Starting in northern England on July 5, the Tour de France features stretches of dangerous cobbled roads in northern France, a treacherous crossing of the Vosges mountains and only one time trial.

"Uncertainty is part of the competition," Tour director Christian Prudhomme told reporters when asked about the cobbled sections, which could turn the fifth stage into carnage.

"It would not make sense to avoid the cobbles when we go through northern France," he added.

Prudhomme added that the 2014 would also pay tribute to World War One as the peloton will ride on the Chemin des Dames and Verdun, the venues for many battles a century earlier.

"We wanted to be part of the centenary celebrations," Prudhomme said.

There will also be three mountain ranges to navigate.

It will start in the Vosges, with the 10th stage being "a real mountain stage where the best GC (general classification) riders should fight", according to Prudhomme.

The stage ends at the top of the Planche des Belles Filles, where 2013 Chris Froome triumphed this year.

"In 2012, it came at the end of a hilly stage, this time it will be preceded by several other tough climbs, such as the Petit Ballon d'Alsace and the Col de Chevreres," Prudhomme added.

There will be a total of five summit finishes, including the demanding climb to Hautacam in the Pyrenees, at the end of a short yet brutal stage also featuring the ascent of the Tourmalet.

A rather balanced Tour, which could see sprint king Mark Cavendish don the coveted yellow jersey after the first stage ending in his mother's home town of Harrogate, may not be decided until the riders race against the clock on the eve of the Champs Elysees parade.

The only time trial of the race will be held on a 54-km flat route between Bergerac and Perigueux.