Stage 6: Tours - Châteauroux
Date: July 1, 2021
Stage timing: 13:55 - 17:26 CEDT
Stage type: Flat
Stage 6 preview video
After a day’s break, the focus of the Tour should switch back to the sprinters on this short blast south from the Loire through the Berry region that’s one of France’s most significant agricultural areas. It has huge flat fields often raked by winds that could give the peloton some substantial momentum but, equally, could produce havoc if they’re gusting across the course.
In early summer, the conditions should be relatively benign as the riders roll out of the cathedral city of Tours and head eastwards along the Loire, passing through the Vouvray winelands and into châteaux country. Amboise and Chenonceaux are just two of the beautiful castles and houses that will feature on France Télévisions’ coverage of the first half of the race.
Approaching the only categorised climb of the day, the cat 4 Côte de Saint-Aignan, the route begins to turn to the south. It scampers to Écueillé, where a turn to the east could provide an opportunity for quick-thinking teams to line the bunch out and create echelons, if the wind is offering any favours. The peloton will hurtle through the intermediate sprint at Luçay-le-Mâle and on to Valençay, where they’ll south again for an almost direct run into Châteauroux, where Mark Cavendish took the first of his 30 stage wins in the 2008 Tour.
At this time of year, the prevailing wind is from the north and east, so there’s still a chance for splits to occur on the final 60km gallop towards the finish. Whether the peloton stays together or not, it’s not likely that a breakaway group will be able to hold a gap to the finish. The sprinters don’t get many chances at the Tour and they will be determined not to let this one evade them.
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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