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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.

Images ©:AFP

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