The 2020 Tour de France will start with a bang as the organisers opt for two tough opening stages in Nice.
Next year’s race will start with a hilly day in the south of France, followed by a day in the mountains.
Organisers released details of the first two stages on Monday (March 18), revealing a departure from the traditional Tour de France starts.
The first stage will be a 170km route suited to the sprinters, starting and finishing in Nice.
But it will not be a straight run for the fast men, with four tough climbs scattered along the way and a fast finishing circuit to conclude.
Taking in many of the same roads as Paris-Nice, the opening stage will finish on the famous Promenade des Anglais on the seafront.
Stage two will be a major departure from the traditional opening of the Tour, heading to the mountains on only the second day.
Over 190km, the peloton will race over four cols, including the high summits of the Col de la Colmiane and the Col de Turini.
The stage, which again starts and finishes in Nice, then heads for the smaller Col d’Èze before the final test of the day, the Col de Quatre Chemins and the downhill run to the line.
The Tour which often opens with a mixture of sprint stages and time trials.
This will be the seventh time the Tour has started in the south, after Fleurance in 1977 and 1979, Nice in 1981, San Sebastian 1992 , Monaco in 2009 and Porto-Vecchio (2013).
The 2019 Tour departs from Brussels in Belgium with an expected sprint, followed by a team time trial on stage two.
On day three, the race then leaves Belgium and passes into northern France, where five summit finishes await.