The Tour 2016 will not wait long to flush out the contenders for victory. Already on the second day of racing, the major players will be forced to show their mettle, display their intentions on the tarmac and throw themselves into battle. After leaving Saint-Lô and heading south for an excursion in the Vire valley, the race will then head towards Coutances before returning to the coast for a quick glance at the Channel Islands. However, on nearing La Hague, the riders will have to prepare themselves for tougher tests. After crossing Cherbourg-Octeville, the pack, or whatever remains of it, will tackle the steep ascent up the Côte de La Glacerie. At the summit, there will be a struggle to gain seconds after three kilometres of climbing including a section at 14%.
On the menu from Saint-Lô, the chef-lieu of the Manche area and a journey through the west coast all the way to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. That's where the race will get harder with a fi rst ever fi nish at the summit of the Côte de La Glacerie. A 3-km climb with a passage at 14%, therefore meaning seconds to be gained for the stage contenders and the favorites of the Tour.
Until now, Saint-Lô was still on the list of metropolitan prefecture cities having never welcomed a stage of the Tour de France, alongside Moulins (Allier). Since 1971, the inhabitants of Saint-Lô are used to encouraging the best national amateur riders at the end of July during the ‘Circuit des Remparts' race, or on various occasions of the Tour de Normandie with a prologue in the city. This time, the rendez-vous will have a far bigger dimension.