The Tour, as usual, is flying through my home region of Languedoc, and if you blink you might miss it. For the most part, Languedoc is considered a transition area between the Alps and the Pyrenees and therefore the routes are nearly always designed for sprinters.
This doesn’t mean they are without drama, though, as evidenced by the way the peloton was ripped apart by cross winds in the 2009 Tour. Stage 13 (July 14th) of this year’s Tour is a long trek that traverses half of the region in one shot, finishing on the Mediterranean in Cap d’Agde.
But there’s a catch! You see the little red number 3 in the map? This is a fearsome tiny climb (as loyal reader, Roan, will attest to) up Mont Saint Clair in the pretty town of Sète.
The climb is short, but deadly steep and could very well dash the hopes and dreams of our Cavendishes and Greipels if a puncheur or three put in an attack here. It’s still a 20km or more straight shot to the finish, so it would have to be a massive attack with favorable winds on the straightaway, I’d guess. Anyway, the important thing for you to know is that this is the place to see this stage, if you can make it. Take a train and walk the few, lovely kilometers to Mont Saint Clair, and maybe even stop in the harbour on the way for some just-caught seafood on the way.
9 thoughts on “Stage 13 of the 2012 Tour de France: Where You Need to Be”
i didn’t know that.. . there is a segment on Strava for the hill called The Monster Mile
it will make a great finish
I just learned it myself. Too bad I won’t be in the area to see it.
Dash, we’re coming too late.
You’ll have to change your dates next year.
I have never attended a cycling event (the 2014 World Championships in Richmond, Virginia seem to be my best hope) but I’ve noticed from TV coverage that a great many people like to congregate near hilltops. This is presumably because the cyclists are moving more slowly and are spread out and thus you have more of an opportunity to enjoy the event. Still, I was intrigued to learn of a recent crash on a flat part of the course which occurred at SEVENTY KILOMETERS PER HOUR. I think I would enjoy watching the peloton fly by me at that speed. It must be amazing, and I could pick a patch of road with nobody on it all to myself.
Crashes often happen on the flats, usually because riders lose their focus, I think. That crash you’re talking about took out nearly everybody on Garmin, I think, including the guy I had laid 50 Euros down on!
We’re enjoying the tour – on TV only this year. They’re avoiding us like the plague which is a shame but at least we have the Tour du Limousin in August to catch.
They’ll be back, Steph, don’t worry! Shoko and I will try and catch a mountain stage on Sunday, navigation skills depending!
Headed to France on Friday and we plan to spend Saturday in Montpellier before making our way west to catch the Tour. Not sure we’ll have the time (or the means — we’ll be in a car, but won’t most roads be blocked?) to get to this spot. Any other suggestions on where to watch it? Again, we’ll be in a car coming from Montpellier. Thanks!