100 days before the Grand Départ takes place in Brest on 26 June, followed by four stages that will take the race to each of the four departments that make up Brittany, a ceremony has been held to give the region a sneak peek of the atmosphere of the Tour. Yellow is the colour of the moment in Brest and the other seven Breton towns and cities due to host the 2021 Tour. Brittany will also be rolling the red carpet for the elite of women's cycling after a course from Saint-Brieuc to Mûr-de-Bretagne was chosen for the eighth edition of La Course by le Tour de France powered by FDJ. Maxoo, the Tour de France mascot, is looking forward to engaging with young supporters in summer and also chose Brittany for its first public appearance. It will already get to know a few of them tomorrow at the fourth edition of the Dictée du Tour.
BREST PAINTS THE TOWN YELLOW… BIG TIME!
Brittany is already festooning its streets in the colours of the Tour de France with 100 days to go before the flag drops. The president of the Regional Council, Loïg Chesnais-Girard, and the mayor of Brest, François Cuillandre, marked the occasion by kicking off the countdown together with Christian Prudhomme with the unveiling of a yellow jersey on the facade of Brest City Hall —a supersized one, as you would expect at the tip of Finistère. Even riders with big frames would find it hard to pull on this version of the golden fleece, over seven metres high. Smaller but still huge yellow jerseys will be exhibited at Le Family in Landerneau, the Museum of Brittany in Perros-Guirec, the Château de Mur-de-Bretagne and Lorient Town Hall to greet the director of the Tour in the next few days, as he continues his peregrination around the eight Breton towns and cities due to host the race.
LA COURSE BY LE TOUR DE FRANCE POWERED BY FDJ HEADS TO SAINT-BRIEUC
Races such as the Grand Prix de Plumelec, the Grand Prix de Plouay and the Women's Tour de Bretagne have already given some elite riders the opportunity to race in the hallowed sites of Breton cycling. Now, a new high-profile challenge awaits them on the Mûr-de-Bretagne on 27 June, when the eighth edition of the race will pit them against a circuit course stretching for about 120 kilometres and featuring no fewer than five ascents of the fabled climb following the start in Saint-Brieuc. After shining on the Champs-Élysées, taming the Col d'Izoard and tackling a circuit race at the foot of the Pyrenees since the inaugural edition in 2014, the peloton of La Course by le Tour powered by FDJ will now face the "Alpe d'Huez of Brittany".
MAXOO BECOMES THE MASCOT OF THE GRANDE BOUCLE
The Tour de France wants to reach out to cycling connoisseurs, but especially the millions of viewers who, in classic years, contribute to creating the atmosphere as much as they enjoy it. Children are perhaps the biggest fans of the shows and activities of the publicity caravan. This time round, they will get to meet a new mascot eager to come and mingle with them, for example, at the start and finish areas as long as the health situation allows it. Maxoo roots for the champions of the Grande Boucle and wants nothing more than to share its passion with young fans on the roadside. Its first stop was Brest, where it revelled in the celebrations of the 100-days to go mark.
A WHOPPING 26,000 STUDENTS TAKE PART IN THE DICTÉE
The fourth edition of the Dictée du Tour since its inception in 2017, due to be held on Friday 19 March, will be a record-breaking one. Despite the strict health regulations in force, the teachers of the Tour host towns and cities pulled out all the stops to organise this dictation contest based on an article from the regional press in their classrooms. Athletes and current or former pro riders have stepped up to the plate to read the texts to the students either in person or on video: Thomas Boudat in Gironde, Audrey Cordon-Ragot in Côtes-d'Armor, Nans Peters and Mélina Robert-Michon in Isère or Pavel Sivakov in Saint-Gaudens are just a few examples. The top eight students in each stage will be invited to the race… as long as the situation allows it.
TOUR UPGRADES TO ALL-HYBRID ŠKODA FLEET
The 2021 edition will mark a new milestone in the Tour's endeavour to reduce its carbon footprint. Last year, all 29 organisation vehicles in the race convoy were equipped with hybrid engines. Building on the success of these experiments and the development of Czech auto maker Škoda's hybrid range, the teams of the Tour will be switching to an all-hybrid fleet composed of 150 Superb and Octavia plug-in hybrids. Moreover, as a sign of things to come in this ambitious project, three fully electric red cars will be used in eight stages between Brittany and Paris.