Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme has unveiled the route for the 2012 race, with a twin ascent of Alpe d’Huez the highlight of a tough final week in the Alps.
The 100th edition of the race pays tribute to two of its most famous climbs, with Mont Ventoux also featuring, while the traditional final stage on the Champs Elysees in Paris will take place at dusk.
In total, the 2013 route features seven sprint stages, six mountain stages, two individual time trials and one team time trial. In addition, five hilly stages should keep the peloton’s escape artists happy.
After a time trial-heavy route in 2012, which saw Bradley Wiggins become the first Briton to win the race, the route for this landmark edition favours the likes of Chris Froome and Alberto Contador.
The 2013 parcours revealed in Paris features four summit finishes and two of those – Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez – are among the Tour’s most feared climbs. The combined length of the race’s two individual time trials has also been shorted to 65km, compared to 95km in the 2012 edition.
The race, the first to take place wholly on French soil for ten years, begins with three stages on Corsica, including a flat opening stage – the first time a sprinter is expected to take the yellow jersey on day one since 1966 and where Mark Cavendish could become only the sixth Briton to lead the race.
The peloton will then transfer to Nice for a team time trial, before three transition stages and two stages in the Pyrenees, including a summit finish to Ax 3 Domaines.
A long air transfer north is followed by two stages in Brittany, including a 33km individual time trial which finishes in front of the island monastery of Mont St Michel.
The race then heads through the heart of France before a Bastille Day summit finish atop Mont Ventoux.
A transition stage takes the race towards the Alps for its finale, where Prudhomme hopes the general classification will be decided.
A hilly 32km time trial on the final Wednesday is followed by the double ascent of Alpe d’Huez. The route will take riders up the infamous 21 hairpins and descend via a little-known back road before confronting the climb again for a summit finish.
A long Alpine stage follows before the sting in the tail: a short 125km stage which finishes with the super-steep climb of Mont Semnoz above Annecy.
The floodlit final stage in Paris will then take place on a circuit which will see the riders go around the Arc de Triomphe for the first time in the Tour’s history, with the traditional sprint finish, where Cavendish will aim for a fifth successive triumph, expected to take place at 9:45pm.