What you should know about the Tour’s 16th stage, which takes riders from Moirans-en-Montagne to Berne. – By Whit Yost
After an intense Stage 15, the riders will ease themselves into the 2016 Tour de France’s second Rest Day with this relatively flat 209km stage from Moirans-en-Montagne to Berne, Switzerland.
Similar to Stage 10 into Revel, Stage 16 could be another day for a breakaway to succeed. It’s also a perfect stage for Classics riders like Tinkoff’s Peter Sagan, BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet, and Giant-Alpecin’s John Degenkolb to rule the day. The finish in Berne includes tight corners, two uphill pitches, and even a few cobblestones.
Why It Matters
The day before the Tour’s second Rest Day may be the last chance for non-climbers and non-sprinters to win a stage in this year’s Tour.
The race heads to the Alps for four days after the Rest Day which takes place on 19 July, and the final stage on the Champs Élysées almost always goes to a sprinter, so riders who don’t fancy their chances in the high mountains or in a field sprint better make it count here. With another stage win or high finish, Tinkoff’s Peter Sagan could also put the green jersey out of reach on this stage.
It is also a special day for Africa’s team who celebrate Mandela Day on Stage 16. Team DiData rides for charity through their #BicyclesChangeLives campaign and today will be extra special for the team who aims to put 5 000 African students on bikes.
When to Tune In
With a Rest Day coming, there’s a good chance that a breakaway is given a huge lead and its riders are left to sort out the stage win among themselves. If that happens, expect the final 25- to 30km to be the most exciting, with the day’s only climb serving as an ideal launchpad for a late-race attack. To see it, tune in at about 5:00pm (SA time).
With today being Nelson Mandela Day you can be sure the SA riders at the Tour will look to make it a memorable one. Team Dimension Data will be hoping to set up Mark Cavendish to take the victory in Berne. As it is mostly a flat stage Louis Meintjes will struggle to get time back on Adam Yates, once the race hits the Alps we should see some shaking up in the Maillot Blanc jersey classification.