The route for the 2016 Tour de France was released yesterday to a full house in Paris and it has made some significant changes to recent years. With no cobbles included, the 2016 Tour de France will allow world class sprinters such as Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan, Andre Griepel and Marcel Kittel to wear the coveted yellow jersey in the first few stages.
Starting in the ancient castle settled on its own island, Most Saint-Michel is one of the wonders of the world. Tony Martin (then World Champion) raced to a yellow jersey in 2013 Tour de France and 2016 may be a repeat of history. The stage takes a flat route towards Utah Beach, the location of one of World War II’s most important allied landings.
The region of La Manche will play host to the Grand Depart and opening three stages with flat, scenic rides along the coast line and through historical landmarks. Stage 3 will see the tour head south east through the Loire valley on what would usually be flat, long stages. However 2016 has thrown a tribute to PouPou (Raymond Poulidor) with almost 1000m of climbing giving the GC contenders a chance to make time on their rivals.
Only 7 stages in the peloton will reach the Pyrenees and the 2016 Tour de France will not disappoint with Col d’Aspin, Tourmalet, Col de Val-Louran-Azet, Col de la Comella and Peyresoude all in three stages before their first rest day in Andorra. Key teams of FDJ, BMC, Tinkoff, Sky and Movistar will all be looking closely at these key stages to find the best possible opportunity to attack! The Pyrenees will be very exciting in 2016!
After a rest, the peloton will take on the monster climb of Port d’Envalira, 35km and almost 1800m of climbing, this will test even the strongest in Alberto Contador, Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana. Will the peloton hold back on Stage 10 and 11 before tackling Ventoux on stage 12? Coming in from Bedoin, the climb of 21.5km at an average gradient of 7.5% is tough and with a mountain top finish, this could be the opportunity for one of the favourites to make their move and etch their name in history.
The A.S.O. has introduced two Individual Time Trial totalling 54km with the first taking place on Stage 13 between Bourg-Saint-Andéol and La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc. The second will take place on Stage 17 in the Alps from Sallanches to Megeve. Alberto Contador has shown interest in the two, short and hilly time trials as an opportunity for him to take another yellow jersey in 2016.
As the tour makes its way north to the Alps, a surprise move by the A.S.O. sees the peloton visit the birthplace of one of modern cycling’s favourite sons, Fabian Cancellara. Can Fabian stay upright long enough in 2016 to take a sprint finish in Bern before the second rest day?
The tour will then head south and back into the French Alps where four tough stages will be key for the 2016 contenders. Entirely in Switzerland, Stage 17 sees a finish on the 10km, 8% Finhaut-Emosson which was won by Lieuwe Westra in the 2014 Critérium du Dauphiné. Stage 18’s short time trial will then set up for two amazing days of racing in the Alps where the peloton will take on France’s most famous mountain, Mont Blanc, as well as Col de la Ramaz, and then Joux Plane before a 12km downhill finish where the tour could be decided by the fearless skills of the best cyclists in the world.
As the Official Tour Operator for the 2016 Tour de France, Mummu Cycling has been working closely with the A.S.O. to design a range of Tour de France Tours that will get you closer than ever before to experience what is sure to be an exciting tour.
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By Marcel Berger