Could the Tour de France be heading for dirt roads in the mountains in 2018?

Tour's route planner on "recon" in the Cévennes mountains

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With cobbles already featuring fairly regularly in past editions, the Tour de France could be heading into new territory with dirt roads on two parts of the route in 2018.

The route, which will be announced in full in October, is already strongly rumoured to be heading to Brittany after the Grand Départ in the Vendée, and looks likely to take in some of the ribinoù (or dirt roads) used in the Tro-Bro Léon one-day race.

However a tweet from technical director Thierry Gouvenou has raised the possibility of the race also using dirt roads in the Massif Central.

>>> Tour de France 2018 route: What we know so far

Gouvenou posted a photo of  what appears to be a dirt road near Mont Lozère in the Cévennes mountains with the caption "under the spell of this mountain road... pleasures of the recon".

The 48-year-old former professional also fills the same role for Paris-Nice, meaning that the road could also be under consideration for the 2017 edition of the Race to the Sun, a race which is often used as a testing ground for new roads before they are introduced to the Tour de France.

Henry Robertshaw

Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.