- Aug 31, 2014
Monday, July 18th • Stage info • Startlist • Roadbook • Rules • Weather: Start, Halfway, Finish
Starts at 12:55 - Live video from 14:15 - Finish at 17:50 (CEST) • Live ticker • Livestreams
Mountain passes & hills:
Km 183.5 - Côte de Mühleberg 1.2 kilometre-long climb at 4.8% - category 4
Current GC standings:CyclingQuotes.com said:After the first small test on the outskirts of the Alps [Juras. ed.], the final GC battle in the high mountains will be postponed until after the rest day as the riders will make a brief visit to the Swiss capital of Bern before they head into the Alpine heartland. Stage 16 has partly been regarded as a tribute to Fabian Cancellara who gets a chance to visit his home country and home region in what will be his final Tour and it will give the GC riders an opportunity to recover a bit before they take on the decisive fight. At the same, the sprinters may eye a final chance to sprint for the win before Paris but two small climbs in the finale means that it could be a day more for classics riders than real sprinters.
At 209km, it is another pretty long stage according to recent Tour de France standards and it will bring the riders from Moirans-en-Montagne to Bern. Starting at the foot of the mountains, the riders will first head north along mainly flat roads to make sure that they can get to Switzerland without having to go through the Alps. After around 30km, they will turn to the east and northeast which will be the direction for the final part of the stage. That doesn’t change the terrain as it will still be mainly flat, with the biggest challenge being 19.5km of gradual climbing starting at the 45km mark. Then more flat roads will lead to the French-Swiss border which will be crossed after 106km of racing.
In Switzerland, the terrain will be similar as the main challenge is a very small hill before the city of Brot-Dessous and then a short descent leads to another flat section that includes the intermediate sprint at the 167.5km. The final kilometre leading to the sprint is uphill at 2-3%. As the riders get closer to Bern, the terrain gets slightly more undulating and includes the category 4 climb of Cot de Mühleberg (1.2km, 4.8%) with 15.5km to go. However, the main challenge comes in the finale in the Swiss capital. A fast descent on technical roads with 4km to go lead to 1000m of flat roads and two small climbs. The first one averages 7% over 250m and leads to the 2km mark. 250m of flats will then precede a 600m climb that averages 6.5%. The top comes with 1.1km to go and from there it is a long, straight, 6m wide road all the way to the finish.
This is a typical transitional stage which should inspire the attackers. The technical, lumpy finale means that the pure sprinters may be a bit cautious and this could open the door for a breakaway win. On the other hand, this is one of the stages that riders like Michael Matthews and John Degenkolb simply have to target and it would be a failure for them if they don’t try to go for this one. This means that they will probably try to control things but it won’t be easy. Even if they manage to catch the early break, the difficult finale is tailor-made for attacks from strong classics riders and it would be a big surprise if Fabian Cancellara doesn’t try to wave goodbye to his home public by making a big move on one of the two climbs in the Swiss capital. It’s a stage with several possible outcomes as it can be won by a breakaway, with a late move or in a sprint that can suit strong classics sprinters but isn’t out of reach for the likes of Cavendish, Greipel and Kittel.
Bern has not hosted a finish of a Tour de France stage for more than a decade. It features regularly in the Tour de Suisse, most recently in 2015 when Alexey Lutsenko was a road stage and Tom Dumoulin a time trial here. In 2009, Fabian Cancellara beat Tony Martin in a lumpy time trial on the final day of the race to seal his overall victory. One year earlier he surprised the sprinters in a road stage on the final day when he beat Philippe Gilbert in a 2-rider sprint. In 2007, the Swiss won the time trial on the final day while it was Jan Ullrich who ended his professional career by winning the time trial and the overall in Bern in 2006.
Withdrawals Stage 15:
DNS: DEBUSSCHERE, Jens (Lotto Soudal) - scapula fissure, knee incision
DNF: HERRADA, Jesús (Movistar Team) - illness
BRESCHEL, LANGEVELD (CDT) RENSHAW (DDD) TULIK (DEN) LADAGNOUS, PINEAU, PINOT (FDJ) FRANK (IAM) MØRKØV, VAN DEN BROECK (KAT) DEBUSSCHERE (LTS) HERRADA (MOV) GERRANS (OBE) CONTADOR (TNK) THEUNS (TFS)
183 of 198 riders remain in the race.
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