This summer is to be remembered for sport and competition in France.
After kicking off the European Football Championship in June, on July 2nd the historic Tour de France bicycle race will start its 103rd edition.
The event will take place from July 2nd to the 24th: 23 days on two wheels, alternated with a few days of rest.
This year the race will begin in the beautiful setting of Mont-Saint-Michel – the promontory situated in southern Normandy that, with high tide, is transformed into an island and, as usual, will conclude on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris.
Twenty-one stages – nine flat stages (with an uphill arrival), one in the hills, nine in the mountains (with four summit finishes) and two individual time trial stages (one of which uphill) – for a route that ventures beyond French borders: indeed, the ninth and tenth stages will take place in Vielha in Spain, and Andorra, while the sixteenth and seventeenth stages will see the cyclists cross into Switzerland amidst the mountains there.
The most highly anticipated stage is number 12, when the cyclists will face the climbing of Mont Ventoux: 15.7 km and an 8.8% rise.
The stars of the competition are expected to be Chris Froome (the winner in the 2013 and 2015 editions), as well as some potential outsiders: The Italian Fabio Aru, at the Tour for his first time, and Vincenzo Nibali, winner of the 2014 edition. And let’s not underestimate Alberto Contador: his will be the last participation in the Tour and, after this competition, he may announce his retirement.
The 2015 edition of the Tour de France – which left from the Dutch city of Utrecht – was won by the British racer Froome, followed by the Colombian Nairo Quintana and by the Spaniard Alejandro Valverde.