Tour route takes in Nancy

Tour route takes in Nancy

Tour route takes in Nancy

A brutal stage 18 will take riders over the Col de Vars, the Col d'Izoard and the Galibier within the space of 207km, while a day later riders will crest the Col d'Iseran, the highest paved road in Europe at 2,770m.

A short day culminating in a 30km climb to Val Thorens at a 5.5 per cent gradient will crown the 2019 champion, with the customary procession to Paris taking place on July 28.

When France emerged from the carnage of the First World War, the Tour offered its beacon of hope to the war-ravaged nation.

Tour de France organisers threw down the gauntlet to the climbing specialists when they unveiled the most mountainous edition in the 106-year history of the event, the 2019 edition featuring a record 30 mountain passes and five summit finishes, on Thursday. "But it's always tough and I'm looking forward to it".

Having downplayed the idea of banning power metres, Thomas suggested the route would still play to Sky's strengths as it would be vital to have strong support throughout.

"It will suit the usual Tour rider - a well-rounded rider with a balanced team".

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Next year's edition features a 27km-long team time-trial on stage two around the city centre of Brussels and just one other, individual time trial over 27km on stage 13 on undulating terrain around Pau.

Another day in the mountains around ski resort Tignes will push the riders to 2,770m above sea level, reducing the oxygen at a critical time of the race. Created to test the legs of the puncheurs - those riders who can launch a stinging attack and punch time into the peloton over rolling terrain - the route will showcase a different type of rider on the stinging slopes of the Côte d'Esquillot, a potential springboard to overall race victory.

Froome was denied a fifth title last year by Sky teammate and fellow Briton Geraint Thomas and both men were in attendance along with the 73-year-old Merckx for the route presentation at Paris' Palais des Congres.

Thomas said he was not yet sure of his race programme for 2019, but added that if he was on the start line on July 6, he would be there to win.

"Mark Cavendish, the greatest sprinter in Tour history, showed a year ago the attitude our sprinters have", he said.

"I have never really looked at my power meter, for me, it's about emotion and how you feel and how deep you can go", he said, as reported by Cycling News.

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