15,000 riders to tackle route of final mountain stage of next year's Tour - entries open Friday...

The final mountain stage of next year’s Tour de France will feature a first-ever summit finish on the Col d’Izoard on Stage 19 – and five days earlier, on Sunday 16 July, 15,000 amateur cyclists will have the chance to tackle it on the 2017 Etape du Tour.

Starting in Briancon, the 25th edition of the event covers 178 kilometres and includes the 2,109 metre Col de Vars, crested 49 kilometres from the end, where the ascent to the Izoard tops out at 2,360 metres.

As ever, demand will be strong when places go on sale this Friday morning at 7am UK time through the ASO Challenges website.

To get an idea of what’s in store, here’s Mike Cotty tackling the ascent in a Col Collective video from last year.

Col d'Izoard from Guillestre (credit The Col Collective)

> Video: Mike Cotty rides the Col d'Izoard

The route of what will be the 104th edition of the Tour de France was unveiled this morning in Paris – check it out here, including a 3D flythrough video of the parcours and a tribute to Bernard Hinault.

> 2017 Tour de France route unveiled in Paris


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.