Stage 16 will be the last transition stage of the 2015 Tour de France. After 201 kilometers it will finish in Gap, and the riders will finally arrive at the Alps, where four days of intense climbing await after a rest day Tuesday. The Tour is very near its end.
Though more decisive days are ahead, Monday should still be a showcase. The breakaways that failed to materialize Sunday should emerge on a day of long steady climbing and a descent finish after a Category 2 climb up the Col de Manse. That climb -- beginning a little more than 20 kilometers from the finish -- should hold pure sprinters at bay at the finish, especially with so little road left after the summit.
With significant time gaps unlikely, the green jersey competition will once again be teams' primary focus. Peter Sagan has a somewhat comfy 44-point lead over Andre Greipel, the winner of Stage 15. Sagan is much better suited to handle Monday's climbs. He will hope the peloton reaches Col de Manse before any breakaway riders, giving him a chance to gobble up points while Greipel struggles further back in the gruppetto.
Monday is also Sagan's last feasible shot at a stage win before Paris. He's unlikely to hang with the general classification contenders in the Alps. More likely, however, the winner will be a top-notch descender and all-arounder. It would be a great day for Vincenzo Nibali to save face, or Alejandro Valverde to needle Chris Froome by taking another second or two.
NBCSN will have a live feed of the stage beginning at 8 a.m. ET, lovingly hosted, as always, by Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. Live online streaming is available using the NBC Sports Live Extra app on mobile devices, or with a subscription to NBC's Tour de France web package.
Coverage begins at 8 a.m. ET on NBCSN
Announcers: Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen
Mobile: NBC Sports Live Extra app with an appropriate cable subscription
Computer: NBC's Tour de France web package is available for a fee