Stage 2: Auray - Saint Brieuc
Once again, the rolling and hilly roads of Brittany will dominate this stage as it crosses the region from south to north from the Atlantic coast to that of the English Channel. Like yesterday's stage, the course features a number of small climbs including the third category Mûr-de-Bretagne. The sprinters' teams will be keen to deliver their fast-men to the finish line first; so a breakaway win here will be difficult.
Auray hosts the Tour for the first time, although it did host the start of last year's Hexagonal VTT (the MTB equivalent of the Tour). The town is situated on the coast of the southern Brittany department of Morbihan. It has a pretty harbour and is filled with atmospheric and narrow cobbled streets.
Saint-Brieuc has been a stage town ten times before, most recently in 2004 when Italian Filippo Pozzato (then Fassa Bortolo, now Liquigas) out-sprinted his two Spanish breakaway companions Iker Flores (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears-Banesto). This part of Brittany has the births of both of cycling's Hinaults to its credit: Bernard, the five-time Tour de France winner, was born seven-kilometre away, and Crédit Agricole rider Sébastien was born in the town 20 years later – they are not related.
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