Next year's Tour de France route is "super hard", according to defending champion Jonas Vingegaard.
The Jumbo-Visma rider was present in the audience at Paris's Palais des Congrès on Wednesday to hear the details of the course he will have to be the fastest on if he is to take a third Tour de France title next summer.
The route includes five summit finishes at Pla d'Adet, the Plateau de Beille, Superdévoluy, Isola 2000 and the Col de la Couillole, and 59 kilometres of time trialling across stages seven and 21. Isola 2000 and the Col de la Couillole fall on the antepenultimate and penultimate stages, respectively, before a hilly final day time trial in Nice.
“I’m really excited about it. It seems super hard, especially the third week, it seems super hard,” Vingegaard said, according to Wielerflits. “I think it’s a good parcours for me. Obviously I’m looking forward to it.”
"Whether the two time trials are also in my favour depends a bit," the Jumbo-Visma rider continued. "If I have the legs from the last time trial in the Tour, certainly. But if I have the legs from the time trial in the Vuelta [a España], then not."
On stage 16 of this year's Tour, the Dane crushed his competition, putting 1-38 into Tadej Pogačar to all but seal his second yellow jersey, while at the Vuelta a España Vingegaard lost a minute to Remco Evenepoel.
“The stages in the Pyrenees also look very tough," he continued. "The stage with a finish on Plateau de Beille will be special. That's definitely a ride I'm looking forward to. In general, I see a lot of difficult stages. That works to my advantage. The fact that we have a time trial on the last day is new. It actually means we have to race an extra day.”
For the first time since 1989, the race ends in a time trial. The 34km time trial will tackle La Turbie and the Col d'Eze on its way to a finish on the Promenade des Anglais on the seafront of Nice.
One of the other striking features of the 111th Tour is the 32km of gravel sectors on stage nine from Troyes to Troye. It is the most amount of gravel to ever feature in the race, and comes across 14 sectors.
“It's a new element," Vingegaard said. "It's nice, but on the other hand you can lose everything one day. If one of the favourites suddenly loses five minutes that day, I would find that a great shame. As a team we will have to be well prepared for this.”
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