From the Alps to the Pyrenées, here's where the race will be decided
1. Côte de Religieuses – stage three
The first uphill finish of the Tour de France will come on stage three, with a short punchy climb into Longwy. With two hairpin bends and a maximum gradient of 11 per cent, the ability to accelerate out of the corners and being well-positioned will be important if the GC contenders aren’t to lose a few seconds
2. La Planche des Belles Filles – stage five
Stage five sees a bona fide summit finish to La Planche des Belles Filles in the Vosges, a six kilometre climbs that regularly ramps up to double digit gradients, finishing with a final 20 per cent kick to the line. Adam Yates currently holds the KOM aheda Thibaut Pinot from a training ride in 2013, a mark that will surely put under pressure come July.
3. Côte de la Combe de Laisia Les Molunes – stage eight
Nearly 12km in length, the Côte de la Combe de Laisia Les Molunesis the first long climb of the Tour on stage eight. The summit is reach with 10km to go on the stage to Station des Rousses, so not ideal for attacks, but if a few riders can get away on the climb then they could cooperate to gain time over the rolling finale.
Watch: Tour de France 2017 essential guide
4. Mont du Chat – stage nine
A new addition to the Tour de France, the Mont du Chat is a true brute of a climb, rarely dropping below 10 per cent with a relentless gradient that will really punish anyone with poor legs on the day. The climb, which also features in the Critérium du Dauphiné is crested with 25km to go on stage nine to Chambery, so the technical descent towards Lac du Bourget could be just as important.
5. Col de Peyresourde – stage 12
After briefly flirting with the Alps at the Mont du Chat, the riders head across the country to hit the Pyrenées on stage 12 with a summit finish to Peyragudes. The final climb to the line is a second category climb, but the real damage could be done on the preceding Col de Peyresourde which is submitted with five kilometres to go before a descent and the final climb to the line.
6. Col du Telegraphe/Col du Galibier – stage 17
The toughest stage of the 2017 Tour de France has to be stage 17, a 183km trek across the Alps, with the final two climbs being Col du Telegraphe and the Col du Galibier. These two climbs effectively go together – a 34.5km ascent from the valley floor to more than 2,500m with just a short descent of a few kilometres in between. From the top of the climb all that remains is a precipitous descent and a few kilometres of false flat to the finish in Serre Chevalier.
7. Col d’Izoard – stage 18
The final summit finish of the race will come on stage 18 on the spectacular Col d’Izoard. The average gradient of 7.3 per cent doesn’t show just how tough this climb is, with the relatively benign start being evened out by the steeper and steeper slopes towards the summit. With only the penultimate day time trial remaining for the GC contenders to worry about, this will be a final chance for the climbers to open time gaps to the stronger testers.