Tour de France 2016, stage 17 description, map and profile: Wednesday, July 20
When Wednesday, July 20
Impact on GC 5/5
The route heads south from Berne, over the Niedersimmental mountain range, then descends to Château-d’Oex. Then it’s up and over the Col des Mosses and down to Aigle, the Swiss town that’s home to the headquarters of world cycling, the UCI.
The Swiss section of the River Rhône flows through Aigle into Lac Leman, but the Tour ridersgo in the other direction — against the flow for 26 kilometres of flat to Martigny, and the start of the final, very testing part of this stage.
The riders climb the Col de la Forclaz, and as they do so they’ll begin to see the towering mass of Mont Blanc on their left.
This sunny part of the country is the Canton of Valais, and is often referred to as the California of Switzerland. A short descent leads to the start of the final climb, which is new to the Tour de France but promises to be a real stinger.
The question everyone seemed to be asking over rest day was whether anyone would, or could, attack race leader Chris Froome (Sky). Today provides a chance for Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and other rivals to attempt to put time into Froome, as long as they can disrupt the relentless pace that Sky’s team of climbers will undoubtedly grind out on the final climb.