The organizers of the Tour de France have unveiled the route that the 2017 edition of the race will take. The world's most famous cycling event is to start in Germany for the first time in three decades.
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme used a press conference in Paris on Tuesday to unveil the route for next year's race, which begins in the western city of Düsseldorf on July 1 with a 13-kilometer (eight miles) individual time trial.
The race is to get underway in earnest with the 202-kilometer second stage, which runs from Düsseldorf to the eastern Belgian city of Liege.
Germany's time-trial world champion, Tony Martin,said he was determined to capture the yellow jersey on the first stage.
"This will definitely be my highlight next year," Martin said. "For me there will only be one goal, the yellow jersey. Second place doesn't count for me. This has been clear since my performance at the world championships."
Although the 104th edition of the Tour includes just five mountain climbs, defending champion Chris Froome,who has won the race the last three years running, said these would be key in his bid to make it four in a row.
"This Tour will be won in the mountains. The time trials are too small to have any real effect," the Briton said.
The 21st and final stage of the 3,516-kilometer race is to wrap up, as always, with 10 laps of the Champs Elysees in Paris on July 23.
This will be the fourth time that the Tour de France has started in Germany, after Cologne in 1965, Frankfurt in 1980 and West Berlin in 1987.
pfd/jh (AFP, SID, AP)