3-time stage city
Sous-préfecture of Maine-et-Loire (49)
56 300 inhabitants
Named “most sporting city of France” on three occasions (1972, 2007 and 2014) by daily sports newspaper L’Equipe, Cholet had already shown its vocation a long time ago, welcoming the Tour de France for the first time in 1936 with a stage won by Félicien Vervaecke, also a two-time best climber of the event (1935, 1937) and wearer of the Yellow jersey during six days before loosing it to Gino Bartali in 1938. For its last visit in 2008, the peloton had started stage 5 from Cholet not knowing that it would be a historic day: several hours later, Mark Cavendish triumphed in Chateauroux and started his impressive series of 30 stage victories. The Brit remains the biggest collector of wins still riding and the second of all time behind Eddy Merckx.