The Tour de France top brass have revealed full details of the route for the 2020 grand tour, and it’s going to be one full of traps, surprises and twists.
The route packs in 29 mountains across all five of France’s mountain ranges, with five of those being summit finishes.
The theme of the 2020 Tour is undoubtedly that of unpredictability, with the peloton never given the opportunity to settle into a rhythm.
The first climb falls as early as stage 2 and is no hillock, with the Col de Colmaine in the southern Alps rising to 1500m. There are a number of new climbs on the route, with one being the Col de la Loze in the Alps, a newly-surfaced road to 2,304m that is accessible only to cyclists.
While Tour classics such as the Madeleine, Eze and Peyresourde are featured, some of the icons such as Alpe d’Huez, Tourmalet and Galibier are not.
The final climb of the race falls in the penultimate stage, and that’s on the race’s one and only time trial.
The 36km TT finishes atop the Planche des Belles Filles, a new icon of the Tour that has been featured numerous times in the last 10 years.
Although the 2019 Tour used an extended, gravel version of the climb, 2020 will only take riders on tarmac roads for the mountain time trial.
Gravel is still on the menu, however, with a 1.8km stretch in the Alps on the Plateau de Gleires, first used in 2018.
Though all the chat is about the mountains, there are still the traditional flat sprint stages, with the first falling on the first day in Nice, who host the Grand Depart.
While there are nine possible sprint stages, none of them are straightforward, with coastal locations promising crosswinds and tricky climbs in the final to separate the sprinter men from the boys.
While the race involves a number of twists and turns, the traditional procession into Paris on the final day before a sprint on the Champs Elysees remains.
We love to hate it, but it’s a fitting way to end the Tour.
The Grand Depart rolls out of Nice on June 27, one week earlier than usual to accommodate the Tokyo Olympics, starting July 24.