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Froome faces Dumoulin duel in 2018 Tour route full of surprises

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 01:20

Tour de France route unveiled where Chris Froome will go for fifth title.

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SHOWS: PARIS, FRANCE (OCTOBER 17, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. (SOUNDBITE) (French) TOUR DE FRANCE DIRECTOR, CHRISTIAN PRUDHOMME, SAYING: "It's been 30 years since we've had so many cobbles. We know cobbles bring about uncertainty and suspense in the Tour, which is what we want to see. For the first time, it will pass through the Glieres Plateau (in Bornes Massif); it's a really, really steep climb. And it's then followed by two kilometres which aren't tarmacked. The Glieres really represents the Tour de France for me - it's sporty, beautiful - it's absolutely stunning - and it represents history, because on the plateau, the resistance - the Macquis (des Glieres) - fought there during the Second World War." 2. WHITE FLASH 3. (SOUNDBITE) (French) TOUR DE FRANCE DIRECTOR, CHRISTIAN PRUDHOMME, SAYING: "There are always surprises in the Tour de France. What's certain is that Chris Froome is going to do all he can to win a fifth time. He's got rivals who have some of the same qualities as he does, such as the Netherlands' Tom Dumoulin, a great time trialist who does really well in the mountains. We saw him win in Andorra during the Tour de France two years ago. Then there are other cyclists, who are perhaps going to attack from afar. Since there will only be eight cyclists instead of nine, a determining factor in the teams will be choosing the seventh and eighth cyclist, because we're really divided in two, between ten days on the flat and ten days in the mountains." 4. WHITE FLASH 5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUR-TIME TOUR DE FRANCE WINNER, CHRIS FROOME, SAYING: "We'll have to wait and see; I mean I'd certainly welcome a challenge from him (Dumoulin), I think it only adds to the race, the more big rivals we have. But there are plenty of guys out there who would be seriously, seriously big contenders on this kind of course." STORY: Tom Dumoulin should be Chris Froome's main rival as the Briton targets a record-equaling fifth title in the 2018 Tour de France, the route for which was unveiled on Tuesday (October 17.) Dutchman Dumoulin won the Giro d'Italia this year before Froome claimed a fourth Tour triumph, both relying mainly on their time-trialling qualities. Next year's Tour will feature a 35km team time trial in Cholet and could be decided in a hilly 31km individual effort against the clock on the penultimate day in the Basque country. There will be many challenges on the course, however, with 21.7 kilometers on cobbles on the ninth stage to Roubaix, where the Queen of the Classics, also known as the "Hell of the North" finishes each year. That will be followed by a rest day before the riders tackle three punishing stages in the Alps with a summit finish at top of the iconic Alpe d'Huez. The course is full of surprises, with a 1.9-km gravel path at the top of the Plateau des Glieres in the first Alpine stage, which will take the peloton from Annecy to Le Grand Bornand. One of the trickiest stages might be the 17th from Bagneres de Luchon to Saint-Lary Soulan as it is only 65 kilometers long, making it very hard to control for the favourites. It will be the Tour's shortest stage since 1971. The race is likely to be decided in the 20th stage, a 31-km hilly individual time trial. Dumoulin is the reigning time trial world champion, both individually and with his Sunweb team, but Team Sky's Froome has experience on his side.

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Froome faces Dumoulin duel in 2018 Tour route full of surprises

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 01:20