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96th Tour de France - GT

France, July 4-26, 2009

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Stage 16 - Tuesday, July 21: Martigny - Bourg-Saint-Maurice, 160km

Following the second rest day the Tour heads back to France via the northwest corner of Italy. Two mountains are on the programme for today, the Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard (24.4 km at 6.2 percent), which separates Switzerland from Italy, and the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard (22.6 km at 5.1 percent), from which the riders will descend into France again. In between those two mountains, the bunch will race through the famous Aosta valley.

The thin air on the first of the two climbs located at 2,469 metres above sea level after a gruelling long ascent from the very start of the stage will make life difficult for the riders, especially since they hit the next mountain right afterwards. It is a merciless stage - there will be no time to recover.

The finish in Bourg-Saint-Maurienne comes after a steep descent of the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard - fast enough to provide the opportunity for time gaps as big as those of an uphill finish. Will the GC riders neutralize each other, as well as riders off the front?

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