The 2016 Tour de France is set to feature a summit finish on the Mont Ventoux, sometimes rated as the country's single most difficult climb. The race will apparently have a stage finish there on July 14th, France's national holiday.
According to French newspaper La Provence, a finish on the Ventoux will be included in the 2016 Tour route, for what would be the tenth arrival on the 'Bald Mountain' - it has crossed over the summit a further six times - in the race's history. The stage will apparently start, as it did when it finished on the Ventoux in 1965, in the city of Montpellier, with a victory for Raymond Poulidor. First tackled in a stage that crossed the Ventoux in 1951, the most recent ascent of the Ventoux was in 2013, with a win for Chris Froome (Team Sky), beating Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) by 29 seconds, that effectively sealed his overall victory on that year's Tour de France. It is thought that the Tour will tackle the Ventoux on the most frequently used approach road, through the town of Bedoin at the foot of what is, when the Ventoux is tackled from that direction, a 21.8 kilometre ascent.
The following day's start is rumoured to be in the town of Bourg-Saint-Andeol, around 100 kilometres northwest of the Ventoux. The Tour would then possibly head towards the Alps and several stages in Switzerland for the remainder of the second and the whole of the third week before finishing on July 24th.
The entire Tour de France route will be revealed on October 20th in Paris. The only official data so far is that it begins in Mont-Saint-Michel on July 2nd, with two complete stages in Normandy, the first from Mont-Saint-Michel to Utah Beach, the second from Cherbourg to Octeville and the third starting in Granville.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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