The 2020 Tour de France rolls out of Nice on August 29, AFP Sport looks at five key stages to watch over the course of the three weeks:
Stage 2: Nice-Nice - 187km
Seeking to emulate the thrill of the 2019 Tour, organisers lit the fuse on the 2020 route with bonus seconds up for grabs on the penultimate climb and at the finish line of mountainous stage 2. Perhaps that will encourage someone of the ilk of Julian Alaphilippe to attack from distance and seize both the initiative and the yellow jersey in the low Alps behind Nice, thereby establishing an attacking pattern.
Stage 9: Pau-Laruns - 154km
This second Pyrenean stage is possibly the toughest on the Tour with an 11km climb at over nine percent of the Col de la Hourcere, just the first of four climbs and a treacherous, winding descent to the finish line.
Stage 10: Ile de Oleron-Ile de Re - 170km
Never before has a stage started on one island and finished on another, as this Atlantic coast extravaganza does. The organisers were hoping for wind on the day to create breaks in the peloton as it weaves through the narrow roads of the coastal marshes. The September weather is more likely to provide just that.
Stage 17: Grenoble-Meribel col de la Loze - 168km
The final climb up a summit that has never figured before on the Tour culminates on an old ski piste maintenance road converted into a 7km bike track. It has flat sections and 20 percent inclines that a normal road would never include. The peak stands at 2,300m and offers an idyllic 360 degree view giving fans the chance of a masked selfie with Mont Blanc in the background.
Stage 20: Lure-La Planche des Belles Filles - 36km individual time trial
Saying they prefer shoulder-to-shoulder racing, Tour organisers have scheduled the only time trial, and they have put it right in French hero Thibaut Pinot's backyard.
The ride up to the hugely popular Planche des Belles Filles in the Jura starts out flat and has a long incline before a final 6km ascent that rounds off the decisive action on the 2020 Tour, making it clearly a key moment. Champion Egan Bernal's jaw dropped in admiration when the route was unveiled.