Team Sky rider relishing the challenge of varied terrains and road surfaces on 2018 route

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With cobbles, gravel, and a 65km mountain stage, the Tour de France 2018 route packs in plenty of challenges, some of which are no doubt designed to test defending champion Chris Froome to his limit.

Froome will be looking to become just the fifth rider to win five Tours de France when he takes on the race in 2018, and said that he was up to the challenges laid down by race organisers ASO.

“I wouldn’t expect anything different from the organisers,” Froome told BBC Sport. “It is a massive challenge for next year and a Tour de France that tests every aspect of cycling.”

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The route of the 2018 race includes a huge range of terrains, from the 21.7km Paris-Roubaix cobbles which will feature on stage nine, to the gravel roads of the Plateau des Glières on stage 10. There will also be a 65km mountain stage in the Pyrénées – the Tour’s shortest road stage in 30 years – alongside a team time trial towards the start of the race together and an individual time trial on the penultimate day.

For race director Christian Prudhomme, the route will be a true test of riders, with tried-and-tested stages such as 200km days in the mountains covering the famous climbs still being included.

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“We especially wanted to emphasise stage variety and the routes that may prove decisive, whilst combining legendary climbs with brand-new climbs or ultra-dynamic formats, to provide a vision of modern and inspired cycling,” Prudhomme said.

While Froome will almost certainly be travelling to France in July, the presence of Tom Dumoulin, who had been tipped as Froome’s main challenger, is less definite, with the Dutchman waiting until the announcement of the Giro d’Italia route before deciding on his 2018 objectives.