The 108th Tour de France will feature a groundbreaking route with a double serving of double trouble. Contenders for the overall victory will have to be on high alert from the get-go, lest they choke on the two climbs up the Mûr-de-Bretagne, which will be tackled from a different side in the stage 2 finale. Ten days later, they will have to make another show of strength on the slopes of the Mont Ventoux. The Giant of Provence, which is making its first double appearance in a stage, will be tackled from two different sides before plunging down to Malaucène. In between these two key dates, the riders will have already faced new challenges, including four stages in the four departments that make up Brittany —from Brest to Fougères— riddled with hazards such as coastal winds and the hills of the Armorican Massif. The Signal d'Uchon, a recently discovered climb in the Morvan, will decide the stage to Le Creusot in its first appearance in the race.
The return of the first-week individual time trial will provide an early indication of the pecking order, which the climbers will do their best to shake up in the two gruelling Alpine stages finishing in Le Grand Bornand and on the heights of Tignes, just before the first rest day.
After that, the Pyrenees will dispel any remaining doubts in five action-packed duels in the high mountains, combining the brand-new, spectacular Col de Saint-Louis on the road to Quillan with absolute classics like the Peyresourde – Val Louron-Azet – Col du Portet and Tourmalet – Luz Ardiden sequences. It will be do or die for the kings of the mountains, who will have to grab every second they can if they are to fend off the toughest power riders in the 31 km romp through the vineyards of Saint-Émilion on the eve of the finish on the Champs-Élysées.
While the destiny of the yellow jersey will probably be decided in south-western France, the fight for the green jersey will take place all over the country, with no fewer than seven stages likely to fall to the sprinters as long as their teammates can keep any breakaways on a tight leash. Stage hunters will also get numerous opportunities to thwart the peloton.