Stage 2 :: Sunday July 5, 2009
187km :: Monaco - Brignoles
First full stage of the tour, running from Monaco to Brignoles. If you were to look at the map, you would see that we're just a hairs-breath below the Cime de la Bonette-Restefond, Stage 16 of the '08 edition, as well as just south of the region of Cuneo, Italy from stage 10 of this year's edition of the Giro that ran from Cuneo to Pinerolo. We're heading away from that region, though, heading down the coast of the south of France a tad to Brignoles.
The stage looks quite lumpy actually, like all those lumpy Italiano tappes from a few weeks ago. Peak on the flip for a view of the goods.
Gavia saves me doing any real work...
This year’s Tour de France remains close to the coast during its first week. This second stage begins in Monaco and runs west along the coast, passing through Nice, before heading slightly inland to finish in Brignoles. The profile includes four categorized climbs to tempt the attackers. The sprinters’ teams face a difficult day, and this stage offers the possibility, though slim, that a breakaway could survive to the finish in Brignoles.
This year marks the first visit of the Tour de France to the city of Brignoles, which lies inland from the coast and about equidistant from Toulon, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille. During the Middle Ages, the Comtes de Provence made Brignoles their primary residence and it was renowned its plums. The official tourist site lists cycling among its recommended activities. Coincidence? I think not.
Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 2 Preview at Steephill.tv
Here's the overview of the stage, Monaco in the east, Brignoles to the west.
While it looks sort of flat, it's more of a mushy stage, rolling and uneven.
First up is a climb up 481m to La Turbie, immediately above Monaco.
The riders give up all 481 of those meters though, as they descend straight down to the Traguardo Volante (not sure how to say it en Français) in the sleepy little town of Nice.
After running down right on the waterfront, the contendahs take a sharp turn and head up to the cat 4 Côte de Roquefort-les-Pins, all 218m of it..
Then, there's another intermediate sprint in Fayence, followed by a puckish little bit of gastronomie in Garron.
The lumpiness continues over the Cat 4 Col de l'Ange (more of a slight ridge than anything else), 206m, and then continues on to the third sprint of the day in Lorgues.
Final bit is this right here; what's a sprint finish that doesn't include a sharp right hander with road furniture followed by a swooping left hand curve to a 100m straight finish. In case you're wondering how to find the finishing straight on a satellite map... always look for the area with the biggest parking lot :)