The 2019 Tour de France will be “the highest Tour in history” — with a record 30 mountain passes and five summit finishes — Tour general director Christian Prudhomme said, according to Agence France-Presse.
“The planning here means it is impossible to win this Tour unless you are a great climber,” Prudhomme said, according to the report.
The Tour route, revealed Thursday, starts in Brussels on July 6 and includes three summit finishes above 2,000 meters — the Col du Tourmalet pass, Tignes and Val Thorens.
“That’s really going to stand this route apart from previous editions,” four-time Tour winner Chris Froome said.
It’s the 106th edition of the Tour, celebrating 100 years of the yellow jersey worn by the race leader. Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas became the first Welshman to win the Tour this past July, succeeding Team Sky leader Froome, who finished third.
“I think that [the 2019 Tour] will be similar to this year in the way that we rode together,” Thomas said Thursday, according to Cyclingnews.com. “We were always honest with each other and I don’t see why we can’t do that again.”
The 2019 Tour also marks 50 years since the first of Belgian Eddy Merckx‘s five titles, making Brussels a fitting start.
Brussels hosted the Grand Départ one other time in 1958 during the Universal Exhibition and the inauguration of the Atomium.
The three-week stage race includes a team time trial for stage 2 and an individual time trial for stage 13, each just shy of 17 miles.
“More individual time trial kilometers would have been better, so it’s not an ideal course for me, but that was also the case this year,” 2018 Tour runner-up Tom Dumoulin said.
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