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Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: Eymet to Pau

A guide to Stage 11 of the Tour de France 2017, which is 203.5km from Eymet to Pau. The stage goes through les Landes and le Gers before reaching the Pyrénées Atlantiques near the finish. There's likely to be a breakaway, but if the sprinters' teams time it right, they'll catch the escapees, and the day will end with a bunch sprint. Read about Stage 11 of the Tour de France 2017 here.

Stage 11: Kittel again

12th July 2017

Marcel Kittel

Marcel Kittel in the colours of his former team, Giant Alpecin, by Brian Townsley, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Another flat stage. Another sprint. Another Kittel win.

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: facts, figures, and map

Stage 11 of the Tour de France 2017 starts at Eymet, and goes through the Landes and Gers départements to Pau. This is a transitional stage, which takes the Tour de France towards the Pyrenees. There'll be mountains in the following two days, but Stage 11 is for the sprinters.

Stage classification Flat
Distance 203.5km
Intermediate sprint Aire-sur-l'Adour
Climbs Côte d'Aire-sur-l'Adour (Category 4)

This is the official map of Stage 11. Sud Ouest has a map of sections of the route.

The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 11:

Profile of Stage 11, Tour de France 2017

Profile of Stage 11, © ASO/Tour de France

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: date & timings

Stage 11 takes place on Wednesday 12th July 2017.

The publicity caravan sets off from Eymet at 11h00, and arrives at the finish in Pau at 16h03. The peloton leaves Eymet at 13h00, and arrives in Pau between 17h36 and 18h03.

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: the route

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: the start at Eymet

Eymet

Eymet, by Père Igor, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The stage starts in Eymet, a historic bastide town, which has a significant British population.

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: Eymet to Houeillès

Houeillès

Church tower at Houeillès, by JC Allin, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The race leaves Eymet on the D933 (a road which features heavily in this stage - a stage which might not be the most exciting of the 2017 Tour; perhaps just watch the highlights!). Very soon after the ceremonial start, the riders leave the Dordogne département, and enter the Lot-et-Garonne. The first village they pass after the start is la Sauvetat-du-Dropt.

There's a visit to the tiny village of Roumagne, home of Pierrick Fédrigo, a retired professional cyclist who was French national road race champion in 2005. He is known as 'le nez de Marmande'.

Pierrick Fédrigo

Pierrick Fédrigo, by Laurie Beylier, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Still on the D933, the race goes via Miramont-de-Guyenne and Seyches to Marmande, on the river Garonne.

Notre Dame de Marmande

Church of Notre-Dame de Marmande, by Annie Pilote, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

After crossing the Garonne as they leave Marmonde, the riders continue south on the D933 to Casteljaloux and Houeillès.

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: Houeillès to Aire-sur-l'Adour

Landes pine forest

Pine forest in les Landes, by Larrousiney, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Shortly after passing Houeillès, Stage 11 leaves the Lot-et-Garonne, and enters the département of les Landes.

(As well as being a département, Landes means 'heathlands', and much of the terrain here was heathland, used to graze sheep, and periodically burned off. Many of the sheep were removed in the 1800s, which they were baaarely happy about, when large areas were planted with pine trees).

Labastide-d'Armagnac

Place Royale, Labastide-d'Armagnac, by Pablo Sanxiao, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The race goes through the villages of Lubbon and Estigarde, before reaching Labastide-d'Armagnac. A couple of kilometres later, it passes a chapel called Notre-Dame des Cyclistes. The chapel was created by Abbé Massie, known as 'the pope of cyclo-tourisme', and is a national sanctuary for cyclists which is regularly visited by professionals.

Notre-Dame des Cyclistes

Chapelle Notre-Dame des Cyclistes, by Pablo Sanxiao, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The route of Stage 11 continues south via le Houga to Aire-sur-l'Adour.

Aire-sur-l'Adour

Aire-sur-l'Adour, by Frédérique Panassac, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The intermediate sprint is at the far end of Aire-sur-l'Adour.

Profile of sprint on Stage 11, TDF 2017, at Sire-sur-l'Adour

Profile of intermediate sprint on Stage 11, © ASO/Tour de France

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: Aire-sur-l'Adour to Pau

Escoubès

Church of Saint-Germain-d'Auxerre, Escoubès, by France 64160, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Leaving Aire-sur-l'Adour, the road climbs for 1.2km at an average gradient of 4.2%. This is the Category 4 climb, the Côte d'Aire-sur-l'Adour.

Shortly afterwards, the race enters the Pyrénées Atlantiques département, and continues south. The route passes through Carrère, Sévignac, Escoubès, and Saint-Jammes.

When the riders reach the small town of Morlaàs, they're about 10km from the finish in Pau.

Church at Morlaàs

Eglise Sainte-Foy at Morlaàs, by Florent Pécassou, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: the finish in Pau

Chateau de Pau

Chateau de Pau, by Turol Jones, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 11 covers 7.5km within Pau itself. According to Pau's website, the route in Pau is route de Morlaàs, avenue Alfred Nobel, avenue du Corps Franc Pommies, boulevard Tourasse, boulevard du recteur Jean Sarrailh, avenue Jean Mermoz, boulevard Champetier de Ribes, rue Michelet, rue du Maquis de Béarn, and place de Verdun (close to the Château de Pau). 

Pau's map shows the route of the finish of Stage 11 in green:

Route of the 2017 Tour de France in Pau

Route of finish of Stage 11, Tour de France 2017 in Pau, © town of Pau

Place Verdun, where the race finishes, was originally just an area of marshy ground, but in the C16th, it was transformed into one of the gardens of the Château de Pau, called the Haute-Plante. It became a military parade ground after military barracks, the caserne Bernadotte, were completed in 1875. Today, almost inevitably, it is testament to the dominion of the motor car over all earthly life, hosting as it does, a car park.

Caserne Bernadotte, Pau

Caserne Bernadotte, place Verdun, Pau, by Flo641, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: favourites for the stage win

André Greipel

André Greipel in 2011, by instants-cyclistes.fr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Stage 11 is a chance for the sprinters. One of the lessons of the last few years in the Tour de France is never count André Greipel out. Will-a the Gorilla be the winner in Pau? Perhaps.

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: comments

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Stage 12, Tour de France 2017

Col de Peyresourde

Col de Peyresourde, by Stephen Colebourne, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 12 of the Tour de France 2017 is the first day in the Pyrenees. It's 214.5km, and the climbs include the Port de Balès and the Col de Peyresourde.

Read about Stage 12, Tour de France 2017.

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: towns, sights and attractions

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: Eymet

Eymet

Eymet, by Père Igor, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Eymet is a town in the Dordogne département, on the river Dropt.

It was founded in 1270 by the Count of Toulouse, and built as a bastide - a new town, with streets in a grid pattern, and town walls around.

British people account for a third of Eymet's population, and it was the location of much of the filming of the ITV programme, Little England.

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: Marmande

Notre Dame de Marmande

Church of Notre-Dame de Marmande, by Annie Pilote, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Marmande is a town in the Lot-et-Garonne département. It is known for producing tomatoes, and there's a tomato festival in July.

Marmande was the site of a Roman castrum, but the current town was founded as a bastide town by Richard Coeur de Lion in 1195. It passed into the hands of the Counts of Toulouse, and as a result it was besieged on a number of occasions during the Albigensian Crusades. It became part of France in the time of Louis IX.

One of the main sights of Marmande is a C13th church.

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: Labastide-d'Armagnac

Labastide-d'Armagnac

Labastide-d'Armagnac, by Jibi44, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Labastide-d'Armagnac was founded as a bastide town in 1291 by Bernard VI d'Armagnac. Like all bastide towns, the streets are on a grid pattern, and there's a central square surrounded by buildings with arcades (place Royale). Originally, it had defensive walls around it, but these no longer exist.

Henri IV is said to have stayed here on several occasions, and place Royale is supposed to have inspired him to create place Vosges in Paris.

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: Aire-sur-l'Adour

Aire-sur-l'Adour

Aire-sur-l'Adour, by Frédérique Panassac, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Aire-sur-l'Adour is a town on the river Adour in the Landes département. 

Historically, it was the residence of the kings of the Visgoths, from 466 to 507AD. It was later a stop on the route of a pilgrimmage to Sant-Iago-de-Compostella, and had two hospitals for pilgrims. In 1814, Wellington beat Napoleon's Marshal Soult in a battle here.

This is a wine-producing area, making wines labelled Tursan.

Stage 11, Tour de France 2017: Pau

Chateau de Pau

Chateau de Pau, by Turol Jones, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Pau is a city of 78,506 people (the inhabitants are called Palois) on the river Gave de Pau. It's the historic capital of the province of Béarn.

There are views of the Pyrenees from the boulevard des Pyrenées. Alphonse de Lamartine said, 'Pau has the most beautiful view of the earth just as Naples has the most beautiful view of the sea.'

Boulevard des Pyrenées, Pau

Boulevard des Pyrenées, Pau, by ludovic, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The origin of the name Pau is uncertain. It could come from pal, referring to the palisade or fence around the first castle in Pau. Another possibility is that pal means rockface, and refers to Pau's position at the foot of mountains.

A castle was built by the Viscounts of Béarn, probably in the C11th, to protect a ford of the Gave de Pau. Pau became the capital of Béarn in 1464. It then became the seat of the Kings of Navarre in 1512. Henri of Navarre went on to become King Henri IV of France, in 1589. In 1620, Béarn lost its independence from France, although the Parliament of Navarre continued to govern local matters (with laws in the Occitan dialect).

In the Belle Epoque (usually defined as 1871 to 1914), Pau developed as a tourist destination for the royal, aristocratic, and rich. Scottish doctor Alexander Taylor helped make it a popular destination for a winter cure. Later, aviation and petrochemicals (following the discovery of natural gas in Lacq) were significant industries here, and more recently, the services sector has grown. There's a large student population at the Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour.

The Chateau de Pau is one of the city's main attractions. It was originally a fortification guarding a ford of the Gave de Pau, reinforced in the C14th by Gaston III of Foix-Béarn. In the C16th, as the seat of the Navarre dynasty, it was transformed into a residence. 

Henri of Navarre was born in the chateau. Wikipedia has a garbled explanation of Henri's connection to the castle, which has the hallmarks of a computer translation from French: 'The future Henri IV takes the trouble to be born December 13, 1553, and the story did the rest. The fame of the king...gives the castle, which did not see him grow up or die, a particular taste, and the right to claim honours those who give birth supermen.' Right. I, who not uderstand all things to men, a special smell, this translation glorious three and a half ten out of.

Palais Beaumont, Pau

Palais Beaumont, Pau, by Turol Jones, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

EymetLabastide-d'ArmagnacPau

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