A guide to the Tour de France
20th October 2015
The 2016 Tour de France route was announced today, shown on a map on the Tour de France website. Chris Froome said 'the route is one that suits me really well', according to Cycling News. William Fotheringham in the Guardian suggests that tackling the Pyrenees before the Alps will help Chris Froome.
There are 9 flat stages, 1 hilly stage, 9 mountain stages, and 2 individual time trials.
The Grand Départ (which was revealed in December 2014) was confirmed as taking place in the Manche department of northern France. The first stage on Saturday 2nd July 2016 is 188km from Mont St Michel to Utah Beach (Sainte Marie du Mont). Stage 2 is 182km from Saint Lô to Cherbourg. Crosswinds may play a part on these stages.
Stage 3 on Monday 4th July is from Granville to Angers, and is likely to finish in a bunch sprint. Stage 4 begins in the beautiful Loire valley town of Saumur, and the riders head south to Limoges, famous for its pottery. It's the longest stage of the race, at 232km, and a slightly uphill finish for the sprinters.
Stage 5 is the hilly stage, from Limoges to Le Lioran, a ski resort in the Auvergne. There are climbs, including the Col de Peyrol, and towards the finish in Le Lioran, but the finish is downhill. Stage 6 starts from Arpajon-sur-Cère, and heads to rugby country in the south west of France, finishing in Montauban, just north of Toulouse. It will have some hills at the start, but it's classified as flat, so should be one for a breakaway or, more likely, the sprinters.
There are three days in the Pyrenees before the first rest day: stage 7, L' Isle de Jourdain to Lac de Payolle, including the Col d' Aspin; stage 8, Pau to Bagnères de Luchon, a classic day in the Pyrenees, taking in the Col du Tourmalet, the Hourquette d' Ancizan, the Col de Val-Louron-Azet, and the Col de Peyresourde; and stage 9, Vielha Val d' Aran to Andorra Arcalis, which goes through Spain, and finishes in Andorra. The riders will have their first rest day in Andorra.
Stage 10, on Tuesday 12th July, is from Escaldes-Engordany, in Andorra, to Revel, and sees the riders tackle the last of the Pyreneen climbs, before finishing in Revel with a 6km uphill run to the line, expected to be one for the 'punchers'.
After the Pyrenees, there's a transition to the Alps involving several stages in the south of France. The first is Carcassonne to Montpellier on stage 11, broadly flat, and only 164km.
Stage 12, on Bastille Day, is Montpellier to Mont Ventoux, well-known to Tour de France fans. Froome has excelled here in the past.
Stage 13 is the first individual time trial, from Bourg St Andéol to La Caverne Pont d' Arc - 37km. This will be a showcase for one of France's tourist areas. Pont d' Arc is a spectacular natural bridge over the river Ardèche, at the head of the Ardèche gorges, and the Caverne is an exhibition related to the Grotte Chauvet, where prehistoric cave paintings to rival the Lascaux caves were found.
Stages 14, 15, and 16 see the riders heading towards the Alps via the Jura. They are: stage 14, Montélimar (famous for nougat) to Villars-les-Dombes, one for the sprinters; stage 15, Bourg en Bresse to Culoz, (incorrectly?) labelled flat on the Tour de France official website, including the Col du Grand Colombier (1531m) twice by two different routes, and with a downhill finish in Culoz; and stage 16, 206km from Moirans-en-Montagne to Berne in Switzerland, and billed as going through the valleys of the Jura. The second rest day will be in Berne.
Stage 17, on Wednesday 20th July 2016, is from Berne to Finhaut-Emosson, and is a mountain stage. The whole day is in Switzerland. After going through Martigny, famous for cow-fighting in the old Roman arena, it includes the 13km climb of the Col de la Forclaz (1527m) not far from the finish, and ends at the Barrage (dam) d' Emosson (1960m).
Stage 18 is a 17km ITT from Sallanches to Megève, and includes significant climbing.
Stage 19 is an Alpine stage from Albertville, host town of the 1992 winter Olympics, to Saint Gervais Mont Blanc. The riders will pass through Talloires, on Lake Annecy, then come back to Ugine via the Col de la Forclaz - not the same as the Swiss one on stage 17; they'll tackle the Mont Bisanne (1723m); Les Saisies gets a visit, as does Megève (again!), and the final climb will be of Le Bettex to St Gervais. There'll be views of Mont Blanc for a large part of the day.
The final Alpine day, stage 20, is Megève to Morzine. The first climb is of the Col des Aravis, then the race goes through Le Grand Bornand before the Col de la Colombière. The final two climbs of the 2016 edition of the Tour de France are the Col de la Ramaz and the Col de Joux Plane, before a descent into Morzine.
The final procession stage is 113km from Chantilly to Paris.
The 2016 Tour de France begins at Mont St Michel, in the Manche département of France.
Keep up with the latest news about the Tour de France 2016.
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