Tour de France preview: Stage 16

Stage 16: Pau to Bagneres-de-Luchon, 197km, high mountains

With the final rest day behind them, it’s straight back to action for the peloton as they must ascend – and then descend – four of the Pyrenees’ most famous mountains. Two HC climbs in the form of the Col d’Aubisque (16.4km, 7.1%) and the Col du Tourmalet (19km, 7.4%) will give the specialist climbers two excellent opportunities for explosive attacks – if they are brave enough to strike out early in the way that Andy Schleck (successfully) and Alberto Contador (less so) did last year. That could leave some of the GCers behind or even make them pop.

If they do get over those two climbs unscathed, they will still have to defend against multiple attacks on two Cat 1 climbs in the form of the Col d’Aspin (12.4km, 4.8%) and the Col de Peyresourde (9.5km, 6.7%), and a speedy descent to the finish. Sky and Bradley Wiggins will have to work hard to defend the maillot jaune, on each climb and the final 15.5km descent.

At the end of the day, we will have a clearer indication of how both the final general classification and the King of the Mountains competition are likely to shake out. In the case of the latter, there are 60 points on offer today – current leader Fredrik Kessiakoff has accumulated just 69 throughout the first two weeks.

Cycling the Alps’ interactive videos of the route can be found here.

Link: Official website

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