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Days before official announcements, rumors are circulating about the route before the 2020 Tour de France.
The 2020 Tour appears to be taking an unusual twist, going west from the Alps to the Pyrénées, and back east again for the final ahead of Paris on July 19.
Organizer ASO will announce the full route Tuesday, October 15, but rumors have been building for some time that give a good indicator of what fans can expect.
Egan Bernal (Ineos), the first Colombian to win the Tour de France, will try to defend his 2019 title starting from Nice. The organizer already announced Nice and the surrounding Côte d’Azur will host the Grand Départ starting June 27. For 2020, due to the Tokyo Olympics, the route is pushed forward a week on the calendar.
Already on day two, the riders climb the Col de Turini and in the final, the Col d’Èze to finish on the Promenade des Anglais. Many pros based in Nice will know these roads well.
Bernal will be happy to see that already the fourth stage finishes at altitude at Orcières-Merlette in the Alps, 1850 meters high. French media outlet Dici said that this could be the first time the Tour returns since American Greg LeMond won in 1989.
Instead of a big loop around France, ASO appears to be making a tight compact tour through the south and center. The plan is to push west from Nice to the Pyrénées, up along the west coast. Back east, the Alps will not see the final battles, but north in Jura and Vosges Mountains.
From Orcières-Merlette, the race will pass through the Massif Central and climb Mont Aigoual for a second time after 1987. Rumors are loose when it comes to the Pyrenean mountain range that separates France from Spain. The Dépêche du Midi outlet reported some news, that the route should stop in Loudenvielle on Saturday and on Sunday, face its big mountain day before a rest day Monday, July 6.
ASO is giving more attention to the west coast that had largely been skipped lately. It will travel along the Bay of Biscay, north of Bordeaux, to visit Île de Ré and Poitiers for stage finishes. And on July 9th, it will race to Sarran to honor the recently deceased former President Jacques Chirac.
Heading back east and inland, the race should finish at Pas de Peyrol, 1589m, according to La Montagne. Lyon will host a stage finish, perhaps one of the few sprint stages, and see the race travel further towards the passes. Where in the Alps? Tignes and Val Thorens could feature again since bad weather and landslides spoiled their 2019 stages.
After the second and last rest day in the Alps, the race will pass both the Jura and Vosges Mountains for its final phases to decide the 2020 winner. Chris Froome (Ineos) could battle back from his leg injury to become one of the five-time race winners, that final fight will take place in a possible stage to Grand Colombier, at 1501m, and the final mountain day to Planche des Belles Filles.
L’Est Républicain said that the race could return to La Planche one year after Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) won the stage and took the yellow jersey. Vosges Matin reported that the stage could be a 35km time trial, but it is not sure if it will again include the gravel at the top of the climb.
Besides the start in Nice, the other certainty is that ASO will present the entire route in Paris on October 15. Most of these rumors should become concrete and a goal that many riders will aim towards as they pass the winter ahead of the 2020 season.