THE mountains of the Pyrenées dominate the Tour de France 2010 route with the Col du Tourmalet set to be climbed twice from both directions.
Christian Prudhomme, the Tour director, said he wanted the 97th tour to provide an unpredictable race offering excitement all the way to the final stage in Paris.
Rotterdam will host the start of le Tour on Saturday, July 3 with a nine kilometre time trial as the race continues through Belgium.
The race continues in a clockwise direction around France offering a challenge in the Alps, but it is in the Pyrenées that the race will be decided, although an individual time trial on the penultimate day may ask questions of some.
The Tour de France 2010 will see Lance Armstrong go up against defending champion Alberto Contador on separate teams this time, after this year's race saw them enjoy a cool relationship sharing the Astana team bus.
But the 2010 race may also prove interesting for British cycling fans as Mark Cavendish is likely to set his sights on the green jersey, while Bradley Wiggins should be seen as a yellow jersey contender following his fourth place finish this year.
Tour de France 2010 Route:
Saturday, July 3: Prologue - Rotterdam, 8km
July 4: Stage 1 - Rotterdam - Brussels, 224km
July 5: Stage 2 - Brussels - Spa, 192km
July 6: Stage 3 - Wanze - Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, 207km
July 7: Stage 4 - Cambrai - Reims, 150km
July 8: Stage 5 - Epernay - Montargis, 185km
July 9: Stage 6 - Montargis - Gueugnon, 225km
Saturday, July 10: Stage 7 - Tournus - Station des Rousses, 161km
July 11: Stage 8 - Station des Rousses - Morzine Avoriaz, 189km
July 12: Rest day - Morzine Avoriaz
July 13: Stage 9 - Morzine Avoriaz - St Jean de Maurienne, 204km
July 14: Stage 10 - Chambery - Gap, 179km
July 15: Stage 11 - Sisteron - Bourg les Valence, 180km
July 16: Stage 12 - Bourg de Peage - Mende, 210km
Saturday July 17: Stage 13 - Rodez - Revel, 195km
July 18: Stage 14 - Revel - Ax 3 Domaines, 184km
July 19: Stage 15 - Pamiers - Bagnes de Luchon, 187km
July 20: Stage 16 - Bagneres de Luchon - Pau, 196km
July 21: Rest day - Pau
July 22: Stage 17 - Pau - Col du Tourmalet, 174km
July 23: Stage 18 - Salies de Bearn - Bordeaux, 190km
Saturday, July 24: Stage 19 - Bordeaux-Pauillac, individual time trial 51km
July 25: Stage 20 - Longjumeau - Paris Champs Elysees, 105km
The race will have a total distance 3,600km with six mountain stages and three summit finishes.