• 17 times a stage town in Morzine
• 6 times a stage site in the resort of Avoriaz
• Population: 3,000
• Town in Haute-Savoie (74)
Morzine-Avoriaz and the Tour have enjoyed a solid alliance since 1975, as this will be the Tour’s twenty fourth visit, and a rest day to boot. Climbers have always triumphed here and the only one to have triumphed twice is Richard Virenque. Two winners in Morzine are no longer with us: Thierry Claveyrolat, who achieved one of his finest victories here in 1991, and Marco Pantani, who triumphed here in 1997. In 1988, thanks to his win in Morzine, Fabio Parra became the first Colombian rider to finish on the Tour podium.
Morzine, a preserved mountain environment
Morzine is located half-way between Lake Leman and Mont-Blanc. This authentic Savoy village, situated at an altitude of 1,000 m, has maintained its charm thanks to traditional architecture made of wooden chalets, with roofs often made of local slate. At the heart of the Portes du Soleil (the gates to the sun) and their 650 km of ski slopes, Morzine is ideal for all winter sports, such as family skiing holidays, snow-shoe hikes, as well as hang-gliding, but is also a warm and friendly place for recharging your batteries. Although white in winter, Morzine is bursting with colour in the summer. You can climb its slopes on foot or bike, plunge into its streams for gorge scrambling, rafting or other white water sports, or swing through the trees at the aerial adventure park. To get to know the heritage of Morzine better, weekly visits allow visitors to discover the old quarters, slate-making workshops, cheese-makers (of tome, abondance and reblochon) and themed trails reveal the riches of the natural environment on the banks of the Dranse as well as the to-and-fro of migratory birds.
• Once a stage town
• Population: 9,400
• Sub-prefecture of Savoie (73)
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne has notably seen the birth of expert slalom racers, like Jean-Noël Augert and Jean-Baptiste Grange, but the close proximity of the Croix-de-Fer, Télégraphe, Lautaret, Madeleine, Glandon, Iseran, Mont-Cenis and Galibier mountain passes have always made it a natural cycling ground. The start of a stage in 2006, the Savoyard city will this year have the honour of hosting a stage finish.
At the heart of the biggest cycling area available to climbers, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne has a veritable passion for cycling. Galibier, Télégraphe, Madeleine, Glandon, Croix-de-Fer, Iseran… it is at the crossroads of all these mythical passes and famous climbs, for the utmost delight of sports cyclists, touring cyclists, mountain bikers or simply spectators. Furthermore, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne boasts the rich heritage of a Town of Art and History: the cathedral and gothic cloisters, a crypt that was a cradle to Romanesque art, the suit museum, the Mont-Corbier museum (a liqueur made out of plants gathered from the surrounding mountains) and, of course, the Opinel museum, devoted to the now world famous knife invented more than a century ago a stone’s throw away from the town. Lastly, in a year that marks the 150th anniversary of the annexation of Savoy by France, in 2010 Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne will be organising many events in addition to the traditional Saint-Jean Bread Festival that takes place on the 5th of August.