A beautiful landscape
"A flat stage that's not too long (179km), which in theory should be the preserve of the sprinters, because bunch finishes are obviously one part of cycling that shouldn't be neglected. The landscape will be beautiful: we will be passing through the Baux-de-Provence. That said, it would be dangerous to view this stage simply as one of transition? The heat, which can be extreme, could have a role to play, especially after 219km the day before! And there's always the chance the wind can get up. On an almost identical course, the wind almost played a very nasty trick on Contador in 2009? However, logic would suggest the candidates for the green jersey will feast on this stage."
The towns / A sporting view
With the benefit of a privileged climate, Aix-en-Provence is an elegant town with its streets and lively squares. Here you can combine the pleasures of taking a stroll and window shopping with a noble heritage, enjoy a drink on the terraces whilst admiring the architectural beauty. Every fountain has its secrets, every hotel its own stories. The walled towns abound with parcs and gardens. Aix is a canvas of happiness, with the colours of the festivals, fetes and traditions, Provencal markets and delicious treats. It is also a meeting with Cézanne, a chance to live amongst the places and countryside that feature in the works of the father of modern painting. Surrounding Aix you have the chance to discover the castles, chapels and other local heritage treasures. A stroll will become a taste sensation between great restaurants, provençale specialities and AOC classified vineyards. You will love the perched villages where the studios of artists and craftsmen are nestled, the Route Cézanne and its panoramas, the landscapes of the Sainte-Victoire during walks through the massif and the Mediterranean forest.
Sub-prefecture of Bouches-du-Rhône (13)
Specialities: calissons (nougat), water, daube (stew), pesto sauce, aioli (garlic mayonnaise).
Signature: City of water, city of arts.
Nickname: Town with 1,000 fountains.
Economy: nuclear power in Cadarache, computer centres, university, administrations.
Sport: Argonautes (American football), Pays d'Aix Rugby Club, Pays d'Aix 13 Basket, AVC Aix (cycling).
Celebrities: Roi Rene, Mirabeau (French Revolution leader), Paul Cezanne (painter), Emile Zola (writer), François-Marius Granet (painter), Henri Michel (football), Franck Cammas (yachting), Arnaud Clement (tennis).
Festivals: International festival of lyric art, Festival of French chanson, Zic Zac Festival, Rencontres du Neuvième Art (comics).
Mountain passes & hillsNo mountain passes and hills referenced in this stage
The Languedoc region, as all along the shores of the Mediterranean, is an ancient land of people and of passage. It took 10 centuries to turn what was originally agricultural territory, le Monte Pestelario into the Montpellier of today. With a rich history, sometimes tumultuous, sometimes dramatic, often brilliant, Montpellier, the regional and economic capital, is, at the start of the third millennium, a metropolis that ranks eighth in France for the number of inhabitants. It won't fail to seduce you, from its medieval streets to its new developments combining green spaces and prestigious buildings designed by the greatest international architects. Served by trams designed by the Designer Christian Lacroix, Montpellier is leapfrogging its way to the front line of modernity : information technology and biotechnologies make up its main growth areas and enable it to forge an image of a young and entrepreneurial city. A city that is equally dynamic in culture and sport.
Prefecture of Herault (34)
Specialties: Coteaux du Languedoc wines (Pic Saint-Loup, St Chinian, Faugères), grisettes (sweets), Montpellier butter (flavoured with herbs and anchovy)
Economy: Universities, research, new technologies.
Sports clubs: Montpellier Handball, Montpellier Herault Sport Club (football, L1), Montpellier Hérault rugby club (Top 14).
Celebrities: Rabelais, Andre Gide, Paul Valery, Jean-Antoine Chaptal,.
Jean-Jacques de Cambaceres (18th century lawyer and politician), Auguste Comte (philosopher), Juliette Greco (singer), Michel Galabru (actor), Stephane Goubert (cyclist).
Festivals: Comedie du livre (bookfair), Dance festival, Festival Quartiers libres. Printemps des comediens (June), Brass band festival (June), Electromind (July), Festival Mediterranean Cinema (October)
Jersey wearers after the stage 20
Corporate social responsibility
Since it was founded, Amaury Sport Organisation has been involved in various sponsorship and philanthropy activities. It is the generosity of sport that can be found in a certain number of initiatives aiming to invest in the workings of the disciplines themselves (sponsorship of the French Federation of Cycling), in a humanitarian and social framework, (Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, Actions Dakar, Un Techo Para Mi Pais) or in the environmental sphere (Madre De Dios, selective sorting, etc.). Read more
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