Froome expects an open 2020 Tour de France after route revealed

SHOWS: PARIS, FRANCE (OCTOBER 15, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MULTIPLE TOUR DE FRANCE WINNER, CHRIS FROOME, SAYING:

"I think it's a great race. It's probably one of the hardest parcours I've seen in the last five, six years, but that's fantastic. That's great for the race. It gives a lot of opportunities for the main rivals to try and win the race, and I think that's what everyone wants to see. Everyone wants to see a big battle between the biggest names, and I think this route is hard enough to allow that."

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2. FROOME (LEFT), STANDING NEXT TO 2019 TOUR DE FRANCE WINNER, EGAN BERNAL (RIGHT), ON STAGE DURING THE 2020 TOUR DE FRANCE ROUTE REVEAL

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOUR DE FRANCE WINNER, EGAN BERNAL, SAYING:

"I think that it will be a different Tour. It will be really hard. It's special because we will not have the team time trials, so it will be a little bit different, and with just one time trial, but the final is in a really steep climb with uphill. So, it will be different, it wouldn't be that hard of a course for a good climber, but we need to see the parcours and analyse it very well."

STORY: Tour de France organisers put a spring in the step of the climbers on Tuesday (October 15) after unveiling the route for the 2020 race featuring a first mountain stage on the second day and only one time trial on the eve of the final parade on the Champs Elysees.

The race could be decided on the penultimate stage in the 36km solo effort against the clock ending up the Planche des Belles Filles.

Four-time champion Chris Froome returns after missing this year's event through injury.

The Briton, who limped onto the presentation podium at the Palais des Congres in Paris, said the route is one of the hardest he has ever seen and expects it give all the main rivals opportunities to win the race.

His 22-year-old team mate Bernal, who became the youngest rider to win the Tour since World War II, was happy with the route, but admitted that it would be "really hard".

This year's Tour features mountain stages stretching from start to finish.

The second stage will take the peloton around Nice with three climbs - Col de la Colmiane, Col de Turini and Col d'Eze - on the menu, giving early opportunities to the overall contenders.

There will be two mountain-top finishes in the opening six days, a rarity in Tour de France history.

The race starts a week earlier than usual on June 27 in Nice to allow riders the chance to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

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