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spokes of glory

Tour de France fever strikes Switzerland

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The pack took in the Nydeggstalden hill in Bern's old town as the city turned out to watch (EPA)

The pack took in the Nydeggstalden hill in Bern's old town as the city turned out to watch


They came, they saw, they cycled. Stage 16 of the Tour de France has arrived in Switzerland, and the crowds have turned out in their droves to cheer on the riders and give some special attention to Swiss pro cyclist, Fabian Cancellara.

The Swiss capital was in full-on Tour mode from Monday morning, with stalls out on the streets, public transport diverted and a summery party-atmosphere, although the race didn’t cross over the Swiss border with France until the afternoon.

Neuchâtel was the first Swiss city on the 209km (129.9 miles) route from the west of the country to Bern, almost in the centre. 

Temperatures were high and thousands of people were out on the streets to meet the race in Bern, as the world’s biggest cycling race snaked its way through the country and then the city's streets.

Bern's cobbles attracted some attention in the international media, as overall race leader and yellow-jersey holder, Chris Froome told British TV channel ITV4, “The last few kilometres was pretty sketchy."

He added, "there was lots of road furniture, lefts and rights, and then there were the cobbles – we were just trying to stay out of trouble”.

The Swiss Fabian Cancellara, who finished 6th in this stage, had tweeted earlier in the day about how he was feeling to be taking part in the race in his last year as a pro rider. 

As you might expect, there was a lot of support for the Bernese sportsman Cancellara, as he raced into his hometown. Afterwards, he told the Associated Press he was “missing a little bit of strength”, adding, “It's special to ride in your own streets but, for now, I'm more tired than anything else.”

Here's that moment when the riders crossed the finish line.

Peter Sagan won the stage, and the spectators were keen to get close to the sports star at the Stade de Suisse stadium in Wankdorf, Bern.

After today's efforts the riders will have a rest day in Bern on Tuesday, before setting off again on Wednesday.

Where are they headed next? Take a look at their route.

What did you think of stage 16 and the route so far through Switzerland? Tell us in the comments below, or get in touch with the author of this article on Facebook or via twitter @jofahy.



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