Stage 16, Tour de France 2016: Moirans-en-Montagne to Bern

Stage 16 of the 2016 Tour is 209km from Moirans-en-Montagne to Bern, via Soucia, Clairvaux-les-Lacs, Charcier, Pont-du-Navoy, Champagnole, Censeau, Bonnevaux, Malbuisson, les Verrières-de-Joux, Brot-Dessous, Rochefort, Colombier, Neuchâtel, Kerzers, Frauenkappelen, and Kœniz. The intermediate sprint is at Ins/Anet, after 167.5km.

There’s just one categorised climb, the Côte de Mühleberg (Category 4), 25km from the end. The stage is classified as flat.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2016: facts, figures, and map

Stage classification Flat
Distance 209km
Sprints Ins/Anet (after 167.5km)
Climbs Côte de Mühleberg (Category 4)

Stage 16, Tour de France 2016: timings

These are some of the Stage 16 timings (based on the medium estimated speed of 42kmh):

Km Place Time
Départ fictif in Moirans-en-Montagne 1240
0 Départ réel   1255
8.5 Soucia 1307
12 Clairvaux-les-Lacs 1312
20.5 Charcier 1324
35 Pont-du-Navoy 1345
45 Champagnole 1359
64.5 Censeau 1427
74 Bonnevaux 1440
87.5 Malbuisson 1500
106 Les-Verrières-de-Joux 1526
132.5 Brot-Dessous 1604
137.5 Rochefort 1611
141.5 Colombier 1617
151.5 Neuchâtel 1631
167.5 Ins/Anet (sprint) 1654
175.5 Kerzers 1705
183.5 Côte de Mühleberg (Category 4) 1717
190.5 Frauenkappelen 1726
198.5 Kœniz 1738
209 Finish at Bern 1753

See the full timings for Stage 16 on the Tour de France website, based on average speeds of 44, 42, and 40kmh.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2016: the start at Moirans-en-Montagne

Stage 16 starts in Moirans-en-Montagne, a village in the Jura département, known for making wooden toys.

LeTourJura has information about the 2016 Tour de France in the Jura département. The départ fictif is at 1240, at the Sports Hall in Moirans-en-Montagne. The riders roll out of town on route de la Grange au Gui, route de Saint-Laurent, rue Voltaire, avenue Jean Jaurès, place de la Poste, rue Pasteur, rue Roussin, avenue du Franche-Comté, route du Hangar/D296, route de l’Etang to Crenans, route de la Petite Croix/D331 to Charchilla, and then the D470. The départ réel is on the D470 after Charchilla, at 1255.

This OpenStreetMap shows Moirans-en-Montagne.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2016: Moirans-en-Montagne to the Swiss border

The flag goes down and the racing starts on the D470 between Charchilla and Meussia. At Meussia, the route forks right on the D27, which takes the riders north to Soucia, then past the rather unimaginatively-named Petit Lac and Grand Lac, to Clairvaux-les-Lacs.

From Clairvaux, the riders continue north via the villages of Boissia and Charcier. They cross the Hérisson river (which translates as the Hedgehog river, and has a series of waterfalls called les Cascades du Hérisson) to reach Doucier.

Straight after Doucier comes the Lac de Chalain then, following the river Ain north, the villages of Marigny, Montigny-sur-l’Ain, and Pont-du-Navoy.

From Pont-du-Navoy, the D27 continues to Crotenay (home to the Aérodrome de Champagnole-Crotenay); then the Stage 16 route veers east on the D5 to Champagnole (which sits at the foot of Mont Rivel).

The route is on the D471 out of Champagnole, via Equvillon, Charbonny (meaning ‘place where charcoal is made’), and Onglières, to Censeau (where the French national cycling championships took place in 1972). The road climbs gradually from 527m in Champagnole to 840m in Censeau, but it’s not a categorised climb.

In Censeau, the race turns right on the D107, and follows the undulating road out of the Jura département, into the Doubs, and to Bonnevaux.

From Bonnevaux, the riders take the D9, alongside the Drugeon river, to Vaux-et-Chantegrue. They continue on the D9, cross the Doubs river, and at les Granges-Sainte-Marie, they turn left on the D437 to Malbuisson, on the lac de Saint-Point.

(The Lac de Saint-Point is 7.2km long, and 0.8km wide, which makes it the fourth largest natural lake of glacial origin in France. (The largest is the Lac d’Annecy, on Stage 19). The lake is popular with holidaymakers in the summer, and it’s used for water sports including kitesurfing. There’s walking and mountain biking around the lake and in the surrounding forest, and cross-country skiing in the winter.)

The route continues on the eastern shore of the lake, through the villages of Chaudron and Chaon (at the northern end of the lake). Now, Stage 16 climbs away from the lake on the D44; it joins the N57, heading north to la Cluse-et-Mijoux. 

Here, it turns right on the D67B, travelling alongside the railway line to Verrières-de-Joux.

Verrières-de-Joux is on the French side of the border; the riders cross to the other part of the village, les Verrières, in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2016: the Swiss border to Bern

On the Swiss side of the border, the road is called the R10, and it runs through the Val-de-Travers. The riders pass the village of Saint-Sulpice, then descend to Fleurier, on the river Areuse, and at the foot of a hill called le Chapeau de Napoléon.

Stage 16 continues down the Val-de-Travers via Couvet (said to be the home of absinthe) and Travers. 

Near Noirague, they climb up the valley side a little, and pass through the Tunnel de la Clusette, to reach Brot-Dessous. They then descend to the village of Rochefort.

This map shows the route after Rochefort, along the Lac de Neuchâtel:

In Rochefort, they turn right on the 173, and travel via Bôle, Colombier, and Areuse, to the R5, and the shore of the Lac de Neuchâtel.

Now, the route is along the lake shore, via Auvernier, to the town of Neuchâtel.

The riders leave Neuchâtel and ride north east along the shore of the Lac de Neuchâtel, passing through Hauterive, Saint-Blaise, Marin, and Thielle, then crossing into Bern canton, and reaching Ins (or Ins/Anet, on the Tour’s itinerary), where the day’s intermediate sprint takes place.

The race continues through the village of Müntschemier (known for growing vegetables), then it passes temporarily into the canton of Fribourg, and the village of Kerzers, before crossing back into Bern canton.

The next villages on the route are Gurbrü, Rizenbach, and Gümmenen. 

After Gümmenen, the race crosses the Saane river, and begins to climb. This is the only categorised climb of the day, the Côte de Mühleberg.

Côte de Mühleberg (Category 4)

The altitude at the bottom of the climb of the Côte de Mühleberg is about 495m; the climb is over a distance of 1.2km; and the altitude at the top is 552m. This gives a height gain of 57m, and an average gradient of 4.8%.

At the top of the climb, the riders reach the village of Mühleberg. (The main employers here are a hydroelectric power plant, and a nuclear power plant, both on the river Aare, which is dammed to make a lake called the Wohlensee.)

The race now makes its way to Frauenkappelen, then loops south via Niederbottigen and Niederwangen to Köniz. The riders are on the edge of Bern.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2016: the finish in Bern

Bern’s website has information about the route of the finish of Stage 16 in Bern. The race goes over the Aare river on the Monbijou bridge, then travels via Helvetiaplatz, Dalmaziquai, the Matte district, Nydeggstalden, Aargauerstalden (which takes it away from the river), and Papiermühlestrasse to the finish at the Stade de Suisse (also known as the Leichtathliekstadion Wankdorf). 

It’s uphill heading away from the river Aare towards Papiermühlestrasse; then the final kilometre to the finish line is flat. This is the profile of the closing kilometres of the stage:

There’s also information about the two stages in Switzerland on

What will happen on Stage 16? It’s perhaps one of the harder ones to predict. There’s likely to be a breakaway, but the ‘last chance before the Alps’ effect could well mean that the sprinters’ teams will be keen to catch any escapees. The drag up from the Aare river to Papiermühlestrasse could be an opportunity for a strong rider like Fabian Cancellara, Tony Martin, or even Steve Cummings, to get a gap and try to hold off the bunch to the line. However the speed and power of the Tour de France peloton is hard to resist; maybe the most likely outcome is a bunch sprint. I guess that André Greipel could win this one.

Mark Cavendish is thinking of this stage after his win on Stage 14. He suggested that he could go for it, and that Dimension Data have another option in Boasson Hagen. According to the BBC, he said, ‘Monday in Bern is not an easy sprint, but it’s a sprint, and it’s Nelson Mandela Day, so it’s a big thing for the team.’

Stage 16, Tour de France 2016: Geraint Thomas’s view

Geraint Thomas, speaking to Peter Scrivener of the BBC, gave his view on each stage before the Tour began. This is what he said about Stage 16: ‘This is the last chance for the sprinters before we get to Paris because four days in the Alps follow. But there is an uphill cobbled section at the finish in Bern and if Peter Sagan goes for it – or Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara – they could open up a couple of seconds on the rest of the field.’

Who does he tip for the win? Fabian Cancellara.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash