The last two stages that finished in Saint-Flour could be written in capital letters in the history book of French cycling. The 2004 one had been brilliantly claimed by Richard Virenque after a 67-km solo breakaway that would also help him capture his seventh polka-dot jersey. At the time, Thomas Voeckler was wearing yellow… and would precisely reconquer that jersey in 2011 in Saint-Flour.
The prefecture of Tarn was voted “most sporting city of France” in 2012 by newspaper L’Équipe and that was just after being added to the UNESCO World Heritage list for the majesty of its Sainte-Cécile cathedral, described as the largest brick building in the world. It was the following year that the last finish in Albi was judged and was dominated by Peter Sagan. The Slovakian didn’t know then that he would have to wait three years before once again raising his arms on the Tour!
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