Race organizers, Amaury Sport Organisation, have announced the colossal route for the 2016 Tour de France.
Beginning July 2 at the iconic Mont Saint-Michel, the 103rd edition of the Tour will be a counter-clockwise affair that includes stops in Spain, Andorra and Switzerland en route to Paris.
With nine mountain stages balanced out by nine flat stages, route dictators gave equal opportunity to sprinters and climbers.
As usual, the race begins with four sprint-friendly stages, giving those who hope to wear green in Paris an opportunity to don yellow.
The GC competition will likely see its first shake-up following the race's first mountain-top finish in Le Lorian ski resort in Stage 5.
Unlike this year's tour, which only featured one individual time trial, 2016 riders will have two chances to race against the clock. A 37 km ITT (which doesn't appear to be a favorite amongst the specialists), and a short, uphill 17 km ITT should further spread the field.
As defending champion, Chris Froome is expected to begin next year's race as the favorite, and he likes his chances to become the first person to legitimately win back-to-back tours since Miguel Indurain in 1995.
"There's a lot to consider in this next edition of the Tour de France," Froome told EuroSport. "I think it's a great route with a winner who's going to have to do a bit of everything.
"I don't think it's specifically a course that suits a time triallist or a climber or a classics rider. It's going to have to be a very all-round rider who takes on this route."
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