While the official 2018 Tour de France route announcement won’t take place on Tuesday October 17, rumours are already circulating about a number of stages. These include the possible use of a stretch of gravel road on a mountain stage from Annecy to Le Grand Bornand. That route could also be the one used for L’Etape du Tour.
CyclingPro.net reports that an Annecy-Grand Bornand stage would take place on Tuesday July 17, which would be stage 10, the first after a rest day. L’Etape du Tour would precede it on Sunday July 15.
In July, the race’s technical director, Thierry Gouvenou floated the possibility that this might include gravel roads in the following tweet.
Sous le charme de cette route de montagne.
Plaisirs des reco.... pic.twitter.com/5dFdzOtPmK
— Gouvenou (@tgouvenou) July 28, 2017
The race is due to visit the Alps ahead of the Pyrenees, and there has also been a longstanding rumour of a summit finish atop Alpe d’Huez. The last trip there was in 2015, two years after a double ascent to celebrate the 100th edition of the Tour.
As in 2011, the first stage of the race had been due to start on the Passage du Gois. However, Velowire reports that thanks to it moving back a week to accommodate football’s World Cup, the road will be submerged. Low tide will be at 5.57am and 6.36pm on July 7.
Another notable inclusion is a stage from Compiegne to Roubaix stage. While this would share the same start and finish towns as Paris-Roubaix, a shorter more direct route can be anticipated.
Nord Éclair reports that just 3.2km of cobbled roads would be used, naming Gruson and the Carrefour de l'Arbre as likely stretches.
A visit to the region would coincide with the 100th anniversary of the armistice of the First World War, which was signed at Le Francport near Compiègne.