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Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: le Puy-en-Velay to Romans-sur-Isère

A guide to Stage 16 of the Tour de France 2017, which is 165km from le Puy-en-Velay to Romans-sur-Isère. The route takes the riders through the hilly country of the Ardèche to the Rhône valley (which is flat but often windy). The stage winner could come from a breakaway, or it might come down to a bunch sprint in Romans. Read about Stage 16 of the Tour de France 2017 here.

Perfect day for Michael Matthews on Stage 16

18th July 2017

Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews, Orica-BikeExchange, in the 2014 Giro d'Italia, by PaoNu, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Michael Matthews and Team Sunweb had a perfect day. They distanced Kittel on the early hills, and Matthews took the intermediate sprint. As the wind split the peloton in the Rhône valley, Sunweb kept Matthews at the front, and he won the sprint for the stage victory - ahead of a fast-finishing Edvald Boasson Hagen, and an annoyed John Degenkolb. Dan Martin was caught out in the echelons which formed when the wind blew, and he lost just less than a minute.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: facts, figures, and map

Stage 16 of the Tour de France 2017 starts in le Puy-en-Velay, the picturesque town where Stage 15 finishes, and where the teams will have a rest day on Monday 17th July, before tackling this stage on Tuesday 18th. It finishes in Romans-sur-Isère, which was also featured in the 2016 Tour de France route, on Stage 14.

Stage classification Hilly
Distance 165km
Intermediate sprint Chantemerle-les-Blés
Climbs Côte de Boussoulet (Category 3)
Col du Rouvey (Category 4)

This is the official map of Stage 16.

The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 16:

Profile of Stage 16, Tour de France 2017

Profile of Stage 16, Tour de France 2017, © ASO/Tour de France

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: timings

Stage 16 takes place on Tuesday 18th July 2017, after the second rest day (Monday 17th July).

The publicity caravan leaves le Puy-en-Velay at 11h30, and arrives at the finish in Romans-sur-Isère at 15h30. The riders roll out at 13h30, and roll in between 17h10 and 17h30.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: the route

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: the start in le Puy-en-Velay

Le Puy-en-Velay

Le Puy-en-Velay, by Georges Perret, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

The stage starts in le Puy-en-Velay, in the Haute Loire département. According to L'Eveil de la Haute Loire, the start is in the same place as the finish of Stage 15, on the boulevard du Breuil. The riders will leave le Puy-en-Velay in the direction of Brives-Charensac, on the river Loire, and continue east from there.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: le Puy-en-Velay to the Ardèche

Le Chambon-sur-Lignon

Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, town hall

The route is east, on the D15 to Saint-Julien-Chapteuil, then up the Côte de Boussoulet (Category 3 climb - 4.5km at an average 6.3%). It then forks left to le Chambon-sur-Lignon. Soon thereafter, the riders will leave the Haute Loire département, and enter the Ardèche.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: in the Ardèche

Lalouvesc

Lalouvesc, by Zimpalaa, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The route in the Ardèche takes the race to Devesset, Saint-André-en-Vivarais, Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid (actually back in the Haute Loire), and over the Col du Rouvey (Category 4 climb - 2.8km at an average 5.6%). It continues to Lalouvesc, Saint-Félicien, and Saint-Victor, then descends to the river Rhône at Tournon-sur-Rhône.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: in the Drôme

Tain-l'Hermitage

Tain-l'Hermitage, by Allison Meier, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The riders cross the river Rhône at Tournon, to Tain-l'Hermitage (known for chocolate and wine) on the other side. They do a loop which takes in Chantemerle-les-Blés, where the intermediate sprint takes place. 

Profile intermediate sprint Stage 16, TDF 2017, Chantemerle

Profile intermediate sprint Stage 16, TDF 2017, Chantemerle, © ASO/Tour de France

The peloton passes by Saint-Donat-sur-l'Herbasse, before heading further south and crossing the river Isère to Châteauneuf-sur-Isère, and continuing to Alixan.

That just leaves a run north from Alixan to Bourg-de-Péage and Romans-sur-Isère.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: the finish in Romans-sur-Isère

Pont Vieux, Romans-sur-Isère

Pont Vieux, Romans-sur-Isère, by Toutaitanous, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Stage 16 finishes in Romans-sur-Isère. The riders will be coming from Alixan, to the south, and arriving at Bourg-de-Péage on the D538. They'll join the N2532 through Bourg, which then becomes the N2092, and crosses the river Isère on the pont de Lattre de Tassigny. On the other side of the river, the route continues on the N2092, before taking a sharp left onto the D532 avenue Gambetta, and finishing at place Jean Jaurès, at the junction with rue de la République.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: favourites for the stage win

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen, by Jeremy-Gunther-Heinz-Jahnick, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

There'll be a breakaway on Stage 16, almost certainly. The only question is whether the race all comes back together before the finish. Two factors could come into play: it's the day after a rest day, so everyone will be fresh, including the domestiques working for the best sprinters; and it's the last chance for the sprinters before the Alps, so they won't want to miss out.

Perhaps Stage 16 could see one of the younger talents take the win: why not Dylan Groenewegen?

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: comments

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Stage 17, Tour de France 2017

Col du Galibier

Col du Galibier, by Robbie Shade, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 17 of the Tour de France 2017 is 183km from la Mure to Serre-Chevalier. 

Read about Stage 17, Tour de France 2017.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: towns, sights and attractions

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: le Puy-en-Velay

Le Puy-en-Velay

Le Puy-en-Velay, by Peter Stevens, Licence CC BY 2.0

Le Puy-en-Velay is a town on the river Loire, in the Haute-Loire département.

It is well-known for its Cathedral, Notre-Dame du Puy. The Cathedral was one of the starting points for the pilgrimmage to Santiago de Compostella, and Charlemagne came twice, in 772 and 800.

Statue of the Virgin Mary, le Puy-en-Velay

Statue of the Virgin Mary, le Puy-en-Velay, by François Rey, Licence CC BY 2.0

The Cathedral is overlooked by an iron statue of the Virgin Mary, which was made from 213 Russian cannons taken in the Siege of Sevastopol (!854-55), and presented to the town in 1860; and by the chapel of Saint-Michel-d'Aiguilhe.

Chapel of Saint-Michel-d'Aiguilhe, le Puy-en-Velay

Chapel of Saint-Michel-d'Aiguilhe, le Puy-en-Velay, by Tom Maisey, Licence CC BY 2.0

Le Puy-en-Velay is twinned with Tonbridge, United Kingdom.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: le Chambon-sur-Lignon

Le Chambon-sur-Lignon

Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, town hall

Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is known for the role it played in saving Jews from the Nazis during the Second World War. The local people hid Jews in the town, and helped them to flee to Switzerland.

It was church minister André Trocmé who played a leading role, with his deputy pastor Edouard Theis. They and the townspeople hid the Jews from the Vichy régime, and from the Nazis after 1942. When there were patrols, the Jews would hide in the countryside and the forests, then when the patrols had gone, the locals would go out and sing a song, to let them know it was safe to come home.

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: the Ardèche

Balazuc, Ardèche

Balazuc - Ardèche - France, by Armin S Kowalski, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The Ardèche is a small part of the Massif Central, on its south eastern fringe. It's a département of France, which is popular with Dutch and Germans visitors to the local camping and caravan sites.

These are some extracts of a book about the Ardèche and its inhabitants, by E M de Vogué in 1892:

'The Issarles lake, the pont d'Arc, the St Marcel caves! How I longed to see those places. They looked so beautiful in the pictures of the books, which I read in the evening under the light of my bedside lamp. They became even more wonderful in my mind, when my imagination had worked on them, and they inspired dreams once I had fallen asleep.

I never realised those dreams: transport was difficult, in those days, between the High and the Low Ardèche; mountains separated us from the south, they distanced the promised lands of the books - they made them almost as impossibly far away as Syria and Egypt, the lands which I read about in my bible. I travelled to other more famous places, but all the sights I saw on my travels could never erase the old images, which were burned upon my memory, and remained as clear as the dawn. They worked away in my subconscious. But never did occasion or leisure permit me to go and test my images against reality.

Finally, last summer, I decided to go and take the waters at Vals les Bains, not without feeling a little secret anguish lest I be disillusioned.

I came back this year, and I have seen and re-seen all the places described in the books I read as a child. Well! Having seen he real version, I can say that neither the words nor the illustrations, nor the dreams of my child's mind, had exaggerated. There are more majestic regions of our France; there are none, so far as I know, more original, with more contrasts, where one can, as one can here, pass in a few hours from Alpine landscapes to Italian landscapes; there are none where the history of the land and its people is written on the earth so clearly, so vividly. And, I would add, there are no regions which are more ignored, where one has the pleasure of original discoveries.

Over recent years, the railways have begun to eat into the lower valleys which run down to the Rhône; the labyrinth of valleys higher up is still resisting. Here, one never sees an Englishman, and the Parisian is a rare beast.

This little country is so little known that it will not be a waste to describe its exact situation. Between the industrial basin of the Loire, to the north, and the Gard plains of the Midi, to the south, this packet of volcanic mountains stands opposite the Dauphiné; its abrupt slopes hurtle down from the ridges of the Cévennes to the bed of the river Rhône. Placed at the northern horn of the Languedoc, like a bastion which defended the kingdoms of the Midi against the people of the north, the Ardèche is a frontier land, between two landscapes, disputed between two races of men.'

Stage 16, Tour de France 2017: Romans-sur-Isère

Pont Vieux, Romans-sur-Isère

Pont Vieux, Romans-sur-Isère, by Toutaitanous, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Romans-sur-Isère is a town of 33,632 people on the right bank of the river Isère, opposite Bourg-de-Péage.

The town developed near a ford of the Isère used by the Romans. There may well have been a Roman villa here, but there was no major Roman settlement. The name of the town may come from the name of the first parish: Saint-Romain.

Romans-sur-Isère, church of Saint-Barnard

Collegiate church of Saint-Barnard, Romans-sur-Isère, by Mbcmf217, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Romans-sur-Isère was founded as an Abbey in 838 by Barnard, Archbishop of the Vienne. In the C11th, the monks were replaced by canons of a collegiate church. Around the Saint-Barnard collegiate church, craftsmen and merchants set up a trade in cloth, which was significant for seven centuries.

The first bridge was built in the mid-C11th, and a toll brought money into the towns of Romans and Bourg.

The canons governed the town until 1280, when there was a revolt against them. Romans-sur-Isère became part of the Dauphiné in 1342; in 1349, the Dauphiné became part of France, under the Treaty of Romains, signed here.

Shoe at Romans-sur-Isère

Romans-sur-Isère, shoe, by Direction Centre Ville, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Romans-sur-Isère is known for manufacturing shoes - an industry which developed after 1850. Shoe manufacture flourished until the 1970s, when global competition forced a decline. Quality or luxury shoes are still produced, in smaller volumes. New industries have developed, including a company that sells nuclear fuel.

Romans-sur-Isère is also associated with ravioli - raviole du Dauphiné - pasta stuffed with cheese and parsley.

Coalville in Leicestershire (UK) is twinned with Romans.

Tour Jacquemart, Romans-sur-Isère

Tour Jacquemart, Romans-sur-Isère, by Direction Centre Ville, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Le Puy-en-VelayTain-l'HermitageRomans-sur-Isère

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