The 2016 Tour de France will be the 103rd edition of the popular cycling race. As the name of the event suggests, it is staged in France although some sections have been and will be staged outside of the country. This year the multi-stage race will actually start in France as opposed to having started in Holland in 2015. The race will begin in the French department of Manche for the first time in its history and will also feature stages in Andorra and Switzerland before coming to a conclusion in Chantilly, Paris.
This year the Tour de France will be held between the dates of the 2nd of July and the 24th of July.
As mentioned above, the 2016 Tour de France is a multi-stage event contested over a period of 23 days. There are a total of 21 stages where racing will take place and 2 days, which are reserved as rest days for riders. Out of the 21 stages, there are two-time trial events, both of which are individual, five mountain stages, four of which feature summit finishes, five medium-mountain stages, one hilly stage and seven flat stages. The individual time trial stages come on stage 13 and stage 18 and the rest days fall between stages 9 and 10, which is the 11th of July and stages 16 and 17, which is the 19th of July.
The route of the 2016 Tour de France appears to favour the climbers, as it did in 2015, especially considering the four summit finishes which have been included this year. However, it will take a good, all-round cyclist to finish on top with the ability to race against the clock in addition to taming the mountains. The two time trials mean the mountain stages will definitely not be as significant as they were last year.
As per usual in the Tour de France, there will be five classifications with the main one being the general classification. The general classification is calculated by adding the finishing time of the cyclist at the end of each stage of the event. Through the race, the cyclist with the lowest cumulative time will be awarded the yellow jersey, which he will wear until such a time that he no longer has the fastest cumulative time. The cyclist who finishes the Tour de France with the lowest cumulative time will be declared the winner of the race.
The other main classifications racers are competing for include the points classification, the mountain classification, the best young rider (25 years old or younger) and the team classification. It’s possible to spot who is leading these classifications by the colour of the jerseys being worn, which are green for points classification, polka-dot for mountains classification and white for the best young rider classification. The riders of the team who are leading the team classification wear yellow helmets and race numbers.
A total of 22 teams will participate in the 2016 Tour de France. There are 18 UCI World Teams, who are automatically invited and obliged to take part in the race. There are also four wild card invitations from the UCI Professional Continental Teams, each of which participated in the race last year.
In total, there are four cyclists who have to be considered as contenders to win the 2016 Tour de France. They include Chris Froome of Team Sky, Nairo Quintana of Movistar, Alberto Contador of Tinkoff and Fabio Aru of Astana. From within this list of cyclists, Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana have to be rated as the two favourites.
Chris Froome, of Team Sky, is the favourite with bookmaker Betfred at 5/4 and it’s easy to see why. Having won the Tour de France for the second time in 2015, Froome has had a quiet first half of 2016 with his form showing nothing special. However, a solid victory at Dauphine, including an impressive display on the stage 5 summit finish shows a man coming in to form at just the right time. It will be interesting to see how Froome handles the first week of the race but once the mountains stages begin, the British rider will really start to unleash and show his power, which could prove to be what makes the difference between him and the other riders.
【Chris Froome Winning Stage 5 at Dauphine】
The man who has the most realistic chance of stopping Chris Froome from winning a third Tour de France is Nairo Quintana of Movistar. The Colombian, who came second in the general classification last year, which is also the second time he has finished second to Froome in the Tour de France, will be determined to go one better in 2016. He is another rider who was off the radar for much of the start of the year but really stepped things up a level at Tour de Romandie even leaving Froome in his wake. Quintana also won the Route du Sud with a fantastic solo breakaway and at 2/1 with Betfred, he is certainly the closest rival to Froome.
It’s impossible to discuss potential Tour de France winners without mentioning the name of Alberto Contador. Finishing fifth in 2015, the Spaniard will be hoping to transfer his consistency from the first part of 2016 in to something special at the Tour de France. Contador has two Tour de France victories to his name but the last one came back in 2009 and this may be the reason why he has cut down his race days in the lead up to the event this year. At the age of 33, the Tinkoff rider does not have many years left and will be determined to win the Tour de France one more time, however, odds of 9/2 with Betfred are reflective of his genuine chances. Perhaps taking Evens, of a top three finish, would be the better choice here.
Fabio Aru, who is priced at 12/1 to win the 2016 Tour de France, has failed to finish in both the Route du Sud and the Amstel Gold Race this year. However, reports are coming out that Aru has enjoyed an excellent period of altitude training and although winning the Tour de France may be out of the question, a podium finish is certainly not and Aru can be backed at 2/1 to end the event inside the top three.
Another cyclist who is capable of a top three finish and offers significantly better value is Tejay van Garderen. A year ago, van Garderen was in third place overall before being forced to withdraw on stage 17 due to illness. The American has shown some good form this year with stage wins in the Tour de Suisse, Tirreno-Adriatico, and Vuelta a Andalucía. With odds of 6/1 at Betfred for a top three finish, van Garderen is one to keep an eye on.
【Tejay van Garderen Winning Stage 7 at 2016 Tour de Suisse】
Looking at the other classifications for the 2016 Tour de France and Peter Sagan has to be considered the outstanding contender for the green jersey. The Slovakian has won it in each of the last four years and his odds of 4/7 with Betfred to win it again this year are about right. The only thing that could prevent Sagan from winning the points classification is his desire for stage wins.
The winner of the polka-dot jersey, for the best climber, could be the market which offers the best value in the 2016 Tour de France. Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana are the joint favourites with Betfred at 5/1 but with fewer points than last year spread over more mountain-tops, a smart climber could easily upset the top two. Look out for Rafal Majka, who won the mountain classification in 2014 and also Joaquim Rodriguez, who was fifth in the classification last year. Sportsbook Betfred offers 13/2 for Rodriguez and a very tempting 20/1 for Majka.
The 2016 Tour de France could see one of the most exciting finishes for a number of years with mountain stages 19 and 20 being the sections where the race is won and lost. If this is to be the case, then it’s difficult to look beyond Chris Froome. If he is still in contention at this point, expect for him to have more than enough to get the job done. Nairo Quintana is the most likely challenger, who seems to have come on stronger in 2016 but the route suits Froome nicely and his new No. 2, Geraint Thomas, has been performing well this year.
Two-time Tour de France winner, Chris Froome, has to be favourite to make it three in 2016.