insisted they would still be key to his bid for a fourth title. 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 five real mountain stages, fewer than in 2016.
Puncher Dan Martin said he felt the route brought him into the picture. “There’s plenty of scope for damage every single day. You have to survive,” the Irishman said. “This route is better suited to my style than previous years.”
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.
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 Froome won the stage. “I was delighted to see it on the race again,” said Froome. There’s not enough to make a great deal of time there, but it makes me happy to see it there.”
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. An accident caused by packed crowds on Mont Ventoux in 2016 saw him run part way to the summit having abandoned a broken bike.
The two Alpine stages on day 17 and 18 finish at the summit of the Izoard, whose lunar summit finish is at 2,360m where oxygen will be rarefied. “It looks pretty impressive,” said Froome. “I’ve never raced there, we’ll need to climb it in practice.”
Stage 1: July 1, Dusseldorf (Ger)- Dusseldorf 13km Individual time trial
Stage 2: July 2, Dusseldorf – Liege (Bel) 202km
Stage 3: July 3, Verviers (Bel) – Longwy (Fra) 202km
Stage 4: July 4, Mondorf Led Bains – Vittel 203
Stage 5: July 5, Vittel – La Planche Des Belles Filles 160km
Stage 6: July 6, Vesoul – Troyes 216km
Stage 7: July 7, Troyes – Nuits-Saint-Georges 214km
Stage 8: July 8, Dole Station Des Rousses 187km
Stage 9: July 9, Natua – Chambery 181km
Rest day: July 10
Stage 10: July 11, Periguex – Bergerac 178km
Stage 11: July 12, Eymet – Pau 202km
Stage 12: July 13, Pau -Peyragoudes 214km
Stage 13: July 14, Saint Girons – Foix 100km
Stage 14: July 15, Blagnac – Rodez 181km
Stage 15: July 16, Laissac-Severac L’Eglise Le Puy en Velay 189km
Second rest day: July 17
Stage 16: Le Puy en Velay – Romans Sur Isere 165
Stage 17: July 19, La Mure – Serre Chevalier 183km
Stage 18: July 20, Briancon -Izoard 178
Stage 19: July 21, Embrun – Salon de Provence 220km
Stage 20: July 22, Marseille – Marseille 23km Individual time trial
Stage 21: July 23, Montgeron – Paris Champs-Elyees, 105km