Appearances should not allays be trusted. Paris-Nice finishes in Belleville so far mostly crowned ace sprinters like Fabio Baldato, Gert Steegmans, Robbie McEwen or Tom Boonen. But the course of today's 4th stage is entirely different making anything possible in the vineyards of the Beaujolais. The addition of hills and bumps in the last 60 kilometres offers plenty of opportunities for the bold and ambitious to try their luck from afar. A long break or a show of strength by the favourites on the steep Mont Brouilly, 14 kms from the line, are also a possibility. In such conditions, the task...Read more
Located two hours south of Paris, Nevers is the prefecture city of the department of Nièvre and the third largest one in Burgundy. Each year, this charming city welcomes many tourists who come to discover its heritage and architecture. Besides Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte Cathedral and the Ducal Palace, considered to be one of the Loire Valley's finest châteaux, Nevers is home to a recently renovated museum dedicated to earthenware – a local speciality ever since the end of the 16th century. The distinguishing feature of their earthenware is the famous "Nevers Blue", which is obtained using a bath of enamel with cobalt blue. At the heart of a dynamic urban area with 72,000 inhabitants, Nevers attaches special importance to cultural development, holding events such as the D'Jazz Festival and Les Zaccros D'ma Rue Street Art Festival. The Loire, which flows through the city, is the site of various sporting and outdoor pursuits, while the city itself offers many facilities for tourism and leisure, the best example being the Canal du Nivernais cycling path, which runs through the countryside for 180 km.
In between the Saône and the vineyards, served by major roads and around 50 km from Lyon, Belleville (8,000 inhabitants) belongs to the Beaujolais wine-producing region and is also the seat of the Beaujolais-Val de Saône Federation of Municipalities. Founded in the 12th century by Humbert III, Sire de Beaujeu, it soon became a hub for trade and commerce in the Middle Ages thanks to its merchants, its coopers and its river port. It was during the same period that the abbey-church of the Assumption, an edifice characteristic of Norman architecture, was built, while the Hôtel-Dieu bears witness to the 18th-century tradition of hospitality. Proud of its landscape, its values and its Beaujolais traditions, Belleville promotes respect for the environment and is also notable for its rich community life, which places emphasis on reinforcing social links between people of all ages through sports and culture. Moreover, in May the town will be organising the 15th edition of the Montgolfiades du Beaujolais, an international gathering of hot-air balloons that will delight visitors of all ages!
Jersey wearers after the stage 3
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