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Tour Stage 11 Preview: Vatan - Saint-Fargeau

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Stage 11 :: Wednesday July 15, 2009
192km :: Vatan - Saint-Fargeau

The only thing that is going to make this snooze-fest of a stage interesting is the fact that it's occurring on payday, so at least you can write checks to your local utilities while waiting for Cav to win the stage. Seriously, this stage should be run from Chateau de Zzzzzz to Saint-Meh.

What do we have on offer? More Cat.4 hills that are more duck fart than anything else, again placed on the map by yours truly using a divining rod, as there is no topographical change to be seen. Look at the Google terrain map for the second KOM point on tomorrow's stage. The only topo lines in the area are both at 300m, with the KOM point, the Côte de Perreuse, laying at 342m.  Hell, I could ride that... on Jimbo's Indy-Fab! (Jimbo wouldn't let me ride his Pinarello, because Jimbo doesn't have a Pinarello)

Hey, Gavia... why don't you look over there while I provocatively purloin your preview...

The Tour traverses central France during this second week of the race, and heads east toward the border with Germany. This stage begins in Vatan and travels northeast to finish in Saint-Fargeau. Two categorized climbs enliven the proceedings, though they are unlikely to prove decisive in the end. This stage should end in a sprint. The final kilometer is slightly bowl-shaped, with a slight descent than a false-flat climb to the line. In the event of a headwind, timing the sprint correctly could prove tricky. Either way, it’s a finish for the fast men and an opportunity to chase points in the Green Jersey competition.

Both Vatan and Saint-Fargeau are Tour de France virgins. Neither town has ever hosted a Tour start or finish before this year. Vatan lies in the Champagne berrichonne, an open space of plainsland in central France. Also known as Septaine, this region is traversed by the Cher and Indre rivers and dotted with small villages and towns. Vatan is home to not much more than 2000 inhabitants.

Saint-Fargeau is similarly small, though it boasts a chateau dating from the tenth century. The Chateau de Saint-Fargeau holds annual festivals re-enacting events from its lengthy history, from knights in armor to American military vehicles from the Liberation. Saint-Fargeau is also known for its water-sports on the nearby lac du Bourdon.

Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 11 Preview at Steephill.tv

Again, as with today's stage to Isildur, there's not much for me to say, beyond flogging the parcourse for not replacing these crap stages with something like the rolling stages that Di Luca animated so well in this year's Giro, so I'll just lay out the tiles for you to clickety-pop, and then let you get on with Bah'ing your Cavendish below. 

From what I can see, the only significant point of interest is the finish.  According to the graphic published by ASO, the riders go through a 50m deep bowl over the last 2km on the way to the line, resulting in a bit of a false flat to the finish.  Probably won't make a bit of difference, but it's the only unique aspect to this pianissimo stage.

Girbecco says: Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnns!!!!!!!!!!!