Stage 2 - Sunday, July 3: Challans - Les Essarts, 181.5 km

The first road stage of the Tour hugs the west coast for about half the stage before heading inland for the finish in Les Essarts, a town associated with battles during the French Revolution. There's sure to be a battle royale going on at about 5pm on Sunday as Davitamon-Lotto's Robbie McEwen, Quickstep's Tom Boonen and Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd have their first hit-out at the end of this flat stage, which shouldn't pose too many problems for any of the riders. There'll most likely be a surprise race leader on Sunday evening as most GC riders stay safely tucked away in the middle of the bunch, allowing the showmen to have their time in the sun.

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