The adage "survival of the fittest" is truer than ever for contestants in Stage 16 of Tour de France 2014 on Tuesday. Steep mountain climbs in the Pyrenees commences in this stage.
In the previous stage Alexander Kristoff of the Katusha team pulled the rug from under the feet of Jack Bauer and Martin Elmiger as he zoomed ahead of them in the dying stages to clinch victory. Vincezo Nibali of Astana remains the holder of the yellow jersey.
Stage 16 is the first of three stages in the Pyrenees. Riders will have to be at their sharpest to procure victory here. In the previous stage the Alps had a crucial role to play. In this stage the Pyrenees occupies that position.
At 237.5 kilometres, Stage 16 is the longest in terms of distance. Here the contestants will journey from Carcassone to Bagne'res- de-Luchon. The stage will be divided into two sections. Section one will see mostly flat territory for the contestants. Section two will have the arduous mountain climbs. This should really test the resolve of the riders.
An intermediate sprint will come the way of the riders in the flat area itself. A couple of small climbs of Cote de Fineux and Cote de Palmiers lie before the contestants in the initial section.
After the 150 km mark, lie the main climbs. First up is the infamous Col de Portet d' Aspet. It was here that Fabio Cartaselli, an Italian cyclist, was killed in an accident in the 1995 edition. Next up the riders have to contend with the Col de Ares.
The harder bits, however, lie ahead for the riders. After a tiring 202 kilometres they head toward the treacherous Port de Bales, one of the newer additions in Tour de France. It was here that Andy Schleck in 2010, because of a dropped chain, could not lay claim to the yellow jersey.
Riders will be relieved to know that the last 2.8 kilometres are flat in nature as the ending 180 metres are straight. The hard climbs done they would welcome the flat stretch; however this is on view at the end only.
Alexander Kristoff will hope for a repeat of Sunday when he won stage 15. A win for yellow jersey holder Vincenzo Nibali will add to his already strong position.
Where to Watch Live:
Ten Sports Day 16
7.45 PM To 9.15 PM (IST) Tuesday