defending champion after his dramatic victory this year.

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The Grand Depart will be in the north-west city of Brest and the race will finish in Paris on the Champs-Elysees on July 18. The second day will also feature La Course by Le Tour de France, with the women taking on a 130km route that includes six ascents of Mur de Bretagne.

The 2021 Tour route is more traditional than last year's, leaving more stages to the sprinters and giving time trial specialists a better chance to shine.

The opening week should feature three chances for the sprinters before the race heads to the Alps. There are two more flat days after Ventoux before three Pyrenean stages.

The 17th stage is on paper one of the hardest as it will go through the Col de Peyresourde before ending at the top of the Col du Portet (16km at 8.7 per cent), 2,215 metres above sea level.

Stage 18 will be the final day in the mountains and will see riders tackling the Tourmalet before a summit finish on Luz Ardiden.

The race concludes with a flat stage before an individual time trial that could prove decisive ahead of the finish on the Champs-Elysees.

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Additional reporting by Reuters

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