The Tour innovates and challenges! The Tour 2016 is an atypical edition with lots of new starts, finishes and climbs and trips to Andorra, Spain and Switzerland. The start location near the “Mont”-Saint-Michel sets the tone for this Tour; climbing it will be. In total, no less than 28 climbs are on the menu, spread across nine mountain stages. There are four stage finishes on top and, in between, two solid time-trials with a lot of climbing. Thus, the Tour 2016 will be a real war of attrition.
Like last year, the Pyrenees come before the Alps. Normally, the sequence is switched to the year. Reason? The European Football Championship which will be held in France in 2016 which calls for a "calmer" run through the Pyrenees? Or the passage through the Mont Ventoux on quatorze Juillet which is easier to combine with a shorter passage through the Pyrenees? Or maybe it were the Swiss connections that determined the (anti-)clock of the Tour? Who knows? In any case, there is a lot of climbing fun, including in the Jura and Massif Central.
Already in the fifth stage, it gets serious with an arrival on top of Le Lioran in the Massif Central. Next, we reach the Pyrenees with an arrival at the Lac de Payolle after climbing the Col d'Aspin. After a classic climb stage from Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon over inter alia the Tourmalet, Peyresourde and Hourquette d'Ancizan, it goes further uphill towards Andorra. Through a fun, new passage in Spain where we cross, amongst others, the Puerto de Bonaigua, known from the Vuelta, we will arrive on top of Arcalis. Via Carcassonne and Montpellier we drive to the famous Mont Ventoux for a rousing finale on July 14.
Next, there is a time trial in the Ardèche before we continue north towards Jura, with a double ascent of the Col du Grand Colombier. In stage 16, the Tour crosses the Swiss to arrive in Bern, before attacking the Alps near the border between France and Switzerland. Below the lake of Geneva, in the view of Mont Blanc, three tough mountain stages await us. First, the Col de la Forclaz is climbed to arrive at the difficult Finhaut-Emosson. In the short time trial between Megeve and Salanches, there’s climbing and descending. Between Albertville and the arrival above Saint-Gervais near the Mont Blanc, again, the Forclaz is on the program. In the last mountain stage, the Joux-Plane is the last difficulty before arriving in Morzine.
In short, a surprising, original but very tough Tour 2016, with nice trips, numerous new climbs and of course, the Mont Ventoux. We are looking forward to it.