The day after the second rest day in the Tour de France the route travels down from Le Puy-en-Velay to Romans-sur-Isère. At 165 kilometres, stage 16 holds different scenario's in store... Sprinters? Attackers? Echelons?
Le Puy en Velay is a stop on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, so with a little luck the riders are ‘reborn’ after the rest day. They head for Romans sur Isère, which lies in the valley of the River Rhône. To get there the stage travels on rolling terrain and one may think of different scenarios. With enough power on board the breakaway could hold on until the end. That said, stages with an arrival in the Rhône valley mostly boil down to a bunch sprint. In the 4th stage of last year’s Paris-Nice, Nacer Bouhanni outpowered Edward Theuns, André Greipel, Alexander Kristoff and Michael Matthews.
Another option could be we’ll see echelons. In recent years stages that were marked by crosswinds were bound to bring spectacle. Think the World Championships in Qatar. And think stage 11 is the 2016 Tour de France, when Peter Sagan and Chris Froome took control is a mesmerizing finale.
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses at 10, 6 and 4 seconds.