Challenges expected as Tour de France 2018 route unveiled

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Paris, Oct 17 (IANS) Tough challenges are expected during the Tour de France 2018, scheduled in July, following the unveiling of the tournament’s route at the Palais de Congres convention centre here on Tuesday.

The 105th edition will run from July 7 to 29 with 21 stages covering a total distance of 3,329 km, reports Xinhua news agency.

Departing from Noirmoutier-en-L’Ile of the Vendee department, 176 riders, reduced from this year’s 198, will move to northern France, and will have to tackle cobblestones over a distance of 21.7 km before arriving in Roubaix, close to the border between France and Belgium.

After similar mountain stages in the Alps and the Pyrenees, riders will finish the race at Champs-Elysees, Paris, on July 29.

“The race will be hard, especially with the cobbles,” said defending champion Christopher Froome in contention for a record-equalling fifth overall title in the world’s most prestigious road cycling tournament.

The race in 2018 saw a reduction in long distance time trials while emphasizing the diversity of the route, which race director Christian Prudhomme says calls for the riders’ boldness.

“We especially wanted to emphasize stage variety and the route that may prove decisive, while combining legendary climbs with brand new ascensions or ultra dynamic formats, to provide a vision of modern and inspired cycling,” he said.

On the unveiling ceremony, Froome was presented with the Velo d’Or (Golden Bicycle) trophy, an award initiated by the French cycling magazine Velo and voted by a jury of 18 international journalists.

This was the third time for the British rider to have taken away the laurel in his career after 2013 and 2015.

–IANS

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