Cycling: Tour de France distance revealed at 3,662km

PARIS (AFP) - Tour de France organisers Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) on Friday revealed the exact finalised route for July's race of 3,662km.

The world's biggest and most popular cycling stage race is usually limited at 3,500km but the lack of an opening stage short-distance prologue, replaced by a full stage, has accounted for the slightly longer profile.

"The prologue has been replaced by a stage which explains the difference (in distance) compared to last year," Tour sports director Thierry Gouvenou told AFP.

The exact nature of the course was divulged to the 22 competing teams at a venue just outside Paris on Friday.

"The displacements from one town to another, between the arrivals (in one town at the end of one stage) and departures (from the town that begins the following stage) have been limited as much as possible," added Gouvenou.

Two of those displacements will be done by plane, between the third stage, which ends in London, and the fourth, which begins in Le Touquet, near Calais; and between the penultimate stage ending in Bergerac, near Bordeaux, and the final one starting in Evry, part of the southern suburbs of Paris.

Gouvenou also announced that there would be no changes to the points allocation for the minor jerseys: the polka dot king of the mountains jersey and the green jersey for best sprinter.

Another element established was the number of 'hors categories' - unclassified - climbs during the tour, set at six: the Chamrousse, Izoard, Port de Bales, Saint-Lary-Soulan, Tourmalet and the Hautacam.

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