Cycling: Tour route to suit climbers
The 2012 Tour de France could favour the leading climbers after the route was confirmed yesterday.
The race will begin with a prologue through the streets of Liege on June 30 and will conclude in Paris on July 22.
Away from the big cities, the challenges in the Alps and Pyrenees have been ramped up to test the elite riders, with Le Tour returning on its 11th stage to the daunting alpine ascent of La Toussuire, the scene of Floyd Landis' dramatic struggle five years ago.
Another winter sports destination, Peyragudes, will feature for the first time on the 17th stage as the race reaches the Pyrenees.
Prior to tackling La Toussuire, the riders must also encounter the intimidating climb up the Planche des Belles-Filles, featuring a short stretch with a 20pc gradient, and the demanding Col du Grand Colombier pass.
Team Sky will be happy with the route, which should suit Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, who finished second in the recent Tour of Spain.
Nicolas Roche is likely to be less pleased as the route will feature 96.1km of individual time trials.