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The Tour de France Stages 7 and 8
 
By Podofdonny
Date: 6/28/2002
The Tour de France Stages 7 and 8
 

13.07 - Stage 7: Bagnoles de l'Orne - Avranches 176 km

The riders leave from the lakeside of Bagnoles de l’Orne and race acoss Normandy towards Avranches. Whether the riders will have bathed in the town’s thermal spa (which were discovered by the Comte Hughes in legend) and benefitted from its healing powers is unsure. The waters are especially beneficial to arteries - possibly Stuart O’Grady who had an iliac artery operation earlier in the year should go for a quick bath. The Domo management may have had trouble keeping Richard Virenque from the small town's lakeside Casino though!

The race last finished here in 1968 when André Desvages won the stage - and when it started here in 1977 Den Hertog won after a long solo break. Visit this link to see the legends of Bagnoles de l’Orne.

Today could well see a successful escape again. As well as two fourth category climbs, the roads are rolling all day; this combined with the coastal winds should all help a small man break keep clear.

A nasty 92 metre climb at the finish in Avranches, which lies in the heart of the Mont Saint Michel bay, will be enough to sort out the strongest man of the day. The town was the scene of heavy fighting in World War Two, when Patton broke through the German lines, and today’s winner will need similar steely determination. In 1993 the GB-MG Team triumphed here. Photos of Avranches

Daily Peloton’s Stage Prediction

A day of mental toughness for the would-be contenders. The coastal winds could easily cause splits - and woe betide the team leader who is caught napping at the back of the peloton if this happens. Expect to see the usual suspects try and make an escape - Durand, Agnolutto, Simon, Wauters, De Groot and Turpin will all be looking for Stage glory. In 1997 Agnolutto stole away on stage one of the Tour of Switzerland to win by over ten minutes. Incredibly, inspired by wearing the race leader’s jersey, he hung onto the overall position until the very end of the race. Agnolutto could well be the winner today - but it would seem very unlikely that he will be in yellow in Paris this year!

Tour Talk “Demarrage” - An escape or breakaway by a rider or group of riders that gains an advantage on the rest of the field.

Local Hero

Louison Bobet

Born: 12 March 1925, St Meen-le-Grand, France

Died: 13 March 1983

One of Bretagne’s legendary sons. A true great all rounder, at home in the mud of Flanders and on the slopes of Mount Ventoux. Triple Tour winner. Louis was his real name but he became better known by his nickname Louison(and was also called "Cheri Pipi"). Please visit this link to see the Museum. dedicated to one of the Giants of the road - great pictures and information on this cycling legend.

Palmares

1950: 1st French Road Race Championship, 3rd Tour de France + Mountains

1951: 1st Milano-San Remo, 1st Giro di Lombardia, 1st Criterium International, 1st French Road Race Championship, Giro d'Italia Mountains

1952: 1st Paris-Nice, 1st Grand Prix des Nations, 1st Criterium International

1953: 1st Tour de France, 3rd French Road Race Championship

1954: 1st Tour de France, 1st World Road Race Championship

1955: 1st Tour de France, 1st Ronde van Vlaanderen, 1st Dauphine Libere, 1st Tour of Luxembourg, 2nd French Road Race Championship, 3rd Paris-Roubaix

1956: 1st Paris-Roubaix, 3rd French Road Race Championship

1957: 2nd World Road Race Championship, 2nd Criterium International

1958: 2nd World Road Race Championship

1959: 1st Bordeaux-Paris Roma-Napoli-Roma

1960: Roma-Napoli-Roma

14.07 - Stage 8: St-Martin-de-Landelles - Plouay 217 km

And so into the heartland of cycling France. The start and finish towns today are both small - but in terms of cycling they are almost religious centres. St-Martin-de-Landelles (1,250 population) organises its own cycling race called the Polynormande which has been won in the past by Jalabert, Virenque, Hinault, Fignon and Van Impe. It is also the home of the voice of French cycling, Daniel Mangeas, who uses his influence to ensure the local race is well attended. Daniel Mangeas can be seen here - involved in some typical good natured tomfoolery before the start of a stage.

The riders leave Le Jardin en St Martin and face the second longest stage of the tour at 217 kilometres. Three category 4 climbs and typical rolling countryside face the riders, most of whom will know the finish very well, it is over the 2000 Plouay World Road Championships circuit (which was won by Romans Vainstens). Plouay is small (5,000) but each year in late August or early September hosts Le Grand-prix Ouest-France à Plouay which attracts huge crowds (200,000 at last years event which was won by Nico Mattan).

Typically Plouay’s main tourist attraction is a veloparc. A genuine place of culture and play, the Véloparc invites you to discover the history of the fabulous “petite reine.” A sporting practice for aristocrats in the XIXth century, it is also a symbol for the rediscovered quality of life. From the bicycles of your childhood to the history of the Tour de France, the Véloparc offers you the possibility to "saddle up" in the park, in the vélocyclettes garden (funny bikes) or on the mountain bike trail located at the entrance to the museum. - to visit the Veloparc, click here.

The crowds will be huge - and the French riders in particular will be very motivated. With the leaders minds on tomorrow’s time trial a small break could well steal the day.

Daily Peloton’s Stage Prediction

Laurent Brochard has been showing some useful form - he may well lead a charge in the last 20 kilometres that sweeps up what is left of any escapees and power on to stage glory.

Tour Talk

“Commissaire” - one of many officials whose job is to detect and punish riders’ misdemeanours (such as holding on to the team car for a free ride, taking short cuts, etc., etc.)

Local Hero

Bernard Hinault

Born: 14 Nov 1954, Yffignac, Cotes du Nord, Brittany, France

Nickname: The Badger, Le Blaireau

Retired: 14 Nov 1986

Teams: Gitane, Gitane-Campagnolo, Renault-Gitane, Renault-Elf-Gitane, La Vie Claire

Hinault currently works for the Tour de France as the man in charge of services sportifs. In addition to his official duties (which seem to be directing podium affairs - a job he is uniquely qualified to do), he is often seen in the press room - he has developed a knack of issuing the odd outrageous comment that keeps him in the news but never to over step the mark.

Since he retired he claims never to have ridden a bike.

5 times Tour winner and true Giant of the road - interesting to see what the Badger achieved in just one year so let's look at 1979.

1979: 1st Tour de France + 7 stages + Points, 1st Giro di Lombardia, 1st Fleche Wallonne, 1st Grand Prix des Nations, 1st Dauphine Libere + 4 stages, 1st Tour de l'Oise, 1st Circuit de l'Indre, 1st Circuit de l'Aulne, 2nd French Road Race Championship, 2nd Liege-Bastogne-Liege, 2nd Tour of Luxembourg + 1 stage + Points + Mountains, 2nd Criterium National, 3rd Tour du Tarn, 3rd Across Lausanne, 6th Etoile des Espoirs, 6th Paris-Nice, 6th Paris-Tours, 7th Milano-San Remo, 8th Ghent-Wevelgem, 8th GP Wallonnie, 10th Polymultipliee, 10th Grand Prix de Grasse, 21st World Road Race Championship, 1st Prestige Pernod, 1st Super Prestige Pernod, 1st in 13 criteriums.

For an excellent account of Hinault in Liege Bastogne Liege visit this site.

Full Tour coverage can be found on our Tour de France Main Page here.


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