Tour de France 2011: Race to head north to Brittany after Vendée start
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Monday, August 9, 2010

Tour de France 2011: Race to head north to Brittany after Vendée start

by Ben Atkins at 7:58 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Local officials claim that Tour is to head to visit north western region

tour de franceWith the 2010 edition of the race barely over, the rumours are already circulating as to the route of next year’s Tour de France. Race organiser ASO confirmed long ago that the race will start in the Vendée region on the West coast, but according to newspaper Ouest-France the race will then head north into the region of Brittany.

What is official is that the race will begin with a 180km road stage from the Ile Noirmoutier, crossing the Passage du Gois where the peloton was decimated so early in the 1999 race, before finishing on the Mont des Alouettes. The next day will be a 23km team time trial around Les Essarts; stage 3 will then begin at Olonne-sur-Mer.

That third stage is set to finish in the town of Redon, according to Jean-Louis Fougere, the president of the local group of councils.

“I’m full of adrenaline!” Fougere told Ouest-France. “We met with Bernard Hinault [the five-time Tour winner, who originates from the region and now works with ASO] at the Tour de l’Avenir, the previous year and he recommended that we apply.”

For a town like Redon a visit from the Tour is an enormous honour as it will be “a wonderful spotlight on the territory,” explained Fougere. “This is a cycling paradise with races like Redon-Redon and the Tour de l’Avenir.”

Redon is not a big town though, and a visit from the World's biggest race would not be without considerable expense; this would be well worth the area bearing though. “There is a cost for sure,” he admitted, “but we have a year to prepare. The Tour de France is a wonderful festival and it’s the first time it will visit Redon.

Vincent Bourguet, the Mayor of Redon was equally enthusiastic. “This is good news,” he said, “I’m on vacation in Brittany right now, the weather is not very nice, this will brighten my day!”

According to Ouest-France’s, riders will transfer from Redon to nearbly Lorient for the next stage, which will likely head north and west to the town of Châteaulin.

"The riders would perform the transfer of Redon in Lorient on Monday night for a departure at noon the next day,” Lorient mayor Norbert Métairie “I met with Christian Prudhomme in May and I confirmed that we were interested in hosting a stage in 2011. For the moment, there is nothing official, and there are some technical details to resolve, but it looks good.”

But where will it go from there?

If it is confirmed that the race head north into Brittany it will present a challenge to the route designers to take the race south once more; this may require a long transfer, possibly on the first rest day. Traditionally, the tour alternates between clockwise and anti-clockwise circuits of the country, and alternates between visiting the Alps or Pyrénées first. This year’s race was clockwise, and crossed the Alps first, so tradition should dictate that it should head south to the Pyrénées first in 2011.

Additionally, where 2010 was the centenary of the Tour’s first crossing of the Pyrénées, 2011 marks one hundred years since it crossed the Alps. It is rumoured that ASO will be celebrating that milestone in a similar way to this year, focusing on the mighty Col du Galibier as it focused on the Tourmalet this time; an Alpine celebration would likely come in the third week of the race, much as the Pyrénéen one did.

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