- The race 2011
- All about the race
Château de la Verrerie – home of the Carmausin federation of municipalities, close to the glass museum© Communauté de Communes du Carmausin
• Stage town for the first time
• 3, 200 inhabitants
• Commune of Tarn (81)
The origins of Blaye-les-Mines date back to the building of a royal country house at the start of the fourteenth century. It’s only some time later, in the nineteenth century, that the true destiny of this municipality – its coal-mining and glass-making industries – would become clear. From this glorious past, the town retains plenty of reminders. The Sainte-Marie mine shaft, for example, built in 1922 and restored in 2008, used to transport thousands of miners and bring up tonnes of coal. Restored to remember the town’s mining past, its restoration won Blaye-les-Mines the Grand Prix de Patrimoine in 2009, in recognition of its pride in its heritage.
Le Domaine de la Verrerie – the old glass-works – is today a museum. It had been built by the coalmine’s owners to diversify its activities and make glass bottles.
Cap’Découverte, a huge open-pit mine, replaced the underground coal-mines, shifting millions of cubic metres of earth. The huge crater measured a kilometre in diameter, and was 150 metres deep, but has now been transformed into a popular theme park of the same name.
Sébastian Minard‘s victory in a stage of the 2005 Tour de l’Avenir in this village of the coal field of Carmaux may not have been due to luck. The French cyclist may have drawn inspiration and energy from Blaye-les-Mines to set out to achieve his first victory on the Tour. This may also have been the case for the Estonian rider Rein Taaramäe, who won the individual time-trial there during the 2008 Tour de l’Avenir.
Lavaur town centre© Mairie de Lavaur
• Stage town on 1 previous occasion
• 10, 800 inhabitants
• Cantonal subdivision of Tarn (81)
A town of undeniably rich history, Lavaur takes its name from the Gallic word ’vobero’, meaning a hidden stream. The town has a strong identity, which it has always retained while at the same time always looking forward. Capital of the Pays de Cocagne, Lavaur was always a stronghold of catharism faith before playing host to a bishop for five centuries.
The cultivation of woad, vineyards and agriculture all combine to form the identity of what is now a resolutely twenty-first century town, and home to the dermo-cosmetic Centre d’Innovation et de Développement des Laboratoires Pierre Fabre. Spanning tradition and modernity, Lavaur offers both its inhabitants and visitors all the amenities of a modern city, while remaining aware of the need to be environmentally friendly. Thanks to the rich social and cultural life it offers, and its shops and amenities, Lavaur allows everyone to feel a real attachment to this town, the national and international reputation of which is becoming increasingly important.
During the unique arrival of the Tour de France in Lavaur in 2001, the Belgian cyclist Rik Verbrugghe went on to win the stage which had begun in Pau following a long breakaway. The peloton then left the Pyrenees, where a famous rider from Tarn called Laurent Jalabert had put on the polka dot jersey. In fact, just a few years before, when the Critérium International was held in Tarn, Laurent Jalabert was successful in Lavaur, in 1995. Although he only finished 3rd in the individual time-trial which was won in the town by Pascal Lance, “Jaja” had already secured the overall victory by winning the first two stages.