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Tour de France organizers unveiled a 2017 course that’s light on mountain climbs, one that should boost reigning champion Chris Froome’s bid for a fourth title.

The visually spectacular 104th race over 3,516 kilometers (2,183 miles) starts in Dusseldorf, Germany, on July 1 with a traditional time trial. There are only five real mountain stages, fewer than 2016.

“This Tour de France route has been designed to be won by a true champion,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme insisted, without naming Froome — the Tour winner in 2013, 2015, and 2016 — or any other rider.

Puncheur Dan Martin said he felt the route brought him into the picture.

“There’s plenty of scope for damage every single day. You have to survive,” the Irishman and Etixx – Quick-Step rider said. “This route is better suited to my style than previous years.”

If the playing field has been leveled by cutting down on mountains, the alternative challenges opens the door to he who dares, Prudhomme promised.

The opening 13km time trial offers four-time world time trial champion Tony Martin the chance to clinch the yellow jersey on stage 1 as the Tour embarks from his native Germany for the first time in 30 years.

As the tour starts in the north, Prudhomme — the president of ASO — explained the route has to be “J” shaped, and this year it misses the north and west of France entirely as it enters France via Belgium.

With nine varied flat stages and five hilly ones designed to open up the challenge, the five real mountain stages are designed to have a visual backdrop which will amplify the exploits of the athletes who excel there.

The crucial stage 20 time trial starting at the Marseille Velodrome football stadium is only 23km long and will likely be contested in searing heat. A 1km stretch of the stage has an 18 percent gradient.

Contrary to nearly all the preceding Tours, there will never be more than two consecutive days of climbing.

Romain Bardet, the 25-year-old French hope who was second in 2016, sensed a chance for the coming year. “Last year’s race was won due the long stretches we spent in the mountains,” he said remembering the four minutes that eventually separated him and Froome. When I saw this route I was exultant. There’s never more than two consecutive days in the mountains.”

James Bond ties

The Tour’s toughest stage on paper is the 214km Pyrenean run from Pau to Peyragudes, which features the mountain where scenes from the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies” were filmed. The stage’s summit finish will be the fifth climb of the day.

In total contrast, the following day’s stage 13 is a short but spectacular 100km mountain run from Saint Girons culminating in a 27km hair-raising descent to Foix, featuring extreme climbs and descents along the way.

This is followed with a day for puncheurs and will evoke powerful memories for both the Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet and world road race champion Peter Sagan. The 181km 14th stage culminates in Rodez where the Belgian out-paced Sagan for a stage win in 2015.

But even in the first week there will be stages for rouleurs and sprinters. Tough cross-winds could cause problems in the peloton. Day 5 will feature the Planches Des Belles Filles, where Bradley Wiggins took the yellow jersey in 2012 on a day Chris Froome won the stage.

“I was delighted to see it on the race again,” Froome said. There’s not enough to make a great deal of time there, but it makes me happy to see it there.”

There was more good news for Froome when it was announced that around 10km of mountain terrain, at crucial tactical climb points, would be stripped of roadside fans. The 2016 champion will never forget his accident caused by packed crowds on Mont Ventoux in 2016 that saw him run part of the way to the summit after his bike was broken in the crash.

Prudhomme says a daring and decisive rider will be encouraged to soar away rather than be suffocated by over-enthusiastic fans.

The two Alpine stages on day 17 and 18 finish at the summit of the Izoard, described in the presentation guide as the perfect frame for the potential champion.

“It looks pretty impressive,” Froome said. “I’ve never raced there, we’ll need to climb it in training.”

The most watched of all the stages by television audiences is the stage 21 jaunt to Paris and the 10 laps of the Champs-Élysées generally won by a top sprinter such as Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, or Marcel Kittel.

STAGE DATE LOCATION DISTANCE REPORT
1 07/01/2017 Düsseldorf to Düsseldorf 14km DETAILS
2 07/02/2017 Düsseldorf to Liège 203.5km DETAILS
3 07/03/2017 Verviers to Longwy 212.5km DETAILS
4 07/04/2017 Mondorf-les-Bains to Vittel 207.5km DETAILS
5 07/05/2017 Vittel to La Planche des Belles Filles 160.5km DETAILS
6 07/06/2017 Vesoul to Troyes 216km DETAILS
7 07/07/2017 Troyes to Nuits-Saint-Georges 213.5km DETAILS
8 07/08/2017 Dole to Station des Rousses 187.5km DETAILS
9 07/09/2017 Nantua to Chambéry 181.5km DETAILS
10 07/11/2017 Périgueux to Bergerac 178km DETAILS
11 07/12/2017 Eymet to Pau 203.5km DETAILS
12 07/13/2017 Pau to Peyragudes 214.5km DETAILS
13 07/14/2017 Saint-Girons to Foix 101km DETAILS
14 07/15/2017 Blagnac to Rodez 181.5km DETAILS
15 07/16/2017 Laissac-Sévérac-l'Église to Le Puy-en-Velay 189.5km DETAILS
16 07/18/2017 Le Puy-en-Velay to Romans-sur-Isère 165km DETAILS
17 07/19/2017 La Mure to Serre-Chevalier 183km DETAILS
18 07/20/2017 Briançon to Izoard 179.5km DETAILS
19 07/21/2017 Embrun to Salon-de-Provence 222.5km DETAILS
20 01/01/1970 Marseille to Marseille 22.5km DETAILS
21 07/23/2017 Montgeron to Paris Champs-Élysées 103km DETAILS

Results will be published once race is underway.

This is the complete start list for the 2017 Tour de France. When bib numbers are confirmed, the list will be updated with that information.

Ag2r La Mondiale

JAN BAKELANTS (B)
ROMAIN BARDET (F)
AXEL DOMONT (F)
MATTHIAS FRANK (Swi)
BEN GASTAUER (LUX)
CYRIL GAUTIER (F)
PIERRE LATOUR (F)
OLIVIER NAESEN (B)
ALEXIS VUILLERMOZ (F)

Astana

FABIO ARU (I)
DARIO CATALDO (I)
JAKOB FUGLSANG (Den)
ANDRIY GRIVKO (Ukr)
DMITRIY GRUZDEV (Kaz)
BAKHTIYAR KOZHATAVEY (Kaz)
ALEXEY LUTSENKO (Kaz)
MICHAEL VALGREN (Den)
ANDREY ZEITS (Kaz)

Bahrain-Merida

YUKIYA ARASHIRO (Jpn)
GREGA BOLE (Slo)
BORUT BOZIC (Slo)
JANEZ BRAJKOVIC (Slo)
ONDREJ CINK (Cz)
SONNY COLBRELLI (I)
TSGABU GRMAY (Eth)
ION IZAGIRRE (Sp)
JAVIER MORENO (Sp)

BMC Racing

RICHIE PORTE (Aus)
DAMIANO CARUSO (I)
ALESSANDRO DE MARCHI (I)
STEFAN KUNG (Swi)
AMAEL MOINARD (F)
NICOLAS ROCHE (Irl)
MICHAEL SCHAR (Swi)
GREG VAN AVERMAET (B)
DANILO WYSS (Swi)

Bora-Hansgrohe

MACIEJ BODNAR (Pol)
EMANUEL BUCHMANN (G)
MARCUS BURGHARDT (G)
RAFAL MAJKA (Pol)
JAY MCCARTHY (Aus)
PAWEL POLJANSKI (Pol)
PETER SAGAN (Svk)
JURAJ SAGAN (Svk)
RUDIGER SELIG (Ger)

Cannondale-Drapac

ALBERTO BETTIOL (I)
PATRICK BEVIN (NZ)
NATHAN BROWN (US)
SIMON CLARKE (Aus)
TAYLOR PHINNEY (US)
PIERRE ROLLAND (F)
ANDREW TALANSKY (US)
RIGOBERTO URÁN (Col)
DYLAN VAN BAARLE (Nl)

Dimension Data

MARK CAVENDISH (GB)
EDVALD BOASSON HAGEN (N)
STEPHEN CUMMINGS (GB)
BERNHARD EISEL (A)
REINARDT JANSE VAN RENSBURG (SA)
SERGE PAUWELS (B)
MARK RENSHAW (Aus)
SCOTT THWAITES (GB)
JACO VENTER (SA)

FDJ

DAVIDE CIMOLAI (I)
ARNAUD DÉMARE (F)
MICKAEL DELAGE (F)
JACOPO GUARNIERI (I)
IGNATAS KONOVALOVAS (Ltu)
OLIVIER LE GAC (F)
RUDY MOLARD (F)
THIBAUT PINOT (F)
ARTHUR VICHOT (F)

Katusha-Alpecin

MARCO HALLER (A)
RETO HOLLENSTEIN (Swi)
ROBERT KISERLOVSKI (Cro)
ALEXANDER KRISTOFF (Nor)
MAURITS LAMMERTINK (Nl)
TIAGO MACHADO (Por)
TONY MARTIN (G)
NILS POLITT (G)
RICK ZABEL (G)

Lotto-Soudal

LARS BAK (Den)
TIESJ BENOOT (B)
THOMAS DE GENDT (B)
TONY GALLOPIN (F)
ANDRÉ GREIPEL (G)
ADAM HANSEN (Aus)
JURGEN ROELANDTS (B)
MARCEL SIEBERG (G)
TIM WELLENS (B)

LottoNL-Jumbo

GEORGE BENNETT (NZ)
ROBERT GESINK (Nl)
DYLAN GROENEWEGEN (Nl)
TOM LEEZER (Nl)
PAUL MARTENS (G)
PRIMOZ ROGLIC (Slo)
TIMO ROOSEN (Nl)
ROBERT WAGNER (G)
JOS VAN EMDEN (Nl)

Movistar

ANDREY AMADOR (CR)
CARLOS BETANCUR (Col)
DANIELE BENNATI (I)
JONATHAN CASTROVIEJO (Sp)
IMANOL ERVITI (Sp)
JESUS HERRADA (Sp)
NAIRO QUINTANA (Sp)
JASHA SUTTERLIN (G)
ALEJANDRO VALVERDE (Sp)

Orica-Scott

MICHAEL ALBASINI (Swi)
ESTEBAN CHAVES (Col)
LUKE DURBRIDGE (Aus)
MATHEW HAYMAN (Aus)
DAMIEN HOWSON (Aus)
DARYL IMPEY (SA)
JENS KEUKELEIRE (B)
ROMAN KREUZIGER (Cz)
SIMON YATES (GB)

Quick-Step Floors

PHILIPPE GILBERT (B)
JACK BAUER (NZ)
GIANLUCA BRAMBILLA (I)
MARCEL KITTEL (G)
DANIEL MARTIN (Irl)
FABIO SABATINI (I)
ZDENEK STYBAR (Cz)
MATTEO TRENTIN (I)
JULIEN VERMOTE (B)

Team Sky

CHRISTOPHER FROOME (GB)
SERGIO HENAO (Col)
VASIL KIRYIENKA (Blr)
CHRISTIAN KNEES (G)
MICHAL KWIATKOWSKI (Pol)
MIKEL LANDA (Sp)
MIKEL NIEVE (Sp)
LUKE ROWE (GB)
GERAINT THOMAS (GB)

Team Sunweb

NIKIAS ARNDT (G)
WARREN BARGUIL (F)
ROY CURVERS (Nl)
SIMON GESCHKE (G)
MICHAEL MATTHEWS (Aus)
RAMON SINKELDAM (Nl)
LAURENS TEN DAM (Nl)
MIKE TEUNISSEN (Nl)
ALBERT TIMMER (Nl)

Trek-Segafredo

ALBERTO CONTADOR (Sp)
JOHN DEGENKOLB (G)
FABIO FELLINE (I)
KOEN DE KORT (Nl)
MICHAEL GOGL (A)
MARKEL IRIZAR (Sp)
BAUKE MOLLEMA (Nl)
JARLINSON PANTANO (Col)
HAIMAR ZUBELDIA (Sp)

UAE Team Emirates

DARWIN ATAPUMA (Col)
MATTEO BONO (I)
KRISTIJAN DURASEK (Cro)
VEGARD LAENGEN (Nor)
LOUIS MEINTJES (SA)
MARCO MARCATO (I)
MANUELE MORI (I)
BEN SWIFT (GB)
DIEGO ULISSI (I)

Cofidis

NACER BOUHANNI (F)
DIMITRI CLAEYS (B)
NICOLAS EDET (F)
CHRISTOPHE LAPORTE (F)
CYRIL LEMOINE (F)
LUIS ÁNGEL MATÉ (Sp)
DANIEL NAVARRO (Sp)
FLORIAN SENECHAL (F)
JULIEN SIMON (F)

Direct Energie

THOMAS BOUDAT (F)
LILIAN CALMEJANE (F)
SYLVAIN CHAVANEL (F)
YOHANN GENE (F)
ADRIEN PETIT (F)
PERRIG QUEMENEUR (F)
ROMAIN SICARD (F)
ANGELO TULIK (F)
THOMAS VOECKLER (F)

Fortuneo-Vital Concept

MAXIME BOUET (F)
BRICE FEILLU (F)
ELIE GESBERT (F)
ROMAIN HARDY (F)
DANIEL MCLAY (GB)
PIERRE-LUC PERICHON
LAURENT PICHON (F)
EDUARDO SEPÚLVEDA (Arg)
FLORIAN VACHON (F)

Wanty-Groupe Gobert

FREDERIK BACKAERT (B)
THOMAS DEGAND (B)
GUILLAUME MARTIN (F)
MARCO MINAARD (NL)
YOANN OFFREDO (F)
ANDREA PASQUALON (I)
DION SMITH (NZ)
GUILLAUME VAN KEIRSBULCK (B)
PIETER VANSPEYBROUCK (B)

GALLERIES

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PRO BIKES

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COMMENTARY

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