2017 Tour de France unveiled
The 104th edition will visit three countries, tackle three mountain top finishes and put on the table two individual time trials.
For the first time in three decades, the Tour de France will kick off in Germany, where Düsseldorf will host a 13km-long stage against the clock suited to the powerful specialists of the discipline. One day later, on Belgian soil, the sprinters will get their first chance of glory, with the puncheurs set to fight for victory on Monday, in Longwy, after leaving Belgium behind and passing through Luxembourg.
The yellow jersey contenders are set for showdown early next year, in stage 5, which will take the peloton on the already familiar La Planche des Belles Filles. It will be the first of the three mountain top finishes of the 2017 edition, with Peyragudes and Col d'Izoard coming in the second half of the race; the latter will feature on stage 18 and will see the riders go up the infamous La Casse Désserte area.
A challenging individual time trial held over 23 kilometers in the Mediterranean city of Marseille will give the GC riders one more chance to reshuffle the overall standings, just one day before the race goes to Champs-Élysées for what will be the 42nd consecutive time that the Tour de France will conclude in Paris.
This year, Dan Martin raced the Tour de France for the fourth time in his career and completed the race in 9th place, notching up his first top 10 finish in the Grande Boucle. The 30-year-old Irishman attended Tuesday's presentation and has already made an idea on how the race might look like next summer.
It's a good course for our team, because the sprinters will have plenty of opportunities, but there will be chances also for me and Julian.
"Having less time trial kilometers is another thing playing into my advantage, but with the second ITT coming on the penultimate day you still need to have some energy left in the legs after three hard weeks, otherwise you can lose a lot of time", said Dan, the first Irishman in 24 years to get a top 10 finish in the Tour de France. "Overall, it's a nice route and it suits me even better that the one of 2016. I think we'll see an aggressive race, with many opportunities to go to the attack, and this is very much to my liking."
Joining Dan Martin at the official route presentation was teammate Julian Alaphilippe, who got to wear the white jersey for six days at his debut in the competition and who made a short analysis of the parcours: "It's the first time that I'm coming here and I can say it's a nice experience. At first glance, this is a parcours which smiles to attackers and puncheurs, such as myself, but we need to do a proper recon in order to discover it, because it's difficult to know more after seeing just the map. What I can say is that I'm eager to discover other legendary roads and climbs of the Tour de France, such as Mont du Chat or Col d'Izoard."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele