2018 Tour de France:new places to build

Unveiled at the Palais de Congrès convention centre in Paris in front of nearly 4,000 spectators, the race route for the 105th edition of the Tour de France, which will be held from 7-29 July 2018, proposes different race formats and conditions. Boldness will be a prerequisite on every stage!Among the highlights and new additions to the 2018 route, the pack will tackle the cobbles of Roubaix over a distance of 21.7km, climb up to the Plateau des Glières on the Grand-Bornand stage, return to Alpe d’Huez and will set off into the Pyrenees on a very short 65 km mountain stage. The final face-off among the favourites will take place during the time trial, on the particularly steep roads of the Basque Country.

At barely more than 3,300 kilometres long, the 2018 Tour de France ranks among the shortest of the 21stCentury. This unusual distance results primarily from a proposition made by Christian Prudhomme to the riders, who will have to build their success in these new territories. “We especially wanted to emphasize stage variety and the routes that may prove decisive, whilst combining legendary climbs with brand new ascensions or ultra-dynamic formats, to provide a vision of modern and inspired cycling”. In fact, the innovations planned for the 105th edition might inspire boldness among the most daring riders in the pack, which will be reduced to 176 riders at the start in the Vendée department and Pays de Loire region. The section of the race in Brittany will repeatedly sap the riders legs on the way to Quimper, before a double climb of the Mûr-de-Bretagne the following day, with additional spicing up thanks to the new bonuses points awarded on the stage finishes in the opening week. The route has been designed so that the favourites can do battle even before entering the mountains, especially on the 21.7 km of the Roubaix cobblestones.  

The stakes in the contest will rise again in the Alps. Whilst the riders may feel that they are far from unchartered territory around Grand-Bornand, it will be a different matter altogether on the Plateau des Glières, which the riders will reach after a steep climb and two kilometres on a non-tarmacked track. The next day, the pack will not only discover the Rosière ski resort, but alsothe Col du Pré pass on the way there, which could be conducive to glorious feats. The Alps will conclude with a classic mountain stage with the finish at Alpe d’Huez, which could be the opportunity for some revenge and plot twists. The hostilities will then continue on the climb to the Mende airstrip and even perhaps in Carcassonne, following the climb over Pic de Nore (1205 m). In the Pyrenees, the sprinters could certainly battle for the win at Pau, but the climbers could have the last word in a wealth of different registers: the combative riders will be the ones to watch in Luchon; the most explosive riders will surely take centre stage on the shortest road stage (65 km) to be ridden since the elimination of half-stages with an all-new finish on the Col de Portet pass (2215 m); the riders with the most stamina will shine on the 200 km separating Lourdes from Laruns via the Col Aspin, Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aubisque passes; and finally the best all-rounders should come up trumps on the undulating time-trial in the relief of the Basque Country. The final top spots will still be up for grabs on this crucial stage 24 hours before the finish in Paris…