The Tour de France is heading to Occitania, and as cycling fans we’re very excited to see it coming through, not least because this time it’s on our very doorstep!
Departing from the famous Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy on July 2, 2016, the 103rd Tour de France heads quickly to the mountains, dipping into Spain and Andorra during the Pyrenean stages before also visiting the Swiss Alps later on. Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in western Europe, takes a starring role in the 2016 edition, and the iconic Mont Ventoux will also feature once again.
This year’s Tour de France runs from Saturday July 2nd to Sunday July 24th 2016. It will be made up of 21 stages and covers more than 3,500 kilometres. It also visits three neighbouring countries: Spain, Andorra and Switzerland.
In total, there will be four summit finishes and several stages which include tricky descents. There are three important mountain stages in the Pyrenees: stage seven to Lac de Payolle, which includes the Col d’Aspin and a testing descent to the finish; stage eight to Bagneres-de-Luchon which includes the Col du Tourmalet and the Col de Peyresourde; and stage nine to Andorra and the mountain top finish in Arcalis.
Tour de Occitanie: Carcassonne to Montpellier, via Minerve!
The highlight for us has to be stage eleven, which runs from Carcassonne to Montpellier on Wednesday July 13th. Over a total distance of 164km, it passes through the heart of the Minervois and therefore very close to Domaine de Palatz! This route is an area of stunning natural beauty, and includes the ancient capital of the area, Minerve, with it’s storied history and famous gorge.
The Minervois segment of stage eleven runs as follows, and provides some great viewing locations:
Siran › La Livinière › Cesseras › Azillanet › Minerve › La Caunette › Aigues-Vives › Agel
Of course the next day is also Bastille Day which means there’s even more fun to be had. Celebrated every year on July 14th, with a host of accompanying festivity, frivolity and fanfare, the Carcassonne area is the perfect place to be.
All in all, a spectacle not to be missed and a great reason to participate in a Tour de Occitanie this July!