Tour de France 2016 – From Utrecht to Paris Champs-Élysées:
Well, after a very exciting Giro d’Italia we’ve got next, the biggest cycling race to look forward to — the Tour de France.
The 102nd Tour de France starts from Utrecht, a new stage city in the Netherlands, on Saturday July 4th and finishes in Paris on Sunday, July 26th, 2016. This year’s race is made up of 21 stages covering a distance of 3,360 kilometres. Starting from the Netherlands, the route take us through Belgium, before arriving in the north of France.
Race Stage Profiles
- 9 flat stages
- 3 hilly stages
- 7 mountain stages with 5 summit finishes
- 1 individual time-trial stage
- 1 team time trial
- 2 rest days
Particular Features of TDF 2016:
This year’s punishing features include:
- cobbled portions between Seraing and Cambrai. The peleton will think that they’re doing a mini Paris-Roubaix.
- two final climbs in the first week of racing, up the Mur de Huy and Cote de Mur de Bretagne
- a mountain top finish on the Alpe d’Huez on Stage 20 before finishing on the Champs-Elysees.
A Sightseeing Tour of France
For the many travellers (myself included) the Tour de France is a great opportunity to enjoy the sights of the different regions of France as we’ll probably never see them – from the vantage point of the FranceTV helicopter. The magnificent Tour coverage is rather like a travel show and although the peleton has gone through many of the French towns in the past, there are a few new stage towns such as Livarot, La Pierre-Saint-Martin, Muret and Sevres, home to the famous porcelain. Livarot and the Normandy region are famous for cheese and other foods so we’re really looking forward to Gabriel Gaté’s cookery segment.
The selection of the stage towns goes through a rigorous process. The town must be able to ensure that the peloton is able to arrive and depart under optimum conditions in terms of sporting entertainment and rider and public safety. There are lots of other practical considerations as well.
Who’s Your Favourite Team to Win?
Will Alberto Contador achieve a Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double this year? The motivation is certainly there to go out with a big bang but he has Nibali and a strong Astana team to contend with as well Chris Froome and Team Sky, not to mention all the other keen contenders.
Vive Le Tour!