In the 2013 Tour de France Saint-Amand-Montrond was the arrival-town of a spectacular stage. The route was not spectacular in itself, cross-wind made it so be ripping the pack up into pieces and bits. Valverde had to pay big-time while Froome suffered some (minor) damage also. Cavendish took the stage after a brilliant performance by his team Omega Pharma (now Etixx). Will the race be as hard as then? We need to wait and see, but the scenery looks alarming quiet. The Loire, the longest river in France, meanders leisurely through the region aptly named Centre. On its banks are numerous beautiful ancient towns, chateaux and vineyards. Is this the face of deception…? In theory today’s route is as unchallenging as the Tour de France stage to Saint Amand Montrond. A long flat build-up to a local round of 45 kilometres with 4 kilometres after the first crossing of the finish line a small climb – Côte de La Tour, 3rd category 4 kilometres at 3%. In theory today’s route is tailor-made for a bunch sprint at blistering speeds with a 2 kilometres downhill section at 3.5% with 5 kilometres left. But what are theories worth in central France? Ask Alejandro Valverde, he will know the answer… Stage 2 starts 11.30 AM local time, while the arrival is expected approximately 03:50 PM.
Paris – Nice 2015 stage 2: Images and more
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