Preview: 2016 Tour de France Stages 1-7Fri 1 Jul 2016
The 2016 Tour de France will cover 3,535 kilometres over 21 stages, here is the ORICA-BikeExchange guide to the first seven.
Saturday 2nd July Stage 1: Mont-Saint-Michel to Utah Beach, 188km.
The first stage is predominantly flat and will be one for the sprinters, covering 188kilometres around the Normandy region of northeastern France. The race finish is by the celebrated Utah Beach where the allied forces landed during World War Two and provides a historically significant setting to the start of this year’s race.
Sunday 3rd July Stage 2: Saint –Lo to Cherbourg –Octeville, 183km.
Moving along the Normandy coastline stage 2 includes three category four climbs in the first hundred kilometres before a category three climb just before the finish. It will be an interesting stage with the undulating parcours it could be a day for the breakaway or the more versatile sprinters.
Monday 4th July Stage 3: Granville to Angers, 223.5km.
Stage 3 is the second clear day for the sprinters, a long route heading inland from the coast towards the Loire valley the stage is lumpy at the outset before rolling roads lead to a flat finish.
Tuesday 5th July Stage 4: Saumur to Limoges, 237.5km.
The second of two back to back long and relatively flat stages. In contrast to stage 3 the undulations come in the final half of the stage. A long and scenic route through the Loire valley vineyards into the Haut-Vienne department of west central France. The finish in Limoges drags up a gradual incline to the line, but it should still be a day for the sprinters.
Wednesday 6th July Stage 5: Limoges to Lioran, 2216km.
Stage 5 is the first test for the climbers and the overall contenders. A medium mountain stage that includes two-second category climbs in the last 30kilometres, the Col du Perthus and Le Lioran. Possibly a day for the breakaway but count on the general classification teams keeping a close eye on proceedings.
Thursday 7th July Stage 6: Arpajon-sur-Cere to Montauban, 190.5km.
The start of stage 6 is full of undulating technical terrain as the race heads south before a pan flat final 40kilometres leads to the finish in Montauban. Should be another day for the sprinters and the last one of the first week. A classic long ‘transition' stage before the race hits the mountains.
Friday 8th July Stage 7: L’Isle Jourdain to Lac de Payolle, 162.5km.
The first of three climbing days in the Pyrenees. The initial 100kilometres is peppered with short sharp climbs leading towards the first category Col de l’Aspin followed by a fast and technical descent to the finish. Possibily a stage for the breakaway or the opportunist but definitely a day for the climbers.