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.