Le Tour de France 2016
Le Tour de France runs from Saturday 2nd July and finishes on Sunday 24th July. Here’s the timetable, and as you can see, stages 11 and 12 are all important for us in the Languedoc!
Stage 11 is from Carcassonne to Montpellier. You can see more details here.
Tour 2016 stages
Sat July 2, Mont Saint Michel - Utah Beach, 188km
Sun July 3, Saint Lô - Cherbourg-Octeville, 183km
Mon July 4, Granville - Angers, 223.5km
Tues July 5, Saumur - Limoges, 237.5km
Wed July 6, Limoges - Le Lioran, 216km
Thurs July 7, Arpajon-sur-Cère - Montauban, 190.5km
Fri July 8, L’Isle-Jourdain - Lac de Payolle, 162.5km
Sat July 9, Pau - Bagnères-de-Luchon, 184km
Sun July 10, Val d’Aran (Spain): Vielha - Arcalis (Andorra) 184.5km
Tues July 12, Andorra - Revel, 197km
Wed July 13, Carcassonne - Montpelier, 162.5km
Thurs July 14, Montpellier - Mont Ventoux , 184km
Fri July 15, Bourg Saint Andéol - La Caverne du Pont d’Arc, 37.5km ITT
Sat July 16, Montélimar - Villars-les-Dombes, 208.5km
Sun July 17, Bourg-en-Bresse - Culoz, 159km
Mon July 18, Moirans-en-Montagne to Bern (Switzerland) 209km
Wed July 20, Bern - Finhaut-Emosson (Switzerland) 184.5km
Thurs July 21, Sallanches - Megève, 17km ITT
Fri July 22, Albertville - Saint-Gervais-Mont Blanc, 146km
Sat July 23, Megève - Morzine, 146.5km
Sunday July 24, Chantilly - Paris Champs-Élysées, 113km
For those of you who are novices to this huge event, you can watch the video from Géraldine Lepère, for an idiot’s guide to the Tour de France.
Despite not having a foreign start as it has done for the past two years with Yorkshire and Utrecht, the race will venture out of France on three separate occasions in 2016.
The Tour de France will visit Andorra for a stage finish on its ninth day, then the rest day and the stage 10 start – passing through Spain on the way. The Grande Boucle will also visit Switzerland on stages 16 and 17, with the second rest day taking place in Bern.
With Froome set to defend his title, Alberto Contador having foregone defence of his 2015 Giro d’Italia title to concentrate on the Tour, and Nairo Quintana aiming to better his two second place finishes, not to mention the many other riders who could contest the win, the 2016 Tour de France looks set to be an exciting three weeks.
If you plan to go and watch the cyclists passing through an area near you, bear in mind that thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of other people will have the same idea, so get there early, stake out your space as best you can with chairs, tables or a camper van, and be prepared for a long wait. It’s a good idea to take a picnic, and don’t forget plenty of water, hats, and sun protective cream.
In 2013 when they passed near the Col de la Croix de Mounis, we were there waiting. It was a superb day, but a long one. We got there at 7 am, even though they weren’t due until 3pm, and had it not been for our friends who’d parked up the night before in a camper van, we wouldn’t have found a space. We’d staked out the optimum spot where we could see them coming from a distance, and then they came right past us on a steep climb, so it was a valuable spot.
Note: We took our dog, and whilst he had a great time, we underestimated how hot the tarmac of the road would be, and he burnt all his paws quite badly, so take heed if you're planning to take a dog with you.
It’s worth the wait though, the build up is exciting, and there’s a great feeling of camaraderie. Go on, make a day of it!
FRANCE 24 takes a look at some of the special cultural and sporting highlights happening…