- The race 2011
- All about the race
Jerzual© Ville de Dinan
• Stage town on 6 previous occasions
• 11, 600 inhabitants
• Sub-prefecture of Côtes-d’Armor (22)
Perched on a hillside overlooking the River Rance, Dinan boasts one Brittany’s richest architectural heritages, and doesn’t hide its pride for its city walls, with its 14 watchtowers, its four colossal gates and its imposing keep, constructed in the fourteenth century for Duke Jean IV. With its ancient streets lined with fifteenth- and sixteenth-century timber-framed houses with pointed gables, corbelled floors and wooden porches, its Renaissance hotels, its tall Enlightenment period residences, its churches, its old convents and its chapels, Dinan has retained its charm of yesteryear. It is a city which visitors never forget. Steeped in history, it has consistently fought off invaders who have tried to plunder its riches. And mediaeval area of Dinan is a veritable time machine, inviting visitors to follow in the footsteps of such greats as Bertrand du Guesclin, Duchess Anne of Chateaubriand and Auguste Pavie. Dinan is a fine place to lose yourself while walking.
The town is the birthplace for the French Women’s Champion on many occasions, Edwige Pitel, but its history with cycling began long before that date. Every year, between 1927 and 1931, the Tour stopped in the small port on the banks of the River Rance, where five different winners were crowned. The Tour’s last visit there was in 1995, with the start of a stage which finished in Lannion that was won by Fabio Baldato. Since then, the leading cyclists have continued to go to Dinan, for the Ruban Granitier Breton which has since become the Tour of Brittany.
Lisieux basilica© G.WAIT
• Stage town on 3 previous occasions
• 24, 000 inhabitants
• Sub-prefecture of Calvados (14)
The Pays d’Auge, of which Lisieux is the capital, is real Normandy picture-postcard territory – a preserved natural environment, and home to horses, cows, cheeses and apple trees, combining everything that the collective imagination of Normandy conjures up, and complemented with a quite exceptional geographical location. Thanks to its position at the heart of the triangle which makes up Normandy’s three main cities – Caen, Rouen and Le Havre – Lisieux is more than justified in selling itself as being at the heart of Normandy life. It’s a human-sized town, with easy access to such amenities as a theatre, an aquatics centre, activity halls, a nursery school and access to higher education, combining to offer a privileged lifestyle.
It’s both a ’country town’, with plenty of parks and open spaces, and a town with plenty of shops, enjoying a good level of tourism thanks to its international reputation as France’s most visited site of pilgrimage after Lourdes. A diverse, dynamic and modern city, Lisieux prides itself on looking after its visitors as well as it does its own inhabitants.
The renowned pilgrimage city of Lisieux will welcome the Tour’s cyclists for the fourth time. In 1964 just like in 1970, the two arrivals which took place there were both after «Breton-Norman» stages, had a sprint finish and were won by Belgian cyclists, Edouard Sels and Walter Godefroot. During the Tour’s last visit there in 2006, the race route went in the opposite direction, starting in Lisieux and finishing in Vitré and another sprinter was victorious there: Robbie McEwen, the most Belgian of Australian cyclists.