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Vuelta Stage 2: Sprinters Thrown a Bone

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It’s a French coastal romp as the Vuelta warms up

Gruissan Salt Marsh
Mike Kemp, Corbis/Getty

Stage 2: Nîmes — Gruissan, 203km

“OMG, we’re in France?! I know a way out. Follow me!”

Map:

Vuelta Stage 2

No profile needed today, unless you are unfamiliar with pancakes.

What’s It About?

Coastal romp. Pretty straight, nothing in the way of major features, just a long, warm day in the saddle. Maybe with a nice coastal breeze?

Did You Know?

Gruissan sits by a salt marsh called the Etang de l’Ayrolle, which itself is barely separated from another system of marshes that lead all the way to Narbonne, the largest town in this section of the Aude. Narbonne was not quite founded by the Romans but was adopted as the port of choice by Juluis Caesar, in part because Pompey was a major benefactor of Marseille. So much of history comes down to spite.

Anyway, Narbonne eventually stopped being a port sometime in the 14th century when the flow of the Aude River shifted further east at Salelles instead of flowing through Narbonne when a dam built by the Romans diverting the flow westward was lost in a flood. This led to the port being cut off from the town of Narbonne, which was some serious shit back then, until the locals constructed the Canal de la Robine, which linked Narbonne to the sea again, which was an even bigger deal because of the linkage from there to the Canal du Midi, which basically made Narbonne a huge wine-exporting port.

Canal du Midi

Pick to Win

Magnus Cort Nielsen. He’s one of three sprinters in the race and I have already picked Degenkolb on the PodCafSt, so for the sake of inconsistency I’ll switch to the Dane.