Photography by Cor Vos, Kristof Ramon, BrakeThrough Media, Jered & Ashley Gruber
The 2016 “La Grande Boucle” began on July 2 on the island of Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy and concluded on the one of the most famous boulevards in the world, the Champs-Élysées, on July 24. In between the beginning and the end of the 2016 edition, the 174 finishers battled the crosswinds, the rolling hills of the Massif Central, the Pyrenees, the hailstorm in Andorra, the smooth cobblestones of Fabian Cancellara’s hometown of Berne, the Alps, but above all each other.
The race made multiple excursions outside of its homeland, having stages in Spain, Andorra, and Switzerland. The two rest days did not take place in France, but in the mountainous country of Andorra and the beautiful city of Berne, Switzerland along the pristine Lake Thun.
The Tour wouldn’t be the Tour without drama and there was plenty in 2016. From Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) crashing heavily on stage one to the multiple photo finishes to the chaos on the famed Mont Ventoux. Don’t forget the incredibly slow pace on stage three and the hailstorm in Andorra or the maillot vert and maillot jaune going on an unprecedented attack in the crosswinds.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) was victorious and joined the illustrious club of riders who have won the Tour three or more times, etching his name alongside the legends of the sport. The 2016 Tour saw Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) turn back the clock and notch-up four stage wins and world champion Peter Sagan don the maillot jaune. The lists goes on and on.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) crashed heavily on the opening stage of the 2016 Tour de France.
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) won the opening stage of the Tour for the first time in his career and thus donned the maillot jaune.
Having come down heavily inside the final kilometre of the opening stage of the Tour, Sam Bennett faced the nightmare scenario of possibly being out of the race on day one. The Irish sprinter crossed the line clutching his arm to his chest and grimacing in pain, and at the team bus staff said that there were concerns that he had fractured his collarbone and also broken a finger. Bennett eventually went on to finish the Tour in last position as the celebrated ‘Lantern Rouge’
Mark Cavendish swarmed by the media
Stage two saw Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) go head-to-head.
Sagan when asked how long he can keep yellow: “I don’t care. If I don’t have yellow, I have green. If I don’t have green, I have rainbow”
The stage three finish in Angers saw Mark Cavendish win his 29th Tour stage all-time and pass Bernard Hinault for second all-time on the most Tour stage wins list.
Returning to an old tradition, the Tour Village had a travelling barber where Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin) gets a trim
Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) and Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) rubbed shoulders in the sprint to the line on stage four.
After minutes of suspense with the jury deciding on the photo finish, Kittel celebrates his victory.
When the Tour enters the mountains the crazy fans come out to play.
The breakaway artist, Steve Cummings (Dimension Data), took an emphatic win on stage seven, but the headline of the day was the 1K banner collapsing on the GC group.
Adam Yates banged up after the 1km gantry fell on him, but was able to continue to win the white jersey.
Alberto Contador not doing so well in crossing the last mountain climb of the day; the Col de Peyresourde, well behind the race leaders (and other favourites) on stage eight.
Having serious cramps at this moment, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) crosses the last mountain of the day on stage eight.
Stage nine would turn out to be a devilish day in saddle.
Alberto Contador’s 2016 Tour would come to an end with about 100km to go in stage nine.
Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) leads Chris Froome to the finish at Andorre Arcalis on stage nine in a hail storm.
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) being flash-interviewed by Sporza commentator Carl Berteele after finishing stage nine in Andorra Arcalis.
Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) needs to be helped out of his soaked clothes after finishing while thunderstorms hit the race hard coming up the finial climb on stage nine.
Descending from the highest point in the 2016 Tour; the Port d’Envalira (2408m).
Winners are grinners! Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange) wins stage 10 of the 2016 Tour de France.
The peloton rolls in eight minutes behind the race winner/leaders as teammates Edward Theuns and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) jump ahead for a little sprint. Much to the delight of the rest of the big group.
Today was just something you cannot plan — it’s something special. Green jersey with yellow jersey in the front group?” The words of stage winner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) summed up the day’s racing perfectly. In theory, stage 11 of the 2016 Tour de France was supposed be one of the most straightforward of the race — a regulation transition stage seemingly destined to end in a bunch sprint. But what unfolded instead was a chaotic, wind-affected stage with a most unpredictable finale.
Simon Gerrans (Orica-BikeExchange) was involved in a crash 35km from the finish on stage 12 and broke his collarbone, forcing him to abandon the Tour for a third year in a row, and later had to abandon the Rio Olympic selection for team Australia.
The fans were an excited and wild bunch on Mont Ventoux this year..
The crash heard around the world in the last kilometer of the Mont Ventoux climb: Mollema, Froome, and Porte, on the ground.
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Serge Pauwels (DimensionData) are sprinting for the prestigious win on Mont Ventoux (cut short by 6km because of storm winds on top of the mountain).
“The Running Man.” Chris Froome’s jog up Mont Ventoux on stage 12 will forever be the iconic moment of the 2016 Tour de France.
Team buses lined up at the start of stage 15 in Bourg-en-Bresse
Tony “Pantzerwagen” Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) setting a fierce pace for himself and teammate Julian Alaphilippe in the escape that will keep them over 170km out of reach of the chasing peloton.
In a rare occurrence, both Martin and Alaphilippe were both awarded the most agressive rider awards after the stage.
The Peter Sagan fans were out in force on stage 16, which finished in Fabian Cancellara’s hometown of Berne, Switzerland.
Peter Sagan beats Alexander Kristoff by a last second bike throw which left Kristoff winless this Tour de France.
Peter Sagan’s wife Katarina at the finish of stage 16
What’s left of Shane ‘The Mullet’ Archbold’s (Bora-Argon18) bike after a high-speed crash on stage 17.
Ilnur Zakarin went on to win stage 17 however it was overshadowed by Russia’s exclusion from the Olympics just after. It’s still unclear if Zakarin will be able to compete in Rio.
Team bus parking at the finish of stage 17 was not for those who are afraid of heights.
Adam Hansen finished his 15th consecutive Grand Tour this July and there’s no signs of him stopping
Froome was thankful to have Wout Poels for controlling the pace and guiding him all the way to the finish.
Pierre Rolland crashed heavily out of the lead group in treacherous conditions on stage 19, as Chris Froome, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) were among the fallers. Most notably Tom Dumoulin crashed and fractured his left arm, putting his participation in the Olympic games in doubt.
The penultimate stage of the 2016 Tour began with Chris Froome having a comfortable lead in the general classification. Photo: Gruber Images
Sam Bennet finished over 5hrs behind Chris Froome in the General Classification, but he managed to finish in last position in a gutsy fight to Paris.
Bauke Mollema struggled the last couple of stages and dropped from second overall to 11th overall.
Ag2r-La Mondiale were ecstatic after stage 20, as Romain Bardet had locked-up second overall.
Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) getting ready on the team bus before the stage to ride into Paris as the 2016 Tour white jersey winner.
Award for ‘the most ripped’ goes to Daniel Teklehaimanot
Andre Greipel (DEU/Lotto-Soudal) is overjoyed after his first (but most prestigeous) sprint finish on the Champs-ElysÈes this Tour, copying last years victory.
A very happy Team Orica-BikeExchange after finishing a very successful Tour with one stage win by Michael ‘Bling’ Matthews and a fourth place overall and white jersey for Adam Yates.
Greg Henderson and Marcel Sieberg (Lotto-Soudal) congratulate each other on a job well done.
Chris Froome shares a moment with his son, Kellan, after winning the Tour for the third time.
Team Sky takes their fourth Tour de France win since their inception in 2009.
This article is a modified version of that originally published on cyclingtips.com