July 02, Stage 1:
Passage du Gois La Barre-de-Monts - Mont des Alouettes Les Herbiers 191km
- Cycling News
June 21, 2011, 1:45 BST,
June 30, 2011, 18:39 BST
Passage du Gois – Mont des Alouettes
All change on day one
The Tour starts with a road stage rather than the traditional prologue time trial and with an uphill finish too. The day starts in unusual fashion as well, with the riders parading over the Passage du Gois, which disappears under the high tide. When underway, the riders initially follow the coast, where the wind could have an impact, before heading inland to Les Herbiers and the finish on the Mont des Alouettes, where classics powerhouses such as Tom Boonen and Thor Hushovd will be pitted against puncheurs like Philippe Gilbert.
Distance: 191.5 km
Highest point: 257m
Bernhard Eisel says...
"A causeway – what a crazy place to start the Tour! Crosswinds along the coast, big chance of echelons, let the madness begin! Everybody will say 'I've never seen so many crashes' but of course we have – every year during the first week at the Tour."
Matt White says...
"A tricky start to what is always a stressful week. Hard to go past the big powerhouses such as Hushovd, Sagan and Boasson Hagen."