For about a century, the only boring bike races in Brittany were the stages of the Tour de France because the organizers were choosing mostly wide roads rather than a lumpy terrain for subtle cycling.
Riders used to pass Mûr-de-Bretagne in the middle of a stage, surrounded by thousands of fans carrying "gwen ha du" (white and black) regional flags. Since the Big Start in Brest 10 years ago, the hot bed of French cycling is also an interesting one when the Tour comes to town.
Mûr-de-Bretagne was featured as a stage finish in 2011 with eventual overall winner Cadel Evans winning ahead of Alberto Contador and Alexandre Vinokourov on top of the "Breton Alpe d'Huez". The 2km climb saw the victory of Alexis Vuillermoz on 2015, moreover, Chris Froome proved to be the strongest before hitting the big mountains.
For the first time, the climb is to be done twice, with a time bonus sprint three kilometres after the first passage. GC contenders can't hide there.
Matt White says: I can see a small group contesting the stage win here, and most likely a reduced group like the one that decided the stage here in 2015 and 2011. It’s the sort of stage that suits your one-day specialist but also your punchy climber. For us, someone like Impey or Yates could do well but the focus on this stage is all about keeping your position near the front of the action.