Tour de France Guide
|Stage 1 |||Stage 2 |||Stage 3 |||Stage 4 |||Stage 5 |||Stage 6 |||Stage 7 |||Stage 8 |||Stage 9 |||Rest day|
|Stage 10 |||Stage 11 |||Stage 12 |||Stage 13 |||Stage 14 |||Stage 15 |||Stage 16 |||Rest day|
|Stage 17 |||Stage 18 |||Stage 19 |||Stage 20 |||Stage 21|
Here’s the 2016 Tour de France guide. There’s a profile of every stage with a quick take on the day added. Use the links at the top of the page here to find your way around the stage previews, the start list and the other points.
In addition on the morning of every stage there will be a full preview.
A mix of terrain. The mountains dominate but at least eight pure sprint finishes. There are four summit finishes amid nine mountain stages and two time trials which are both hilly.
Stage 1 – Saturday 2 July
Two short climbs, roughly 1km at 5% each, offer an uphill sprint and a chance to take the polka-dot jersey before a flat coastal route and a likely sprint finish as the race commemorates the 1944 D-Day landings.
Stage 2 – Sunday 3 July
Another coastal stage and an uphill finish in two parts, 1.9km at 7% then a brief flat section before another 700m uphill to the line, we should see sprinters, classics contenders, puncheurs and some of the GC contenders in the mix.
Stage 3 – Monday 4 July
A long stage with little of tactical interest unless the wind gets up. The race passes through Renazé, home town of the Madiot family before a likely sprint finish in Angers, which is pronounced an-jay rather than the more angry version you had in mind.
Stage 4 – Tuesday 5 July
The longest stage of the race. There’s some hillier terrain later on, normally nothing to worry the sprinters but the finish is up a long drag, just long enough to rob momentum and mess up the timing of a lead train or two.
Stage 5 – Wednesday 6 July
Wednesday and the first mountain stage as the race heads into France’s slow beating rural heart, passing the home town of Raymond Poulidor before a day of lumpy roads that are other up or down . The finish is packed with some selective climbs, think Liège-Bastogne-Liège if it helps.
Stage 6 – Thursday 7 July
A scenic ride across the kind of terrain you’d like to cycle through with rolling roads, river gorges and, if summer gets a move on, sunflower fields. The early terrain suits the breakaway raiders but the flatter terrain and the few chances in the coming days are likely to make the sprint teams chase.
Stage 7 – Friday 8 July
The Col d’Aspin dominates the profile. At 12km at 6.5% it’s one of the more accessible climbs in the Pyrenees. It’s followed by a regular descent to the finish, a high pressure moment but the road is fine with just a few wide hairpin bends before a brief rise to the line.
Stage 8 – Saturday 9 July
The Pyrenees arranged in arpeggio, a day for the riders to scale four climbs before the descent off the Peyresourde to Bagnères-de-Luchon. This is classic Pyrenees with the best-hit Tourmalet and then some narrower, more irregular climbs and barely a metre of flat until the finish. The final descent off the Peyresourde sounds scary but it’s got a lot of long straight sections rather than anything too technical.
Stage 9 – Sunday 10 July
A macro stage into the microstate of Andorra on the way to the Arcalis summit finish all via Spain. The climb to La Comella and the Col de Beixalis are steep and awkward before the giant road to Arcalis, 10km at 7% which has been used twice before. Each time the winner’s career went downhill after, both Jan Ullrich (1997) and Brice Feillu (2009) looked to have a bright future, the German’s obviously more radiant, but neither managed to reach the same highs again.
Stage 10 – Tuesday 12 July
Back to France after a rest day and the race leaves the Pyrenees behind. It looks like a sprint stage, the climb at the end provides suspense and should root out any fatigued sprinters.
A start in Carcassone, the town famous for its walled ramparts which look like something out of a Disney set. The route is flat but watch out for the le vent d’Autan, the local wind that can blow in this area and which could split the race apart.
It’s all about the summit finish on Mont Ventoux, the legendary climb that is used sparingly, partly to protect the myth but mainly because the local authorities don’t need to pay for a finish every year to keep the place on the map and also because it’s so selective it risks entrenching the overall classification. It’s as hard as it is famous, a steep section though the forest for 10km at almost 10% and if the gradient eases for the next six kilometres the road is exposed to the wind which often howls at the top. If the wind doesn’t blow the crowds will roar on Bastille day.
Hours after an hour long summit finish comes the The first time trial stage and a difficult course to suit the GC contenders more than pure time trial specialists. The uphill start has 300m of vertical gain to begin with and the plateau section across the top is hard to manage before the fun descent into the Ardèche river gorge by the Pont d’Arc, a giant rocky arch made by the river and then an uphill drag to the finish line.
A long ride north up the Rhone valley before a likely sprint finish in Villars-les-Dombes which has hosted sprint finishes in the Dauphiné before.
A fun mid-mountain stage with the Grand Colombier which is climbed twice, sort of. The Col du Berthiand is generously listed as a first category climb before a course that is up and down with several long climbs that are not labelled above. It all leads to the Grand Colombier, the race first tackles the easier side before a long and sketchy descent and then a second climb, this time up the exposed southern flank of the Grand Colombier, steep and awkward with its corkscrew hairpins, before rejoining the risky descent and the run back to the finish line.
A start in the middle of the remote Jura mountains before the race crosses to the Swiss capital city for likely sprint and the second rest day.
A air of déjà vu with the final climb used in the 2014 Critérium du Dauphiné. Before that two solid climbs and a ride by the UCI HQ. The Col de la Forclaz is hard, 13km at a regular 7.9% before a brief descent and the 10km climb to the Emosson dam where the upper slopes are well over 10%.
Not quite a mountain time trial, in fact this is harder. A straight ride up a mountain would be more of a linear effort but the Domancy climb – 3km often at 10% – and later on a back road to Megève with 17% slopes is an awkward test with regularly changing gradients and twisting roads.
Don’t let the lack of famous climbs put you off, in fact this is the charm of this short mountain stage as it takes a series of steep, irregular climbs including the nasty Bisanne climb, sister to the Col des Saisies, 12.4km at 8.2% on a narrow road and closer to 10k% for the upper parts. But it’s still some distance from the finish. The final climb leads to a ski station only they use a short cut on the early slopes which no tour bus would dare, a narrow road with 13% sections. When it was first used in the 2015 Dauphiné Vincenzo Nibali cracked on this steep section while in the yellow jersey.
The final Alpine stage, just 146.5km meaning those valley sections are not as long as they look meaning it’s hard to get a chase going in between. The Aravis and Colombière are climbed from their easier sides before the long and awkward Col de la Ramaz, a high speed descent and then the race speeds to the final climb. A Hollywood script says the final climb and descent get to pick the overall winner. The last time it featured in a major race, the 2012 Dauphiné, Nairo Quintana dropped the Team Sky train to solo to the win in Morzine.
Ah Paris! As ever a bizarre event, a parade that mutates into a criterium. It begins in elegant Chantilly and once again the race will use the entire length of the Champs Elysées, circling the Jardin des Tuileries at one end and the Arc de Triomphe at the other for a full lap in the evening.
There are four jerseys in the race: yellow, green, polka dot and white.
Yellow: the most famous one, the maillot jaune, it is awarded to the rider with the shortest overall time for all the stages added together, the rider who has covered the course faster than anyone else. First awarded in 1919, it is yellow because the race was organised by the newspaper L’Auto which was printed on yellow paper. Today it is sponsored by LCL, a bank. There are time bonuses of 10-6-4 seconds for the finish of each stage except the time trials.
Green: the points jersey, which tends to reward the sprinters. Points are awarded at the finish line and at one intermediate point in the stage and the rider with the most points wears the jersey. It is sponsored by Skoda, a car company
- Flat stages / Coefficient 1: 50-30-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-7-6-5-4-3 and 2 points for the first 15 riders to finish
- Hilly finish-Medium mountain stages / Coefficient 2 and 3: 30-25-2219-17-15-13-11-9-7-6- 5-4-3-2 points for the first 15 riders to finish
- Mountain Stages / Coefficient 4 and 5: 20-17-1513-11- 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points for the first 15 riders to finish.
- Individual time trial stages / Coefficient 6 : 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-54-3-2-1 points to the first 15 riders to finish
- Intermediate sprints: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-87-6-5-4-3-2-1 points respectively for the first 15 riders
- For more on the stage coefficients, scroll down
Polka dot: also known as the “King of the Mountains” jersey, points are awarded at the top of categorised climbs and mountain passes, with these graded from the easier 4th category to the hors catégorie climbs which are so hard they are off the scale. In reality these gradings are subjective. Again the rider with the most points wears the jersey and the race celebrates the 40th anniversary of the jersey this year. It is sponsored by Carrefour, a supermarket.
- Hors Catégorie passes: 25-20-16-14-12-108-6-4-2 points respectively for first 10 riders to finish
- Category 1 climbs: 10-8-6-4-2-1 points
- Category 2: 5-3-2-1 points respectively
- Category 3: 2-1 points
- Category 4: 1 point
- Points are doubled for the final climb on a stage with a summit finish (Stages 9, 12, 17 and 19).
White: for the best young rider, this is awarded on the same basis as the yellow jersey, except the rider must be born after 1 January 1991, ie aged 25 or under. It is sponsored by Krys, a chain of opticians.
Obviously a rider can’t wear two jerseys at once, they’d get too hot. So if a rider leads several classifications, they take the most prestigious jersey for themselves and the number two ranked rider in the other competition gets to wear the other jersey. For example if a rider has both the yellow jersey and the mountains jersey they’ll wear yellow whilst whoever is second in the mountains jersey will sport the polka dot jersey. If a rider has all the jerseys the priority for the others is green, mountains then white.
There’s also a daily “most combative” prize awarded every day to the rider who has attacked the most or tried the hardest. It is a subjective prize and awarded by a jury and new for 2016 is that one vote on the jury will be via social media. The rider gets to stand on the podium after the stage and wear a red race number the next day. It is sponsored by Antargaz, a bottled gas company.
Stage Coefficients: as mentioned for the points jersey competition each stage is awarded a “coefficient” or rating which has an impact on the points available. These ratings are also used to determine the time cut for riders finishing within a percentage of the stage winner’s time.
The amount has been increased for 2016. Here are the new rates:
- Each day on a normal stage there’s €11,000 for the winner (previously €8,000), €5,500 for second place and a decreasing scale down to a modest €300 for 20th place.
- For the final overall classification in Paris, first place brings in €500,000 (previously €450,000) and the Sèvres porcelain “omnisports trophy”, awarded “in the name of the Presidency of the French Republic“.
- The full breakdown is €500,000 for first place, €200,000 for second place, €100,000 for third place and then €70,000, €50,000, €23,000, €11,500, €7,600, €4,500, €3,800, €3,000, €2,700, €2,500, €2,100, €2,000 €1,500, €1,300, €1,200 and €1,100 for 19th place
- €1000 for 20th-160th overall
There are other pots of money available in the race:
- €500 a day to whoever wears the yellow jersey, €300 for the other jersey holders
- €25,000 for the final winner of the green and polka dot jerseys
- €20,000 for the final winner of the white jersey
- There’s also money for the first three in the intermediate sprint each day: €1,500, €1000 and €500.
- The climbs have cash too with the first three over an HC climb earning €800, €450 and €300 and lesser sums for lesser climbs
- The highest point in the race sees a prize when on Stage 10 the Henri Desgrange prize is awarded at the top of the Port d’Envalira and is worth €5,000 and the highest point in the Pyrenees, the Col du Tourmalet on Stage 8, brings the Jacques Goddet prize and another €5,000. New for 2016 is the Bernard Hinault prize for the fastest up the Domancy segment of the Stage 18 time trial, €5,000 again.
- The “most combative” prize is awarded and worth €2,000 each day, the “Super combative” prize is awarded in Paris and the winner collects €20,000.
- There’s also a team prize with €2,800 awarded each day to the leading team on the overall, as calculated by the best three riders overall and €50,000 for the final winners in Paris. Note the team prize is calculated by adding the time of the best three riders each day rather than the best three on GC. For example if a team has riders A, B and C make the winning break one day then their times for the stage are taken and added together. If riders X, Y and Z on the same team go up the road the next day, their times are taken. So it’s the times of a team’s best three riders each day as opposed to the best three riders overall.
- The total prize pot is €2,295,850. In addition, every team that starts gets paid €51,243 to cover expenses. And should a squad make it to Paris with seven or more riders they stand to collect an additional €1,600 bonus for each rider the have left.
The unmissable stages
This is the Tour de France and there’s always something to watch but there are some stages that matter more than others. If you need to plan ahead and book space in your diary, here are some suggestions for the stages to watch.
- Stage 1 – Saturday 2 July: a sprint royale between all the best sprinters and teams
- Stage 5 – Wednesday 6 July: the first incursion into the mountains
- Stage 9 – Sunday 10 July: the final stage in the Pyrenees with the Andorra summit finish
- Stage 12 – Thursday 14 July: Mont Ventoux
- Stage 15 – Sunday 17 July: the racer’s stage across some hard terrain
- Stage 17 – Wednesday 20 July: a hard summit finish, often awkward after a rest day
- Stage 19 – Friday 22 July: tune in for the action, stay for the scenery
- Stage 20 – Saturday 23 July: the Alpine climax with the Joux Plane and its descent
As a rule there will be live coverage each day from 2.00pm Euro time onwards, with the finish planned each day between 5.00pm and 5.30pm but check the daily previews as the timing looks set to vary a bit more. Six stages will be screened live (1, 9, 15, 19, 20 and 21)
The race will be broadcast on a variety of channels around the world. There is no free stream on the internet but you will find a feast of legitimate feeds from some local broadcasters and failing this links to pirate streams are available from the likes of cyclingfans.com and steephill.tv.
You can download or subscribe to the iCal file with all 21 stages for your diary with summary info and a star rating to show the best and most important stages: .ics
I’ve produced the calendar but over to you to incorporate it with whatever software you might use. For more IT support, click here. One or two clicks and it’s on your phone / Outlook etc calendar.