• The "Devil" of the Tour de France. (Getty)Source: Getty
Tour de France organisers announced a dynamic and interesting route for the 2017 edition of the race and a mountain stage for the women's La Course.
Cycling Central

18 Oct 2016 - 9:50 PM  UPDATED 19 Oct 2016 - 7:41 AM

Starting in Dusseldorf, Germany, The 104th edition of the Tour, will run from July 1- 23 July, 2017 and cover a total distance of 3516km as it crosses into three countries over the 21 stages. Germany, Belgium and Luxemburg.

The course, which was unveiled before an audience of almost 4000 people at the Palais des Congrès in Paris, stands out for its atypical mountain stages.

Time trial set for Dusseldorf Tour de France Grand Depart
A short time trial in the streets of the German city of Duesseldorf will start the 2017 Tour de France cycling classic.

Although there will be fewer climbs than usual, they will be steeper and include jaunts in the Vosges, Jura, Pyrenees, Central Massif and Alps - five of them making their first appearance on the Tour and many early in stages.

"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.

There will be only four summit finishes but attackers will get a chance to make an early impression with two of them coming in the first week, which will end with a gruelling mountain stage in the Jura featuring three daunting out-of-category ascents.

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.

"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," Prudhomme said.

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.

"The 2017 Tour de France is really attractive with new climbs and a stage finish just beside AG2R headquarters," Bardet said.

"It will be more challenging to ride the four French moutains. Many stages are unknown therefore it will be tricky. We will definitely have to be smart to perform.

"The route seems to be less mountainous than last years, which is not an advantage for pure climbers. Izoard will be the most crucial ascent to climb.

"Then we will have 36km to ride in time trial stages which is quite a lot. We will have to think carefully about our strategy because Marseille time-trial will be a decisive one.

"Finally, I am glad the last rest day is located close to my hometown, at the Puy en Velay."

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.

"There seems to be a lot of mountain stages. I don't think the race will be decided only on the summit finishes," Froome said.

"It's quite a challenge we've got for next year. The stage that stands out is the stage finishing at the Col d'Izoard (18th stage at 2365 metres).

"It's very light on time trials."


La Course: the women ride Izoard

The fourth edition of La Course will send the women uphill, just a few hours before the men's peloton, they will light the first fireworks in the final 66km of the stage from Brandon to the Izoard, including the 10km leading to Casse Déserte, which boasts an average gradient of over nine per cent.

Route for the 2017 Tour de France:

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