Cycling-The Tour de France celebrates 100 years since it first ventured into the Pyrenees mountains by including several legendary climbs in the 2010 race.
The Col du Tourmalet will be ridden twice in both directions as the race spends four days in the Bearn region which separates France from Spain.
The race starts in Dutch city Rotterdam with a nine kilometre prologue time trial on Saturday, 3 July.
The following day, the riders leave Rotterdam for Belgian capital Brussels.
Stage four sees the race enter France for the first time, before the course takes the riders on a clockwise ride round the country.
The opening week is traditionally geared towards the sprinters with relatively flat stages and riders such as Britain’s Mark Cavendish, who won six stages on this year’s Tour, could benefit.
However, seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong, who is expected to ride for his new team Radio Shack, warned that the opening stages could be fraught with problems.
“It will be a difficult first week in the Netherlands and Belgium with crosswinds and then we hit the cobbles when we get into France,” he said.
“It will be nerve-wracking start as you need to be up near the front going over the cobbles because there are lots of crashes.”
This year’s Tour winner, Spain’s Alberto Contador, echoed his American rivals comments, saying: “I’m not the best on cobbles, but I shouldn’t lose too much time. I just have to avoid any crashes and hope it doesn’t rain.”
From stage seven onwards, the race heads for the Jura mountains of eastern France, before going into the Alps and a punishing climb to the summit of Avoriaz.
Following a rest day, the race meanders through south-east France before hitting the Pyrenees in some style.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme said: “In 1910 the Tour witnessed a revolution and invented mountains.
“We had the first climb of over 2,000m up Col du Tourmalet that had bears roaming on the mountains.”
Tourmalet features twice in the race, during stages 16 and 17.
On stage 16, the riders must negotiate the legendary quartet of Col de Peyresourde, Col d’Aspin, Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aubisque on a 196km ride from Bagneres-du-Luchon to Pau.
A rest day follows before the riders attack Tourmalet again in the opposite direction, with the stage finishing at the summit.
Contador added: “This is a tour for climbers. It looks harder than last year, but I like the profile.”
Alberto Contador with the 2010 route
Contador, who won this year’s race, approves the 2010 route
Armstrong was also in favour of the schedule which sees six of the 21 stages in the mountains, with four other medium mountain stages and three summit finishes.
“The summit finish (at Tourmalet) near the end of the race keeps everyone guessing as to who is going to win and keeps the riders sharp,” he said.
“The Tour obviously liked it from last year (when Mont Ventoux was the penultimate stage).
“It is interesting to do Tourmalet twice, but it is an important and historical climb.”
A 51km individual time trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac precedes the traditional finish, on 25 July, on the Champs-Elysees in the French capital Paris.