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2015 Tour de France to start from the Netherlands

media The 2015 Tour de France route was unveiled in Paris on Wednesday REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Next year's Tour will commence from the Dutch city of Utrecht, making it the 21st overseas start in Tour history. This was announced by Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme who unveiled next year’s route in Paris on Wednesday.

Among the highlights of next year’s Tour which will run from July 4 to July 26, are the inclusion of cobblestone route for the second successive year and for the first time in its history, the inclusion of Alpe d'Huez which will be climbed on the penultimate stage before the final procession in Paris.

Experts feel the 2015 Tour route will be advantageous to former two times winner Alberto Contador, this year's winner Vincenzo Nibali and Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana.

Another feature of next year’s Tour will be that the fifth stage will be passing through some of the most important battlefields of the Somme, a continuing theme of World War 1 from the 2014 Tour.

Speaking about the stages in the Alps, Prudhomme said that it’s been a long time since four consecutive stages happened in the Alps.

Prudhomme is hoping that the penultimate stage up Alpe d'Huez, having earlier scaled the 'ceiling' of the 2015 race, the Col du Gallibier at 2,645m, will allow the overall standings to still be "turned upside" down, right to the bitter end.

Meanwhile, 2013 winner Chris Froome has said he may skip next year’s Tour because the course doesn't suit him.

Speaking on his personal website, the British rider said he may focus on the Giro d'Italia instead as it is a more balanced route whereas the Tour is aimed predominantly at climbers.

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