The first week in this Tour de France promises to be stressful, with possibly a lot of wind. For the fourth time, the Breton Brest organizes ‘Le Grand Départ’ on Saturday 26 June and immediately awaits a treacherous stage, which ends with a difficult sprint for punchers.
Start: om 12u10 in Brest
Arrival: around 5.15 pm in Landerneau
Distance: 198 km
In the beautiful countryside of Brittany, the riders immediately get no respite on the first day. The acceleration after the many twists and turns and the wind pieces in the Monts d’Arrée will in itself become a battle of wear and tear towards the finish. Six (!) official slopes are immediately waiting along the way: the Côte de Trébéolin (category 4), the Côte de Rosnoën (cat. 4), the Côte de Locronan (cat. 3), the Côte de Stang Ar Garront (cat. 4) , the Côte de Saint-Rivoal (cat. 4) and the Côte de la Fosse aux Loups (cat. 3)
These are the key moments
The first stage ends in the Finistère on the Rue de Pornic in Landerneau. The Côte de la Fosse aux Loups is a three kilometer slope with an average gradient of 5.7 percent. At the foot there is even a 14 percent strip. It promises to be a difficult sprint: more for punchers than for race sprinters.
The opinion of José De Cauwer: “Punchers for yellow”
“Brittany is a beautiful, but difficult region. The first rides are tailor-made for the Big Three: Alaphilippe, Van der Poel and Van Aert. The first ride is immediately tough, with an arrival on a slope that starts with stretches of up to nine percent. This is for punchers pur sang. Immediately there is also stress for the classification riders, because they must not be surprised, they do not want to lose time between all the sprinting frenzy.”
What you need to know about today’s ride
Brest is gradually becoming a classic in the Tour: the circus has already passed through this city in northern France for 31 years and Le Grand Départ is already being held for the fourth time. In 1952 Rik Van Steenbergen took the yellow jersey in the stage to Rennes, in 1974 Eddy Merckx won the prologue on his way to his fifth and final triumph in Paris, and in 2008 Alejandro Valverde raced to win in Plumelec.
Landerneau is the arrival place in the Tour for the first time. The small town especially shows off its Pont de Rohan over the River Elorn, one of the last inhabited bridges in Europe.