A guide to the Tour de France
A guide to Stage 17 of the Tour de France 2016. Stage 17 of the 2016 Tour is 184.5km from Bern, via Wattenwil, Reutigen, Erlenbach-im-Simmental, Boltigen, Rougemont, Aigle, Saint-Maurice, Martigny, and Trient. There are two Category 3 climbs around the middle of the stage, the Côte de Saanenmöser and the Col des Mosses. The intermediate sprint is at Martigny, after 150km. The climax of the day comes with the Category 1 Col de la Forclaz and the hors catégorie climb to the finish at the Barrage d'Emosson. Read about Stage 17 of the Tour de France 2016 here.
Christian Prudhomme says of Stage 17, 'From north to south, it'll be a day of discovery, and 100% Swiss, with a spectacular finish situated at the Emosson dam. There will be opportunities to seize, on the 13km climb to the summit of the Col de la Forclaz, and then on the 10km ride up to the finish at the Emosson dam.'
Read the Stage 17 race report.
|Sprints||Martigny (after 150km)|
Côte de Saanenmöser (Category 3)
Col des Mosses (Category 3)
Col de la Forclaz (Category 1)
Emosson (hors catégorie)
There's an official map of Stage 17, Tour de France 2016.
This is the official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 17:
Stage 17 profile, © A.S.O. Tour de France organisers
These are some of the Stage 17 timings (based on the medium estimated speed of 36kmh):
|Départ fictif in Bern||1200|
|72.5||Côte de Saanenmöser (Category 3)||1408|
|105||Col des Mosses (Category 3)||1503|
|166.5||Col de la Forclaz (Category 1)||1645|
|184.5||Finhaut-Emosson (hors catégorie)||1721|
See the full timings for Stage 17 on the Tour de France website, based on average speeds of 38, 36, and 34kmh.
Stage 17 starts in the same place as Stage 16 finished - at the Stade de Suisse/Bern Expo, in the Wankdorf area of Bern. The départ fictif is at 12 noon.
There are details of the route out of Bern on this Stage 17 timings sheet. The riders roll out along Papiermühlestrasse, Aargauerstalden, Nydeggbrücke, Nydeggasse, Gerechtigkeitsgasse, Kramgasse, Hotelgasse, Casinoplatz, Amthausgasse, Bundesplatz, Bundesgasse, Schwanengasse, Sulgeneckstrasse, Sandrainstrasse, and Seftigenstrasse.
This means that initially they retrace their steps from the day before, going back down to the Aare river and the Bärengraben (where Bern's bears are kept). They then cross the Nydegg bridge, to go into the old town (Altstadt), where they pass by the Zytglogge and the Swiss Federal Building (or Parliament), before turning south to head out of the city.
The départ réel is on Seftigenstrasse, 7.5km from the ceremonial start, at 1215.
This map shows the first part of the route on Stage 17:
Leaving Bern, Stage 17 heads south alongside the Gürbe river, and parallel to the Aare river. It passes through Kehrsatz, Belp (which is home to Bern's airport), Toffen, Lohnstorf, Wattenwil, Blumenstein, and Pohlern. It reaches Reutigen, which is close to Spiez and a lake called the Thunersee. This map shows the section of the route through Lohnstorf:
Shortly after Reutigen, the race goes right on R11, following the course of the Simme river up the Simmental. It goes through Erlenbach-im-Simmental (which has a cable car up to the Stockhorn), Oberwil-im-Simmental, Boltigen, Reidenbach, and Weissenbach, to Zweisimmen.
This map shows the route in the Simmental:
In Zweisimmen, the race route forks right, still on the R11/Saanenstrasse, which runs alongside the Kleine Simme river, and the Montreux-Oberland Bernois railway, to Saanenmöser. A short way beyond Saanenmöser, it reaches 1,278m, and this is the top of the Côte de Saanenmöser.
The altitude at the bottom of the climb is about 960m; the climb is over a distance of 6.6km. This gives a height gain of 318m, and an average gradient of 4.8%.
This map shows the climb of the Côte de Saanenmöser (and the route after that):
Beyond the top of the climb the road descends to Schönried. Zweisimmen, Saanenmöser, and Schönried are all villages linked by lifts to the Gstaad ski area. The route continues down to Saanen (which has an airport; the Saanen goat is white or cream-coloured, and is a popular dairy breed).
The race follows the R11 along the Saane (or Sarine, in French) river to Rougemont. (The name Rougemont betrays the fact that the Tour de France is now in French-speaking Switzerland. It's name comes from the reddish outcrops of rock north of the village. Diana Spencer lived here in the late 1970s. There's a cable car from Rougemont up to la Videmanette, which is part of the Gstaad-Eggli ski area.)
In Château d'Oex, the riders cross the Sarine river, and follow the R10/route des Mosses. The road begins to climb towards the Col des Mosses.
This map shows the next section of the route, to the Col des Mosses and beyond:
The official climb begins 8.5km after Château-d'Oex, at l'Etivaz (about 1160m). The distance is 6.4km, and the climb finishes at the Col des Mosses (1445m). This means a height gain of 285m, and an average gradient of 4.4%.
There are ski lifts at the Col des Mosses, which is overlooked by mountains including le Gros Van and le Pic Chaussy.
From the Col des Mosses (1445m), there's a long (18km) descent to Aigle (434m), in the wide Rhône valley floor. (The UCI is based in Aigle).
There's now a flat section from Aigle to Bex and Saint-Maurice. This map shows the next section of the route:
(There are salt mines in Bex, and salt has been produced here since the 1500s. Saint-Maurice is on the site of a Roman outpost or customs post, which was called Agaunum; the Medieval Abbaye Saint-Maurice is now a school; the other main sight is Saint-Maurice castle.)
Beyond Saint-Maurice, the race reaches the historic town of Martigny, the location of the day's intermediate sprint.
Profile of Stage 17 intermediate sprint, © A.S.O. Tour de France organisers
Martigny marks the end of the flat part of the stage. The final two climbs now begin. The road winds up and out of Martigny through vineyards.
The route at the end of Stage 17 is the same as Stage 7 of the Criterium du Dauphiné 2014, where Alberto Contador took 20s from Chris Froome, with climbs of the Col de la Forclaz, and up to the Emosson dam.
This map shows the route from Martigny to
the finish at the
This profile shows the two climbs which the riders have to tackle to finish the stage:
Profile of final two climbs on Stage 17, © A.S.O. Tour de France organisers
On the climb of the Col de la Forclaz, soon after leaving Martigny, the riders pass the Tour de la Bâtiaz.
They continue up the road, with the Mont de l'Arpille to their right, on a fairly even gradient, to an altitude of 1,527m. The altitude at the bottom is 504m, which means a height gain of 1,023m. The climb is over a distance of 13km, giving an average gradient of 7.9%.
From the Col de la Forclaz, the road descends past the village of Trient. Just short of the village of le Châtelard, there's a sharp right turn towards Finhaut, and the final climb to the Emosson dam begins.
This map shows the route from the Col de la Forclaz to the finish at the Emosson dam:
The altitude at the bottom of the final climb is 1,083m, and at the top, it is 1,960m, giving a height gain of 877m, over a distance of 10.4km. That means an average gradient of 8.4%. The climb profile shows that the steepest part is near the top.
What will happen on Stage 17? This stage has been designed as a GC challenge, to test the best riders in the 2016 Tour, and to kick off the Alpine section of this year's edition of the race in style. Will Froome defend or extend his lead? Will Quintana attack and break him? Could another of the top riders, like Adam Yates, Richie Porte, Dan Martin, or Bauke Mollema, mount their own challenge for the yellow jersey? It should be an exciting stage.
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 17: 'This is the first of a super-hard four-day block, and a big effort is needed at the end of a tough stage. A lot can change over these four days, and even if a rider is a couple of minutes adrift, he can bring it back if the guy in the yellow jersey has a bad day and cracks.'
Who does he tip for the win? Nairo Quintana.
Stage 18 of the 2016 Tour de France is a 17km individual mountain time trial from Sallanches to Megève. Short but difficult, it is expected to help decide the outcome of the 2016 Tour. Froome and Quintana, and maybe others, will be battling for yellow. Read about Stage 18, Tour de France 2016.
Bern is a city of 141,107 people in the Bernese Mittelland, and is Switzerland's capital, or 'federal city'. It's the fourth biggest city in Switzerland. Bernese German is the most-spoken language here.
According to the local legend, the city was named after a bear, which was the first animal Duke Berchtold V came across on a hunt. Bears are kept in the Bärengraben, but they also have a more natural enclosure to move around in, the Bärenpark.
Bern may have been founded by the Duke in 1191. It was one of the first cantons to join the Swiss confederation (1353), and it became the federal city in 1848.
The Swiss Parliament meets in the Federal Palace of Switzerland. Albert Einstein worked in the Parliament's patent office. Other sights include the Zytglogge, a Medieval clock tower, the C15th Gothic Münster, and the C15th town hall.
Aigle is a town of 9,599 people.
It developed due to its position on the road to the Great Saint Bernard pass. The castle dates from 1489, when Aigle belonged to Bern.
The UCI is based in Aigle.
Martigny is a town of 15,000 people, at an Alpine crossroads, with France to the west, over the Col de la Forclaz, and Italy to the south, over the Great Saint-Bernard pass.
Because of its strategic location, it was important to the Romans, who occupied it from 57BC. Roman baths, and a Roman amphitheatre, still remain. There is cow fighting in the amphitheatre.
In the Middle Ages, the town adopted Saint-Martin of Tours as its patron saint, and that's how it became known as Martigny.
There are three dams of the Barberine river altogether. The first was built 1920-1925 to provide electricity to run trains. The second was finished in 1955, and controls the flow of water into the lake. The Emosson dam (Barrage d'Emosson) was built from 1967-1973, to provide electricity at 50Hz. It flooded the plateau d'Emosson, and created the Lac d'Emosson.
Stage 7 of the Critérium du Dauphiné 2014 finished at the Emosson dam, with the stage won by Lieuwe Westra.
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