OK, so I’m not actually lighting a fire in the Foret de Broceliande and brewing a pot of tea, but since I am in Brittany I thought it’d be interesting to do some cycling posts from the area.
Normally being on one’s holiday’s would be the time to disconnect the online life and relax. However, I’ve been almost too busy to write any blog posts lately, so it’s actually an ideal moment to write a few pieces and catch up with other rare pleasures such as reading.
Scottish-based UCI Pro Continental Team Endura Racing are off to Finistère for a tough weekend of racing.
Alexandre Blain digging in hard in Tour de Finistère 2010
Tour de Finistère, a 186km race, is on Saturday and on Sunday there is the Tro-Bro-Leon at 206km. It’s going to be a hard weekend for the likes of Maarten de Jonge, Alex Wetterhall and Jack Bauer. Full teams for each race on the Endura Racing website.
A few weeks back, when the February cold was still biting, a post on La Gazzetta della Bici gave me hope for the future. 24 Hours in Brittany, by Phil Gale who spent 6 seasons in the region racing as a full time elite amateur. This post is as much for my own research purposes as anything, but as Phil points out, race fans in the south of England can get the ferry over to St Malo and have easy access to three Tour de France stages.
I’ll be based in the centre of Ille-et-Villaine for 3 weeks and will be within easy reach of stages 4 and 5. Brittany can be perceived as flat next to the Hors Categorie mountainous ranges of the Pyrenees and Alps but in reality it is rolling, punchy terrain and can be very windy. Breakaways might have a chance to succeed and unusually, stage 4: Lorient-Mûr de Bretagne on Wednesday 5th July has a tough uphill finish. The steep, straight Mur is known as the Breton Alpe-d’Huez.
First stop was to recce stage 4 Lorient – Mur de Bretagne arrival. The finish is on a 2km 15% climb, I’ve race down it at 100kph.
All this snow is getting me down. But today I received something that anticipates sun and warmth – a newspaper cutting of stages 4 and 5 of the 2011 Tour de France in Finistère. That’s the windy bit of Brittany that sticks way out west into the Atlantic.
Stage 4 from Lorient to Mûr-de-Bretagne will be a punchy stage and will feature some nasty hills at finish, not something Brittany is known for.
Stage 5 finishes along the picturesque Breton coastline where we could see splits caused by the wind that Brittany is known for.
I’m looking forward to seeing a bit of stage 7, from Dinan in the Cote d’Armor, to Lisieux in Normandy- a long (226km) flat stage for the sprinters. It’s on my daughter’s 3rd birthday though, so I’ll probably just watch the départ and then head back to base for jelly and ice cream.
Cyclingnews 2011 preview