Read more on the 2014 Tour de France unveiling here

This year’s Tour de France champion Chris Froome outlined his intent to defend his Tour crown in eight months’ time at the official launch of the 2014 route in Paris on Wednesday morning.

“I’m getting really excited about the challenge,” Froome said after the route was presented. “It’s going to be a fun one to go for.”

Tour organisers ASO have created a route that suits Froome down to the ground. Following on from the opening three British stages, five summit finishes are likely to give Froome another opportunity to build his bid for the yellow jersey around his climbing ability.

Froome won two of the four summit finishes on offer this year, and took his first ever Tour stage victory on a climb which gives the 2014 edition its first true mountain test: La Planche des Belles Filles.

“All five summit finishes are going to be days that really sort out the general classification,” he said. “I think the first one especially: La Planche des Belles Filles [stage 10]. I think we can expect bigger time gaps there than we did in 2012 because of the amount of climbing before the final climb.”

The penultimate stage time trial from Bergerac to Perigueux – a flat, 54km test against the clock – means this isn’t purely a climber’s Tour, with the threat of crosswinds and cobbles [stage five] also likely to play on the minds of the peloton’s lightwights.

“The pure climbers will certainly be up there with that amount of climbing,” added Froome, “but they have to get over the cobblestones and they have to battle through any crosswinds that we have on the way to the mountains, and they also have to be able to time trial at the end of it. It’s a pretty well balanced Tour.”

His Director Sportif Nicholas Portal is confident Froome can handle the cobbles. “Even though he does not have a beautiful style on the bike, Chris is rarely on the ground. He knows how to handle his bike.”

Away from the cobbles, Froome was pleased to hear of the Tour’s return to the Planche de de belle filles, where he won in 2012. “I’ll definitely get that special feeling again. It’s going to be the first summit finish again, and that always marks an important day.”

Meanwhile, Mark Cavendish expressed his excitement for the home grand depart. “The first stage finishes in my home town, so a lot of my family will be there. We have an apartment literally 50 metres from the stage finish. I used to stay there two or three times a year as a child.

“I would like to try to gain the yellow jersey again with a stage win [on the opening day]”

Meanwhile, 4 time stage winner last year and Cavendish’s news nemesis Marcel Kittel took to twitter to express his views on the route:

Nice to be @ Tour presentation! Start in Leeds & first part of the TdF looks nice! The 2nd half? Ouch! I feel fat when I see the profiles…

Bauke Mollema, who also rode impressively last year, said he was ‘satisfied’ with the route. “It looks promising. Race will be more open and probably exciting till the end. Well done ASO.”

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  • colin

    Why don’t we just go back to the good old days when we ‘just made up the numbers’, then we can all stop bitching about the current crop who just keep winning everything!!

  • Pee Bee

    Dear White Rose, if you ask my wife, she thinks I follow Professional cycling too much, so I shall use your advice in my defence next time she suggests that I should think about cycling less. Sorry about the Froome / Frome thing but my French computer’s spell check plays havoc with English and changes words willy nilly. Its already tried to change Froome but has kept Frome intact. Perhaps you would like to reveal to the world why Wiggins did not defend his title, although I have heard it all from every website that has ever herad of cycling. From where I am sitting in France, “Gentleman Wiggins” was too gentlemanly and well and truely has a dagger inserted into his back. You clearly did not read or understand my comment regarding defending the title otherwise you would have understood that Wiggins would have had been able to allow Froome (changed it 3 times) to win in a way that respectful to the defending champion and the tradition of the race – in otherwords sportmanship.

  • White Rose

    Dear Pee Bee

    His name is Froome not Frome, you really should follow professional racing more, that way you would know his name and understand why Wiggins did not “defend” his yellow jersey this year.

  • Dave Smart

    Hi Pee Bee – feeling any better now? I don’t see this as a Froome v Wiggins thing, and Brad was not fit enough to ride Le Tour. Knee injuries take time to heal and require careful management. I agree with you that team decisions were bad, and thoughtful man-management was notable for its absence. But Brad should have done the noble thing and offered (right after his victory) to return the favour and ride for Chris in 2013. Team Sky messed up in that respect, and made an even worse mistake by putting Sir Bradley on a regime that included squats – training theory best described as ‘brute force and ignorance’. http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/537681/bradley-wiggins-working-on-explosive-climbing-ahead-of-giro-d-italia.html It will be interesting to see if they can ruin Froome’s 2014 campaign in a similar way!! He admits there’s room for improvement (“I’m all over my bike”). He’s not sure how to go about it, but Sky’s (and BC’s) coaches don’t have a clue either. http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/08/news/can-chris-froome-get-even-better-he-thinks-so_300448

  • Pee Bee

    So it’s OK for Mr Frome to declare to the world that he is going to defend his title without permission (that we know about) from Sir Dave, but Sir Bradley was never given that opportunity last year, which I find most disrespectful to the rider and the race. “Defend” does not mean that the defender thinks that the parcours has their name on it before all you Frome lovers rush to defend him and rubbish Sir Wiggo. It just means the right to have the honour of starting the race as the defending champion, something Team Sky seemed to have overlooked last year. What happens after that to the leadership is another story, one which may have been thought out in advance, but one that respects the defending champion and above all respects the race. Frome is the defending champion so he should ride as such, but for me his win will always be tarnished by the un-British way in which he and Team Sky managed the situation last year. The fact that Wiggo was suposedly unfit to ride and the fact that the course was perhaps not suited to the 2012 defending champion is also not the point. The point is that even before the route was revealed last year, Mr Frome aided by his team was already saying that he was the team leader. I am British and I live in the Pyrenées, but I will not be shouting for Mr Frome on the slopes of Hautacam next summer. I will however be shouting for any British rider who rides well, most notably Cav (although perhaps not on Hautacam other than to finish within the time limit). I will also be shouting for any rider of any other nationality who has ridden a gritty race and delivers a great ride on the day which thrills the crowd. Someone like Thomas Voeckler for example if he still has it in him to ascend in the way that I saw him on the Tourmalet in 2011.