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Tour de France 2019 route presented in Paris (+ 3D flythrough video)

ASO unveils the parcours of the 106th edition

The route of the 2019 Tour de France was presented in Paris this morning. With a realtive lack of time trialling and an emphasis on lower-category climbs to encourage attacking, it promises to be a more open race than has typically been the case in recent years.

The opening stage, starting and finishing in Brussels on 6 July, is expected to be one for the sprinters, but will take in the Muur van Gerardsbergen early on, as well as passing the Waterloo battlefield – “a sad plain for we French,” as race director Christian Prudhomme observed – with a 27-kilometre team time trial the following day finishing outside the Belgian capital’s Atomium.

Once across the border in France and heading through the Champagne region, the first big standout day is Stage 6 which finishes on the Planche des Bellles Filles, an extra kilometre added to the climb including ramps of over 20 per cent and gravel roads.

It’s the first big climbing day of an edition that will feature a record number of categorised climbs – 30 – although there will be fewer Hors-Categorie and more Category 2 climbs than in this year’s edition. There will  also be five summit finishes.

There are seven stages that on paper should be ones for the sprinters, although with expectations of the wind playing a role on two of those, they could also be fraught ones for the overall contenders due to the threat of echelons forming.

There are just 54 kilometres of time trialling – besides that team time trial in Brussels, there is a 29 kilometre individual time trial on Stage 12, starting and finishing in Pau.

That’s followed by a summit finish on the Tourmalet, then another climber’s stage in the Pyrenean foothills which includes the  Mur de Peguere and ends at Prat d’Albis near Foix.

The race will be decided in the Alps in the three stages preceding the finale in Paris on 28 July.

The first, Stage 18, takes in the Col de Vars, the Col d’Izoard and the Galibier , while Stage 19 includes just the third time the race has gone over Europe’s highest paved mountain pass, the Col d’Iseran.

The final chance for a reshuffle of the overall classification comes with the Stage 20 summit finish at Val Thorens.

It’s a parcours on that Prudhomme believes will encourage breakaways and attacks, and one that given the relative lack of time trialling and focus on lower categorised climbs could see a more open contest than has typically been the case during the past seven editions, six of them won by Team Sky.

Here's four-time champion Chris Froome's view.

Jean Christophe Amaury, the head of race owners ASO, opened the presentation with a speech which began with the observation that next year marks the centenary of the yellow jersey, first sported by Eugene Christophe in 1919.

He also acknowledged the presence in the auditorium of Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain, the three surviving five-time winners.

Amaury then went on to highlight the role that the race can play in promoting everyday cycling, including a partnership with South African charity Qhubeka and the Atelier du Tour, which provides cycle training to children in cities across France.

 

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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