Where to watch the 2016 Tour de France

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Five of the best places to watch the 2016 Tour de France

Sponsored feature: It's not too late to get yourself over to France and watch cycling's greatest race

The eyes of the cycling world will turn to the 2016 Tour de France throughout July, as defending champion Chris Froome bids to become the first man to win back-to-back Tours for more than a decade.

More than 10,000,000 spectators are expected at the roadside to watch the peloton race by, with one in five of last year’s fans coming from outside of France.

Crowds clamour for the best view of the riders at last year’s Tour de France (Pic: Sirotti)

If you fancy joining the fun, and sampling the Tour’s unique atmosphere for yourself – with 170 vehicles in the publicity caravan before the peloton whizzes by, and no shortage of great vantage points to watch the action unfold – where should you be heading?

It’s not too late to book an organised package to take in the best the Tour de France has to offer. Sports Tours International have a number of last-minute packages available – from the Grand Depart to the finale in Paris – to take the hard work out of your trip.

Here are five of the best places to head this year.

La Manche (Grand Depart)

The 103rd Tour de France departs from the Manche region, in the shadow of Mont-Saint-Michel on Saturday July 2. Two stages are being held entirely in the region before the third stage sets off from Granville.

Mont-Saint-Michel last featured at the Tour de France in 2013 (Pic: Sirotti)

Stage one is likely to end in a sprint finish, with Marcel Kittel bidding to outsprint Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel and co to pull on the first yellow jersey of the race. Book onto Sports Tours International’s La Manche start weekend package and you can enjoy VIP access to the Village Depart, a four-night stay in Bayeux, guided daily rides and transport to the first three stages.

Book now: Sports Tours International – La Manche Start Weekend

French Pyrenees and Andorra

The Pyrenees represent the first mountain tests of this year’s race, with the Col du Tourmalet, Col de Peyresourde and Andorra’s Arcalis ascent all on the cards.

The Col de Peyresourde features on a stage also boasting the Tourmalet (Pic: Sirotti)

The Tour’s excursion into Andorra features the highest point of this year’s race, as well as the highest summit finish on Arcalis. Chris Froome blew his rivals apart on the first big mountain test of the 2015 race and will no doubt look for a repeat performance this time out.

Sports Tours International have a seven-night package, taking in both French Pyrenees stages, and the stages in Spain and Andorra, with a guided ride up the Tourmalet and the chance to explore Andorra also included.

Book now: Sports Tours International – French Pyrenees and Andorra

Mont Ventoux

The Giant of Provence returns to the race for the first time since Chris Froome’s victory atop the iconic mountain in the yellow jersey three years ago.

Mont Ventoux is set to return to the Tour in 2016 on Bastille Day – the tenth time the Giant of Provence will have featured as a summit finish (Pic: Sirotti)

The famous barren slopes are likely to host some of the best action of this year’s race, with the mountain due to be tackled on Bastille Day.

One of the pivotal stages of this year’s race, the climb is likely to reshape the general classification, and with Sports Tours International you can follow the race from Ventoux to its Paris finale on their 14-night Mont Ventoux and Alps to Paris tour.

Book now: Sports Tours International – Mont Ventoux and Alps to Paris

The Alps

After tackling the Pyrenees and then heading to Provence, the Tour peloton then takes the battle to the Alps for the final mountain stages of this year’s race.

Will Chris Froome win in the shadow of Mont Blanc again, as he did at the 2015 Criterium du Dauphine? (Pic: X.Bourgois/ASO)

An uphill time trial will sort the men from the boys, and offer a close-up view of each and every rider, before a summit finish on Mont Blanc-Saint Gervais threatens to derail whoever enters the stage in the race lead.

Book now: Sports Tours International – Alpine stages

Paris

As ever, the Tour reaches its conclusion in Paris with the Champs-Elysees hosting one final sprint showdown before the jersey winners are crowned in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe.

Team Sky lead the peloton onto the Champs-Elysees during the final stage of last year’s Tour de France (pic: Sirotti)

The peloton will cover eight laps of the iconic Champs-Elysees in all on the final stage, with the Women’s WorldTour event, ‘La Course by Le Tour de France’, race preceding the men’s arrival for a complete day of full-throttle action

You can watch the action unfold from the Grandstand seating or in VIP hospitality by booking through Sports Tours International.

Book now: Sports Tours International – final weekend

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