Cobbles, Alpe D'Huez and new climbs await 2018 Tour de France
Chris Froome's quest for a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title in 2018 will take in the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, a summit finish atop Alpe D'Huez and a time trial in the Pyrenees.
Froome made it three wins in a row with victory in Paris in July and now only trails greats Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Jacques Anquetil by one in the all-time records.
Achieving that in 2018 will be a tough ask for the Team Sky rider, who was handed a third Velo D'Or before the announcement of a gruelling route was made on Tuesday.
The race will begin in the Vendee region on July 7 - a later Grand Depart than normal due to the 2018 World Cup in Russia - from Noirmoutier-en-I'lle.
After three stages in mid-west France, the peloton will move north before heading towards the pave. Stage nine will leave Arras and take in 15 cobbled sections over 21.7km before the finish in Roubaix.
Following that stage attention turns to the Alps, with Alpe D'Huez returning to the route for the 30th time in the race's history.
Rather than take in the Mediterranean coast, the Tour heads straight to the Pyrenees for more difficult climbs, including a new ascent up the Col de Portet and a return to La Tourmalet.
The summit finish atop the Col de Portet will come after a gruelling stage 17, the riders only racing for 65 kilometres but having to navigate three categorised climbs.
65 KM Une étape très courte & intense se terminant au Col de Portet ! / A short but intense stage finishing in the Col de Portet! pic.twitter.com/kVujJZteh0-- Le Tour de France (@LeTour) October 17, 2017
A hilly time trial from Espelette to Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle completes the race and will be where the winner is all-but crowned.
Froome will hope that he sits in yellow at that point and then survives the final stage from Houilles to Paris and the traditional finish on the Champs-Elysees.
In total the race will cover 3,329km and will see teams reduced from nine riders to eight in line with new UCI guidelines.