Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) will have to battle France’s famous cobblestones and five summit finishes if he is to defend his maillot jaune next year after organisers revealed the 2014 route at the Palais des Congres.
The 101st edition of the Tour, which rolls out in Yorkshire on Saturday July 5, will feature 3,656km of racing, with the vast majority of the racing taking place in eastern France.
Organisers also revealed there will be just one individual time trial – the penultimate stage from Bergerac to Perigueux – and there is also no place for the famous climbs of Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez.
Strong rumours of a cobbled section were already rife prior to the announcement and they will feature as early as stage five, when the peloton passes over 50.4km of cobbles across nine sections from Ypres, Belgium, to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut.
The stage is to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One and, alongside the Grand Depart is one of five stages held, at least in part, outside of France.
As already revealed the Grand Depart will be in Yorkshire, with the first three stages held in England, and the peloton will also briefly pass through northern Spain while in the Pyrenees.
The route for the first three stages – the fourth time cycling’s greatest race has come to Britain – had already been unveiled, with two flat stages from Leeds to Harrogate and Cambridge to London sandwiching a hilly route, with nine climbs, from York to Sheffield.
They offer the opportunity for Mark Cavendish, who like Froome was at the presentation, to grab the fabled yellow jersey in Harrogate and add another Tour de France stage victory to his palmares in the capital.
Riders will be presented at the brand new Leeds Arena on Thursday July 3, before the peloton rolls out of Leeds city centre on Saturday July 5.
Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity, speaking at the presentation, said: “The riders will face challenges of the land and they will need to be ready to stand up and fight.
“They will ride through landscapes of unexplored beauty, pass through two national parks and ride on roads among the most iconic in the UK.
“We are honoured, we are proud and we are ready.”
Cavendish and his fellow fast men will also have the chance to rack up stage victories and compete for the green jersey with sprint finishes expected in Reims, Nancy and Mulhouse.
Only two rest days feature on the 2014 route, the first after ten days of racing, and the second after the completion of stage 15.
La Planche des Belles Filles returns after being absent from last year’s route, scene of Froome’s infamous stage win in 2012 when he blasted away from team leader Wiggins to solo to victory against team orders.
There are also two summit finishes in the Alps – at Chamrousse and Risoul – and two more in the Pyrenees, up Pla d’Adet and Hautacam.
The stage to Risoul is the Tour’s queen stage, and was the scene of a stunning win by last year’s runner-up Nairo Quintana when he was competing in the 2010 Tour l’Avenir.
Meanwhile, the mountainous Pau to Hautacam route will also stage the 2014 Etape du Tour.
As is tradition, the Tour will finish on the Champs-Elysees with two laps of the French capital, with organisers hoping to repeat last year’s rounding of the Arc de Triomphe, which required significant road closures.
Tour de France 2014 – route
Saturday July 5 Leeds to Harrogate, 191km
Sunday July 6 York to Sheffield, 198km
Monday July 7 Cambridge to London, 159km
Tuesday July 8 Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Lille, 164km
Wednesday July 9 Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, 156km
Thursday July 10 Arras to Reims, 194km
Friday July 11 Epernay to Nancy, 233km
Saturday July 12 Tomblaine to Gerardmer (La Mauselaine), 161km
Sunday July 13 Gerardmer to Mulhouse, 166km
Monday July 14 Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles, 161km summit finish
Tuesday July 15 Rest day
Wednesday July 16 Besancon to Oyannax – 186km
Thursday July 17 Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Etienne – 183km
Friday July 18 Saint-Etienne to Chamrousse, 200km summit finish
Saturday July 19 Grenoble to Risoul, 177km summit finish
Sunday July 20 Tallard to Nime, 222km
Monday July 21 Rest day
Tuesday July 22 Carcassone to Bagneres-de-Luchon, 237km
Wednesday July 23 Saint Gaudens to Saint-Lory-Soulan (Pla d’Adet), 125km summit finish
Thursday July 24 Pau to Hautacam, 145km summit finish
Friday July 25 Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour to Bergerac, 208km
Saturday July 26 Bergerac to Perigueux, 54km individual time trial
Sunday July 27 Evry to Paris Champs-Elysees, 136km