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.
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
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.
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!
“Demarrage” - An escape or breakaway by a rider or group of riders that
gains an advantage on the rest of the field.
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
to see the Museum.
dedicated to one of the Giants of the road - great pictures and information
on this cycling legend.
1950: 1st French Road Race Championship, 3rd Tour de France +
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
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
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
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
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.
“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.)
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
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
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
For an excellent account of Hinault in Liege Bastogne Liege visit this
Full Tour coverage can be found on our Tour de France Main Page