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2017 Tour route ready for unveiling

Putting together several news reports provides a semi-clear picture of where the next edition of the Tour de France will go.

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MILAN (VN) — Peter Sagan will head to Paris directly from Doha with his rainbow jersey for the offseason’s biggest event: the Tour de France presentation. On Tuesday, organizer ASO will present the 2017 route that is already known to most insiders.

The race will begin in Düsseldorf on July 1. ASO already announced the German city would host a 13-kilometer time trial and the start of the next day’s road stage.

The rest of the route is a sky with the clouds quickly clearing. The race is expected to skip the country’s northwest, where it kicked off in 2016. Rumors and local press reports say the 2017 Tour will head south to the Jura Mountains via Belgium and Luxembourg and transfer over to the Pyrénées. It will conclude in the Alps with a first-ever summit finish on the Col d’Izoard and before the final stage in Paris on July, it will feature a time trial in Marseille.

Three-time Tour winner Chris Froome of Sky will be at the route presentation Tuesday in the Palais des Congrès and will likely line up in Düsseldorf. “My focus is on the Tour de France, given it’s such a special race,” Froome said when he was crowned 2016 king. “I hope to be back next year to fight again.”

The Marseille time trial remains about the only stage that has yet to be confirmed by local press. Froome would want it and the race would need it to balance out its route, which only includes the day 1 time trial.

ASO could come under fire for the stage, however, given that its 2017 edition already appears long on transfers. Next summer’s race includes a 335-mile journey from Chambéry to Périgueux and what would be the second long haul, 485 miles, from Marseille on the Côte d’Azur to Paris.

In the Jura Mountains, according to Le Dauphiné Libéré newspaper, the race will include a summit finish to La Planche des Belles Filles and a technical stage over the Grand Colombier and Mont du Chat to reach Chambéry.

The cyclists will then board ASO’s version of Air Force One and the rest of the caravan will buckle up for a transfer/rest day drive to Périgueux.

In the Pyrenees, the 15.4km summit finish to the Peyragudes ski resort stands out, but hides one of the Tour’s most dangerous days to Foix. La Dépêche reports that the Bastille Day stage July 14 will only travel 100 kilometers, but include four climbs: Col de Latrape, the Col d’Agnes, the Col des Caougnous, and the Col des Marrous. The stage unveiling could make for an uncomfortable presentation for Froome, who just last month lost 2:37 to Movistar’s Nairo Quintana in a similar short stage of the Vuelta a España. Froome admitted the Formigal ambush cost him the title.

The Alps could host a summit finish to the Col d’Izoard for the first time, reports Le Dauphiné Libéré. It would be history-making and complicated without much space for the caravan on the 2,360-meter pass. Cyclo-tourists take note, this should also be the L’Etape du Tour.

From the summit finish Thursday, it is unclear where the Tour will descend. The idea is that it will make its way via a Salon-de-Provence finish Friday to the busy and gritty port city of Marseille. A time trial could decide the race’s overall winner before a parade lap in Paris the following day.

Those details and more will clear the remaining clouds Tuesday when ASO unveils the 2017 route in Paris.