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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

2016 Tour de France route presented

No team time trial, one 37 km individual time trial (stage 13) and a 17 km timed individual hill climb (stage 18). Total distance of 3,519 kilometers.

The Tour organization has released the profiles of seven of the stages, and I've got them and all the info below on the 2016 Tour de France page.

We've got tons on Tour de France historical information posted, including results for every edition starting with the first edition in 1903. You can start exploring the Tour here.

TDF2016 map

Official 2016 Tour de France map

The route: Running from Saturday July 2nd to Sunday July 24th, 2016, the 103th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,519 kilometers.

Distinctive aspects of the race

BORDERS: The 103rd Tour de France will visit three neighboring countries: Spain, the Principality of Andorra, and Switzerland.

TIME-TRIALS: Individual time-trials return in style to the 2016 Tour de France with a total of 54 kilometres divided into two sequences: 37 between Bourg-Saint-Andéol (stage 13) and La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc and 17 between Sallanches and Megève (stage 18).

BONUSES: Back in 2015 after a seven-year absence, time bonuses will again be given at the finishes of normal stages. The bonuses will be of 10, 6 and 4 seconds for the first three of each stage.

POINTS: The green jersey will be rewarded to the leader of the points classifi cation. Points will be given at the fi nishes of each stage as well as at an intermediate sprint on every normal stage.
The polka dot jersey will be worn by the leader of best climbers classifi cation. Points will be given out at the top of mountains and hills and at the 4 mountain-top finishes (Andorre Arcalis, Mont Ventoux, Finhaut-Emosson and Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc).

The Stages:

1 On-line Saturday, July 2nd Mont-Saint-michel / Utah Beach Sainte-Marie-du-Mont 188 km
2 On-line Sunday, July 3rd Saint-Lô / Cherbourg-Octeville 182 km
3 On-line Monday, July 4th Granville / Angers 222 km
4 On-line Tuesday, July 5th Saumur / Limoges 232 km
5 Hilly Wednesday, July 6th Limoges / Le Lioran 216 km
6 On-line Thursday, July 7th Arpajon-sur-Cère / Montauban 187 km
7 Mountain Friday, July 8th L’Isle-Jourdain / Lac de Payolle 162 km
8 Mountain Saturday, July 9th Pau / Bagnères-de-Luchon 183 km
9 Mountain Sunday, July 10th Vielha Val d’Aran / Andorre Arcalis 184 km
- Rest day Monday, July 11th Andorre
10 Mountain Tuesday, July 12th Escaldes-Engordany / Revel 198 km
11 On-line Wednesday, July 13th Carcassonne / Montpellier 164 km
12 Mountain Thursday, July 14th Montpellier / Mont Ventoux 185 km
13 Individual time trial Friday, July 15th Bourg-Saint-Andéol / La Caverne du Pont-d'Arc 37 km
14 On-line Saturday, July 16th Montélimar / Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux 208 km
15 On-line Sunday, July 17th Bourg-en-Bresse / Culoz 159 km
16 On-line Monday, July 18th Moirans-en-Montagne / Berne 206 km
- Rest day Tuesday, July 19th Berne
17 Mountain Wednesday, July 20th Berne / Finhaut-Emosson 184 km
18 Individual time trial Thursday, July 21st Sallanches / Megève 17 km
19 Mountain Friday, July 22nd Albertville / Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc 146 km
20 Mountain Saturday, July 23rd Megève / Morzine 146 km
21 On-line Sunday, July 24th Chantilly / Paris Champs-Élysées 113 km

Tour de France 2016: The mountains, in a variety of forms

The route of the Tour de France 2016, presented this morning in Paris before an audience of almost 4,000 people, gives the strong men of the mountains opportunities spread over 17 days! Chris Froome, present at the Palais des Congrès to discover the map, can already start thinking about his strategy to defend his title...

There are still ways of changing perspectives, of giving already-known territories a new look. The riders in the 2016 Tour de France will certainly recognise certain places, for which they have their bearings. However, they will need to put their certainties aside to get to grips with a route inspired by the theory of scattering: “The mountain stages have been spread out between the 5th and the 20th stages, from the Massif Central to the Alps via the Pyrenees and the Jura. I am willing to bet that, once again, the intermediate mountain ranges will not just provide us with indicators. They will make the selection,” says Christian Prudhomme. After a series of sprints starting at the foot of Mont-Saint-Michel, difficulties will begin to arise half-way through the first week in the form of a passage through the French Department of Cantal and a finish in Le Lioran ski resort, where the favourites will have already had to play their hands. The Pyrenees stages won't let the big guns of the Tour let up either as they will have to step up a gear up on the Andorran stage of Arcalis. The peloton will certainly deserve a day's rest after such an effort.

A bit further down the road, the Alps stages will be preceded by an assault on Mont Ventoux on July 14th, a demanding time-trial stage in the Ardèche at Caverne de Pont d'Arc and high-percentage twisty sections around the Grand Colombier on the stage to Culoz. The final programme will take place with the dazzling and majestic Mont Blanc as a backdrop, especially because the mountain specialists will be tested to the limit. This will be the case on brutal mountain climbs like the one that leads to Finhaut-Emosson to complete the visit of Le Tour to Switzerland, or on a very unusual time-trial stage in the mountains between Sallanches and Megève. The acrobats will also be judged on their descending talents, which could make a difference up to the dive down to Morzine just 24 hours before the finish in Paris. Opportunities are almost everywhere, wherever the riders are willing to grab them...

Rider views of the 2016 Tour course

2013 and 2015 Tour winner Chris Froome had this to say: "I think it's a great course. It really challenges every aspect of cycling - time trials, mountains, a technical descent," the Team Sky rider said. "It's such an amazing, special race, I'm still 30 years old and feel I have a lot left in my legs.

[The 2016 course] suits me better," he added, in reference to the two time trials that total 33.5 miles, a big increase on the one short individual time trial that featured in this year's race. I think the beautiful thing about the Tour de France is that it's not specifically about one stage - I think it's going to take a complete cyclist - but the stage that certainly stands out for me is Mont Ventoux," said Froome. "I know how difficult this climb is and how much time can be won or lost on that climb."

Five-time tour winner Bernard Hinault: Roughly translated, "This will be a very open Tour where the danger is constant. This will be true from the earliest stages at the Channel, especially if it is windy, as can be expected."

French hope Romain Bardet (6th 2014, 9th 2015): "I'm pretty excited. It's a beautiful course with continuous difficulties."

When asked if he liked the stage 13 hill-climb, "Of course....It will pit the climbers [against each other]. But the first [stage 13, 37 km time trial] is complicated, on the roads of Ardèche, which I know well."

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary