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Tour de France 2021: Stage 16 preview

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Tour de France 2021 stage 16 profile map

(Image credit: ASO)
Image 2 of 2

Tour de France 2021 stage 16 profile map

(Image credit: ASO)

Stage 16: Pas de la Case - Saint-Gaudens

Date: July 13, 2021 

Distance: 169km

Stage timing: 13:05 - 17:21 CEST

Stage type: Mountain

This is a medium mountain stage through the heart of the Pyrénées Ariégeoises and the rugged Couserans region to Saint-Gaudens. It should go the way of an escape group, as the three most significant climbs aren’t particularly. What’s more, the GC favourites will have tomorrow’s very demanding stage to the Col du Portet in the back of their minds.

It gets under way with a long descent from Pas de la Case down the Upper Ariège valley. At Tarascon, the route switches from north to west to cross the Col de Port, one of the passes that featured on the 1910 Tour route that was the first to venture into the high mountains.

A long, gradual drop follows to the intermediate sprint at Vic d’Oust. Just beyond, the riders will weave through the narrow streets of picturesque Seix and onto the first ramps of the Col de la Core, 13km long and the toughest climbing test of the day.

From the crest of the pass, beneath the distinctive squared-off summit of Mont Valier, the route descends through Castillon-en-Couserans, turning west again here to climb the easier side of the Col de Portet d’Aspet. The descent is much steeper, the road hurrying through thick woodland, passing the striking Fabio Casartelli memorial on the way.

At the bottom of this pass, the riders will follow the road that leads out of the mountains through the villages of Aspet and Soueich, where Ineos Grenadier Pavel Sivakov was brought up, and onto the final little fourth-category bump of the Côte d’Aspret-Sarrat, which tops out just 7km from the finish. 

The final 500 metres to the line, which is located on what was once the Comminges motor-racing circuit, are quite sharply uphill. It’s got “breakaway” written all over it, especially as it’s one of the very last chances that teams without an in-form GC leader or sprinter will have to go for a victory.

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