Tour de France 2016 Stage 2 preview: Saint-Lô - Cherbourg-Octeville, 182 km

Cherbourg is hosting a post-war stage finish for only the second time but looking further back, this is a venerable Tour institution. The city was on the route of every Tour between 1911 and 1929 – one rider, Romain Bellenger, particularly liked the sea air, winning four times there in the 1920s.

Stage 2 starts in St-Lô, the capital of Manche, and ends in Cherbourg, its biggest city. It’s another south-to-north traverse of the département, with much the same unchallenging terrain. That is, until the finish, when the route ascends the cat 3 Glacerie climb, which, to paraphrase Hobbes, is nasty, brutish and short. It’s just under 2km long and includes half a kilometre at 14 per cent, though that doesn’t include the short descent and further 500m of climbing to the finish line. ASO describe it as “fearsome”, and for this early in the Tour, that’s probably not far off the truth.

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