Saint-Lo (France), July 1 (IANS) The Tour de France is to feature some of Europe’s highest mountains and most spectacular coastal scenery in 2016. The cycling competition begins on Saturday.
Riders will begin racing on Saturday with a flat stage spanning 188 km across northwestern France, starting at Mont Saint Michel and ending in Sainte Marie-du-Mont, reports Efe.
The Tour’s 103rd edition has the best riders in the world, including British favourites Chris Froome, the 2015 and 2013 winner, and Mark Cavendish; Spaniard Alberto Contador, the 2009 and 2007 champion, also featuring in-form riders Colombian Nairo Quintana and Italian Vincenzo Nibali, who won in 2014.
Also among the top contenders are sprint specialists, including German sprinters Andre Greipel, Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb, as well as Norwegian cyclist Alexander Kristoff, among others.
Cavendish won 26 stages in previous editions of the Tour, while Greipel snagged 10, Kittel eight and Kristoff won two.
The athletes will all vie for the coveted yellow jersey in the first stage, which will finish at Utah Beach, one of the four D-Day landing beaches in Normandy that saw the seaborne invasion of the Allied forces in 1944.
Despite its name, the Tour will not be limited to France: Some stages are planned for neighboring countries Switzerland, Andorra and Spain, covering both the Pyrenees and Alps mountain ranges.
The traditional finish will take place on July 24, when the exhausted riders are set to cycle down the iconic Champs-Elysees boulevard in Paris.