For the paucity of time trialling, a recent trend that has now been taken to a new level, Prudhomme sympathised with the traditionalists but argued it was a necessary step given smaller and smaller time gaps seen in the mountains compared to the time trials.
- "I dream of cycling where the climber distances the rouleur in the mountains and loses time against the clock, but nowadays that doesn’t happen."
- The 2020 route seems an overt attempt to recreate this summer's drama, but he pointed out there's only so much he can do: "It’s the riders who make the race."
The climbing stages are spread throughout the three weeks, with Prudhomme and his colleagues hoping hostilities between the yellow jersey contenders could flare at any moment, rather than being limited to set-piece blocks in the Pyrenees and Alps.
- "The Tour is about the Alps and Pyrenees and always will be. However, in the last few years, we’ve been seeking out difficulties elsewhere," Prudhomme said.
- "I’m very happy that we have summit finishes in three ranges that aren’t the Alps or Pyrenees. For me, that’s a good thing. We wanted to seek out novelties. These are places that are emblematic, beautiful, and tough, with very steep gradients. We have all the ingredients for a great battle.”
"We’re not looking to make it harder; we’re looking to make it more varied," Prudhomme said.
- "In that respect, we’re lucky to be starting in Nice – for only the seventh time in 107 editions. When you think of Nice, you think of the sea, but we’re also at the foot of the Alps, and close to all of France’s mountain ranges. So we’re going to start in the Alps, go to the Massif Central, the Cévennes, Pyrenees, back to the Massif Central, the Jura, the Alps again, and the Vosges. The idea was to make it as varied as possible.
- "It’s not that there are fewer stages for the sprinters, but they’re spread out. There are chances for the sprinters in the first week, but never two in a row."
After unveiling a groundbreaking route for the 2020 Tour de France - low on time trialling, high on hills - Christian Prudhomme spoke of the battle to capture the increasingly fleeting attention of the 21st century audience.
- The race director referred to the ‘civilisation de zapping’, a term that comes from the tendency of modern television viewers to restlessly flick through channels, and insisted: "We have to make things as varied as possible."