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Tour de France route offers more challenges
Tour de France route offers new climbs, more time trials to create more challengers
By The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) ' Tour de France riders will face steeper mountain climbs and longer time trials, making for a wide-open race aimed to give stars like defending champion Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador plenty of challengers.

At Tuesday's presentation of the 2012 course, Tour director Christian Prudhomme said "more favorites can potentially be in the mix" in the quest for the leader's yellow jersey over the 2,162-mile route.

The Tour's 99th edition starts June 30 in Liege, Belgium. It will feature nearly 62 miles of individual time trials and 25 tough mountain climbs. The super-steep stretch in eastern France will make its Tour debut in Stage 7.

This summer's Tour winner wasn't decided until the next to last stage. Prudhomme said organizers needed to keep shaking things up.

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