Gap is a frequent host of the Tour de France, but departure place Bourg-de-Péage is rather inexperienced in that respect. Only one start until this year with a 2010 Tour de France stage leading to Mende, a race won by Joaquim Rodríguez.
Gap is rich in history, both Tour-wise and in real life. Galicians once founded the town and when the Romans took over 14 before Christ they called it Vapincum. Napoleon was another one to leave his traces. After returning from exile at Elba he travelled the famous Route Napoléon to the town at the foot of the Alps.
After leaving Bourg-de-Péage the rolling roads are slightly though steadily rising. With around 120 kilometres done the gradients get higher and after a 9.1 kilometres climb Col de Cabre is crested, a 2nd category ascent at 4.6%. Following the drop it’s back to the routine again – slightly rising on rolling roads. After 170 kilometres in the saddle the ascent to Gap is not yet the sign to launch the finale since Col de Manse is on the menu after passing through the town with the peculiar sounding name for the first time. The 8.9 kilometres climb at 5.6% is crested with 12 kilometres left.
Cycling fans are treated big time in Gap, with today’s finish and the departure of stage 18 in three days. Are we talking a mountain stage then, chances are today will see an escapee heading for glory. As per usual in Gap. In 2011 it was Thor Hushovd bringing an early flight home and two years ago it was Rui Costa doing the same. The to be World Champion left his companions while climbing the Col de Manse and widening the gap in the descent, he was off for glory.
Race results/race report stage 16 Tour de France 2015.
Tour de France 2015 stage 16: Route maps, height profile, and more
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Profile intermediate sprint
Final kilometres 16th stage
Start and finish at Google Maps