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Tour de France Stage 16 Preview

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July 17, 2016 – The Tour de France has visited Switzerland on numerous occasions, and its major cities Basel, Geneva, Lausanne and Zürich have all hosted stages, but not the Swiss capital of Bern—until now.

#PelotonShorts by John Wilcockson/Photo by Yuzuru Sunada

Not only does Bern have the finish of stage 16 of this 103rd Tour, but it also hosts the second rest day on Tuesday and sees the start of stage 17 on Wednesday.

To reach Bern, the 209-kilometer stage will first traverse the high plateaux and valleys of the French Jura and cross the Romandie region made famous by its eponymous spring stage race. This image, shot when stage 8 of the 2012 Tour de France came to Romandie, is typical of the roads that the television helicopters will be filming on Monday.

The roads in the final hour of stage 16 are constantly climbing and descending, and include the Cat. 4 Mühleberg with 25 kilometers to go, while the final 8 kilometers through the streets of Bern include some sharp ups and downs, a couple of bridge crossings and two 7-percent uphill ramps to reach the final kilometer.

It’s not the terrain that favors the sprinters, so the most likely outcome is the survival of a long breakaway—and perhaps a success for Bern’s hometown hero Fabian Cancellara in his final Tour de France. If not, a solo attack in the final kilometers could be successful. As for the race for the yellow jersey, the contenders will be looking toward the rest day prior to four very intense days of climbing in the Swiss and French Alps.

Follow @pelotonmagazine for more #pelotonshorts from John Wilcockson.
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