ON THESE PAGES WE HAVE SET DOWN DETAILS OF THE PLACES YOU WOULD SEE IF YOU TRAVELLED THE SAME ROUTE AS THE TOUR DE FRANCE did in 2016. The Race itself is still the world’s toughest and most gruelling Bike races in the world – but each year, the Route changes to create a new experience and in 2017 the Tour de France will start in Düsseldorf in Germany but also finish in Paris.
While there are many stages on flat terrain, it is the steep mountain stages that really are the most gruelling and there are lots of steep gradients to head up, with the downhill sections also highly dangerous too – with crashes, punctures, tight corners, spectators all adding to the hazards but also the excitement. The Sprints are also the most exciting part of each stage, as riders head to a finish line.
The Tour de France bike race happens in June each year (in 2017 -June 1st to June 23rdh) and the Race has been running for over 100 years with the first Tour de France staged on June 1st, 1903.
In 2016 the Race was completed as 21 stages and covered a distance of 3519 Kilometres. In 2017 it will be slightly shorter, but the mountain climbs are even steeper – with the race (as it did in 2016) heading up, across and down the Alps, Central Masif, Pyrenees, Jura Mountains and Vosnes.
Over the years there have been changes to the distance and also the route taken, but it has always been a difficult race to win and it remains hugely popular and is now celebrated by cycling professionals and their followers from around the world.
If you have ever watched the Tour de France Race on TV or stood beside the roadway as the Cyclists race by, you have no doubt seen the great scenery that the race passes by. In 2016 there were 9 flat stages, 1 hilly stage and 9 mountain stages, with just 2 rest days and 2 individual time trials.
The most difficult stages are undoubtedly the Mountain stages – with all 9 of them in 2016 passing through amazing scenery – not that the riders spent much time looking at it.
On these pages – we have set down some information about the main towns that each stage of the race either started from or finished in 2016– so that if you watched the race, you will know a little more about the locations, and ideally you might even do your own tour by bike or car, travelling the roads that the Tour de France followed in 2016.
Before reading these pages – download a Tour de 2016 France map to trace the route that the race follows – see www.letour.com There is also the Route for the 2017 Race too on that website.
In broad terms – the Race started off in 2016 in the north west of France and then headed south to the Pyrenees Mountains then headed north east to Switzerland before the final race finish in Paris.
Stage One – was a short race from Mont Saint Michel in North West France to Utah Beach Sainte-Marie-du-Mont a distance of 188 kilometres, overall Flat with no major hills or mountains to climb -
Stage Ten - was 197 kilometres long and started from Escaldes-Engordany in Andorra and headed to Revel also in Andorra in what is classed as a “hilly” section of the Tour de France. Both of these places are in Andorra, so again you have the mix of Mountains and snow in the winter months and the fresh mountain air for hiking, cycling and climbing in the summer months. There are also the shopping, museums – even a Perfume Museum, old churches some dating back to the 12th century and Thermal Spas at Caldea to relax in.
Stage Eleven - was back to flat territory and was a 162.5 kilometre ride from Carcassonne to Montpelier.
In 2017 the Race will be on again, and while it takes a different route, it will be no less arduous.
I hope you will follow the race on TV or from a vantage point along the route and maybe some of the information above will help you enjoy your travels in France, be that you travel by car or by cycling.