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Tour Stage 16: To Switzerland!

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Aww, no mountains.

swiss fans Patrick Verhoest

Stage 16: Moirans-en-Montagne - Berne, 209 km

The last breather for anyone who's not a climber.

What's It About?

I don't pay much attenton to hotel chains in mainland Europe, but this year's Tour de France strategy of being outside France for the rest days makes me assume that Hotel Campaniles don't exst in Andorra or Switzerland. Yes, this stage takes us to Bern, the capital of Switzerland, where the riders will spend the rest day. It's the last respite for the sprinters, the stages before Paris can all be summed up with the word "ow."

AmyBC's Food and Wine Pairings

Wine: Jacques Puffeney Arbois Trousseau Les Berangeres 2014

From the importer: Jacques Puffeney’s father was a vineyard worker who owned a mere speck of land in the village of Montigny Les Arsures (just around the corner from Arbois). Jacques made his first wine at the age of 17 but, to earn a living, he worked simultaneously as a “saleur de Comté” helping to make the fabled cheese of his region. Over time the Puffeney family acquired vineyards in Montigny and the surrounding villages and now the domaine encompasses 7.5 hectares, all in the appellation of Arbois. Jacques Puffeney’s prowess in both the vineyards and the cave has been recognized throughout France and has earned him the nickname among his colleagues of “the Pope of Arbois”. If you can find this one, buy it!

Food: Emmental Cheese

From Cheese.com: This cheese is produced in the central cantons of Switzerland. It is a traditional, unpasteurised, hard cheese made from cow's milk. It's hard, thin rind is covered by paper with producer's name on it. The aroma is sweet with tones of fresh-cut hay. The flavour is very fruity, not without a tone of acidity. Emmental has walnut-sized holes. It is considered to be one of the most difficult cheeses to be produced because of it's complicated hole-forming fermentation process. The cheese tastes delicious with a glass of wine, for example Jura Blanc.

Course Features

The profile...

Shows a rolling opening par of the stage, with a plethora of uncategorized climbs and flase flats. Then there's a flat section before the stage's only categorised climb, an unchallenging ascent of the Côte de Muhleberg.

However, it's the run in to the finish that will make the difference on this stage.

There's a technical cobbled climb called the Nydeggasse which is two hundred and fifty metres long at seven per cent, ending with two kilometres to go, and it leads onto the Papiermuhlestrasse (Paper mill street?), six hundred metres at six and a half per cent. The final kilometre is straight, pan flat, and wide.

Here's the map, by the way.

Mostly north-easterly. The border's crossed halfway through the stage. Oh, and there's no chance of wind or rain.

Riders to Watch

Can the pure sprinters manage this one? I'm inclined to think not. André Greipel might have hoovered this one up last year, but he's suffering from a case of the Everything's Going Wrongs. Mark Cavendish needs to win this one to have a chance of equalling his six stage height of 2009, and he's on good form, but with no leadout and below-par climbing, I rate his chances of winning this pretty low. And Kittel...don't get me started on Kittel.

That leaves a three-way battle, as far as I see it, and one between Peter Sagan, Bryan Coquard, and Alexander Kristoff. Sagan's been everywhere in this Tour de France, and has shown up with two stage wins, but I don't think he'll win here. He'd possibly need to attack on the climb to win, because I don't see him outsprinting even Coquard.

But I don't see Coquard beating Kristoff, who finally turned up on Saturday to only lose to Cavendish, is good on cobbles, and has a team willing to work for him.

Pick to Win

Yep, Kristoff.