NB: We’ll be using coach transfers – the pros use planes!
The route is divided into Tour Tasters ranging from 2 to 21 stages.
Please scroll down to find lead cyclist Phil Deeker’s Analysis of the 2016 Tour and Stage Profiles
Phil’s 2016 Route Analysis
- Normandy and the Grand Depart will be STUNNING. They’re quite coastal stages so lets hope it’s not too windy. France is showing off it’s northern coast line here and the helicopters will have a field day – We’ll also have a chance to reflect on the D-day landings with plenty of sites and villages that have huge historical significance. Relevant for Lifers, TT1 and TT2.
- Oh my gosh, stages 4 and 5 are LONG! Relevant to Lifers, TT2, and TT3. This is a very punchy first week but a spectacular part of France to cycle through and in the blink of an eye you’ve crossed the Loire Valley and moved on speedily to…
- Stage 5. I can’t stop talking about stage 5 and the Puy Mary climb! This is a bit of a shocker (in a good way) for week one and no doubt the pros have their own thoughts on how it’ll sort the men from the boys (or climbers from sprinters, or yellow jersey contenders from everyone else!). Relevant to Lifers, TT2, TT3 and TT4.
- The Pyrenees should have, by traditional rights, followed the Alps this year. Instead they come half way through the Tour but in a very full on, classic Pyrenean fashion. This is not watered-down mountain action. This is as tough as it gets and more than worthy of a final week, offering possibly the hardest back-to-back combo of mountain stages (8 & 9). Relevant to Lifers, TT2, TT4 and TT5.
- After the Vuelta explored the testing climbs in Andorra this year, it’s the Tours’ turn: surely Team Sky are already plannning their first decisive move on stage 8?! Relevant to Lifers, TT2, TT4 and TT5.
- The inclusion of Andorra and a Spanish stage start is indicative of the route innovation this year which sees 16 new start or finish towns. There is real and new interest in this route both in terms of the challenge being presented and also the show of the lesser-visited areas for cycling. We’re expecting the 2016 stages to offer some seriously good roads for cycling. Relevant to Lifers, TT5 and TT6.
- Coming out of the Pyrenees there are some truly beautiful stages. Provence has been given a day to shine but actually what comes before and what follows may offer scenery discoveries that more than match the fun of tackling the big name Ventoux on stage 12. These are strategic stages placed between the mountains (Puy Mary, Mont Ventoux, Grand Colombier). Relevant to Lifers, TT5, TT6 and TT7.
- Sarah: “Long live the time trial!”. We get 2 of them delightfully placed between rest days in the second half of the tour and providing much needed free time and sleep time. Selfishly, we’re very happy about the time trials! Both TT’s are technical (one being effectively a hill-climb) and both are in spectacular settings. Lifers, TT5, TT7 and TT8.
- Across both the Pyrenees and the Alps there are some interesting new climbs and some of the ‘classics’ get an exciting shake-up (Mont de Bisanne ascension of the Saisies, the new side of the Hourquette, the double ascension of the Grand Colombier). Lifers, TT5, TT6, TT7, TT8 and TT9.
- The Alps look great! The slightly shorter stages (145km vs 185km in the Pyrenees) mean that for us, despite the accumulated climbing, we’ll be able to offer a spectacular mountain Tour Taster.Lifers, TT7, TT8 and TT9
- I’d like to stress again how many clever little additions there are in the route: too numerous to name here but from small towns to war memorials to bird sanctuaries and foreign visits, this is a Tour route which is the opposite of boring.
We will load the profiles as and when they become available.