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
More than fifty years have elapsed since the Tour last passed by in 1962, during a stage mapped out in the opposite direction, coming from Montpellier. More recently, Cézanne’s town was the backdrop for a spectacular moment which has since gone down in cycling history. Aged only 20, Peter Sagan competed in his first major stage race during the 2010 Paris-Nice and scored his second professional victory in Aix-en-Provence – this just two days after his first stunning win in Aurillac.
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 Hérault prefecture town, which first appeared on the Tour map in 1930, has since been chosen to host stages between the Alps and the Pyrenees or vice-versa. Sprinters have often seized this chance to test their prowess. Several Green Jersey winners have left their mark on Montpellier – a list which includes André Darrigade, Olaf Ludwig or the likes of Robbie McEwen. In 2011, during the Tour’s last visit to Montpellier, Mark Cavendish captured one of his five stage victories.
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
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