Next year's Tour to favor aggressive riders

Tue Oct 18, 2016 8:24am EDT
 
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Organizers have unveiled an unconventional route for the 2017 Tour de France featuring many early climbs in a bid to limit the opportunities for strong teams to dominate stages and reward aggressive riders looking to shake up the sport's greatest spectacle.

Race director Christian Prudhomme peppered the 2017 course with steep climbs, five of them making their first appearance on the Tour and many early in stages, which will start from Duesseldorf on July 1 and go through five countries before ending in Paris on July 23.

"We want to favor the long-range attacks," Prudhomme told reporters before unveiling the route on Tuesday.

"We want to break the catenaccio on the race," he added, referring to the conservative tactics top teams are able to impose on flatter stages.

There will be only four summit finishes but attackers will get a chance to make an early impression with two of them coming in the first week, which will end with a grueling mountain stage in the Jura featuring three daunting out-of-category ascents.

Organizers hope that the top teams will not be able to impose their rule in such a stage having seen Britain's all-powerful Team Sky in particular often control many stages with meticulously planned and executed group riding.

"Let's hope that some aggressive top riders will be able to break away in the Col du Grand Colombier (the second of the three big climbs in the stage) and hold on to their lead all the way to Chambery. It will be difficult to control that stage," said Prudhomme.

  Continued...

 
From L-R, riders Thibaut Pinot of France, Romain Bardet of France, Chris Froome of Britain, Richie Porte of Australia, Julian Alaphilippe of France, Tony Martin of Germany, Thomas Voeckler of France pose after the presentation of the itinerary of the 2017 Tour de France cycling race at a news conference in Paris, France, October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier