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Tour de France 2011

Sud Vendee.. Haut Bocage.. Coastal Region.. Marais Poitevin.. Marais Breton.. Bas Bocage.. Plaine.. Marais Olonne..

The 98th edition of the Tour de France will start on the 2nd July 2011 on the Ile de Noirmoutier. In all there will be 3 days when the race will be in the Vendee. There will also be 3 days prior to the race when there will be a chance to view the contestants.

Dates for your diary Wednesday 29th June: Opening of the reception centre and press
                              centre at Les Herbiers, in the Etenduère sports complex.

                              Thursday 30th June: Presentation of the Tour de France 2011
                              teams at Le Puy du Fou

                              Saturday 2nd July: First stage, Passage du Gois - Mont des
                              Alouettes, 180 km

                              Sunday 3rd July: Second stage, Les Essarts, Team time-trial, 23 km

                              Monday 4th July: Third stage starts in Olonne-sur-Mer.

                   The Race

Day1. Sturday 2nd July
The starting ceremony will take place in Fromentine followed by a parade along the island of Noirmoutier.The Start is across the 4kms of le Gois, the causeway that connect the island to the mainland and which is only accessible at low tide. Then, once they have returned to solid ground, the pack will wind its way through the Vendée, firstly along mainly flat roads towards the south, before heading northeast towards Les Herbiers through more rolling countryside. The finishing line will be based at Mont des Alouettes whose summit stands at 232 metres. The Mont des Alouettes was a strategically important site during the Wars of the Vendée (1793-1796).

Day 2. Sunday 3rd July
Les Essarts. Day 2 sees the return of the team time trials in a 23km loop around the town west side of the town and going through Boulogne and la Merlatiere and finishing back in Les Essarts.

Day3. Monday 4th July.
Les Sables d'Olonne hosts the start of day 3. The contestants will travel some 80kms in a north easterly direction passing through Coex, Apremont, Maché, Palluau, Les Lucs-sur-Boulogne & Rocheservière
, before parting the Vendee.

Notes From Phillippe de Villiers

It is with great pride and joy that the Vendée and its inhabitants will once again welcome the finest cycle race in the world, one of the three most prestigious sporting events on the planet!
Over twenty centuries, our department has had an open outlook on the world through its vast Atlantic façade. And it is from this coast that every year the yachtsmen and women of the Vendée Globe set sail, these conquerors of the "Everest of the seas" who captivate the public in the four corners of the earth.
The Tour de France belongs to this tradition of discovering wide open spaces that is so dear to the hearts of people from the Vendée, in which the riders set off on an adventure through the most diverse landscapes of our country, at times crossing the borders with our European neighbours.
The "Big Loop", this centennial race with its journey through varying scenery, its folklore and traditions, its stars and unknowns shoulder to shoulder, is, in its own special way, a sort of conservatory of the living heritage of our country, a strong point of our national culture and a vital bond-making element.
As the support of the public shows, it is entirely unimaginable that the riders of the Tour could one day disappear from these so familiar landscapes. It is also one of the reasons why the people of the Vendée are in unison with this summer medley.
The Vendée is not only the department of the sea, it is also that of the bicycle. Cycling and bicycle touring boast more than 3,000 club members, with, each year, dozens of events for all levels, whether professional or amateur, renowned international events, such as the Chrono des Nations or Tour de Vendée, and now also a big family day out, Vendée Vélo, during which thousands of cycling enthusiasts can enjoy their hobby.
More than one thousand kilometres of cycle tracks, set up at the initiative of the General Council, allow fans of bike rides go right round the department and enjoy the diversity of the landscapes they cross, between plains and marshes, oceans and hills…
The fact that it returns so often to the Vendée just goes to show how at home the Tour de France is here. The local population of all ages, men and women, who stream to watch it pass from their roadside viewpoints, are there to pay homage to it, these good people with their taste for panache, hard work and a passion for sport.
It is with much emotion, warmth and friendship that I again bid the Tour de France welcome to the Vendée.
Philippe de Villiers,
President of the Vendée General Council

Notes From Race Director, Christian PRUDHOMME

One word. If I had to use just one word to define the links that unite the Vendée and the Tour, without hesitation I would say: passion!
A shared passion for an event that is a century old, a wonderful popular celebration and for an authentic and innovative land, a place of liberty and challenges, where traditions and the future live in harmony.
So, after 1976, 1993, 1999 and 2005, the Tour de France will again be coming to the Vendée in 2011. At the turn of the century, each Tour de France whose Grand Start took place in the Vendée crowned dominant champions: firstly Miguel Indurain with his show of power on the Côte du Fossé in the prologue of the 80th edition, a foretaste of his performance throughout the event of which we still have vivid memories; and secondly Lance Armstrong, for his first triumph soon after recovering from cancer, then for his last triumph during a farewell tour, which we now know was not a definitive conclusion to his career.
Of all the many images of the Tour that I can remember, the pack crossing the Passage du Gois in 1999 is definitely one of the most exciting, in fact probably the finest that I have ever seen on a flat stage. Since the tide allows us, we will be back on this inimitable road in July 2011, during the initial parade, before the official starting ceremony, several minutes before the actual start of the race.
We have designed this first stage to be a "linear" one, in a similar way to the successful experience enjoyed in Brittany in 2008. It will link the Ocean with the Mont des Alouettes at the heart of the Vendée, which is an ideal summit for a finish where punchers and sprinters will battle for the first Yellow Jersey of the 98th Tour de France.
The following day, a team time-trial - only 23 kilometres long, no more, no less to keep the race fluid - will force the favourites to show their mettle for the first time, then the race will move to Olonne-sur-Mer, from where we will head to other regions and new adventures.
But we already know that even before the first kilometre, the presentation of the riders at Le Puy du Fou will have dazzled the crowds, just like Cinéscénie, which recounts the history of the Vendée, fascinates each summer hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Director of Tour de France

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