Andorra will return to the Tour de France in 2016 after a seven-year absence from the race. Race director Christian Prudhomme made the announcement today, with Andorran Tourism minister Francesc Camp, confirming that the Tour de France would spend three days in the Pyrenean principality, with a stage finish, rest day and stage start.
Prudhomme didn’t give any more details on the stage finish in Andorra but the peloton can expect a tough day in the saddle. It is the fifth stopover in Andorra, which last featured in the Tour de France’s race route in 2009. Brice Feillu, whose team Bretagne-Séché Environment received a wildcard for the 2015 race, won on that occasion when the stage finished in Andorra-Acalís. The race first stayed in the principality back in 1964, when the stage was won by Spanish climber Julio Jiménez.
Andorra sits in the heart of the Pyrenees and its average elevation of 1,996 metres makes it an ideal place for Grand Tours to test their general classification contenders.
This year’s Vuelta a España will also visit Andorra for three days, during the second week of the race. Stage 11 has been dubbed the queen stage of the 2015 Vuelta and will take in a huge 5,200 metres of climbing and finishes on the 15km to Els Cortals de Encamp.
The 2016 Tour de France begins in Le Mont-Sant-Michel on July 2, 2016. The official announcement of the full route will be made during a ceremony in Paris on October 20.