A guide to the Tour de France
A guide to Stage 14 of the Tour de France 2017, which is 181.5km from Blagnac to Rodez. This is a hilly stage, which could suit a Classics rider like Greg van Avermaet. The organisers say that the Côte Saint-Pierre will be the launch pad for the stage winner. Read about Stage 14 of the Tour de France 2017 here.
15th July 2017
Michael Matthews, now riding for Sunweb, won Stage 14 on the Côte Saint-Pierre in Rodez. Froome was well-positioned, and finished seventh, while Aru lost 27s to the Sky man, and the yellow jersey.
|Climbs||Côte du viaduc du Viaur (Category 3)
Côte de Centrès (Category 3)
This is the official map of Stage 14.
The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 14:
© ASO/Tour de France
Stage 14 takes place on Saturday 15th July 2017.
The publicity caravan leaves Blagnac at 11h00, and arrives at the finish in Rodez at 15h52. The riders start at 13h00, and get to the finish between 17h27 and 17h52.
The stage starts in Blagnac. According to France Bleu (webpage which snarls up your browser), the départ fictif is in the Parc du Ramier, by the banks of the river Garonne. The neutralised section in Blagnac is 11km. It takes in the town centre, the Andromède quarter, the Aéroscopia museum, and an Airbus factory. 15,000 to 20,000 spectators are expected along the route. The départ réel will be at Seilh, at 13h20.
Blagnac Town Hall has details of the exact route at the start. There's a special website dedicated to the Tour de France in Blagnac.
Leaving Blagnac, the riders head north along the Garonne to Grenade, a bastide town dating from 1290, with streets laid out like a chessboard, and an historic market hall in the centre.
The route crosses the Garonne to Castelnau-d'Estrétefonds. (The château on the hill here, owned by the Count of Toulouse, was besieged by Henry II of England, and destroyed under the orders of Henry's Chancellor Thomas Becket). The race route continues east to Villariès and Montjoire, to reach the river Tarn at Bessières (where tomatoes are produced in extensive greenhouses).
The riders go along the Tarn to Buzet-sur-Tarn, then cross from the Haute-Garonne département into the Tarn. They make their way over the river a little further on at Saint-Sulpice-la-Pointe. (Saint-Sulpice-la-Pointe is a bastide town built between 1243 and 1247; it was the location of an internment camp during World War II, set up by the Vichy government, for communists, anarchists, and other 'undesirables').
Now Stage 14 runs along the far side of the Tarn to Rabastens, location of the day's intermediate sprint.
Profile of intermediate sprint on Stage 14, Tour de France 2017, at Rabastens, © ASO/Tour de France
Beyond Rabastens is Lisle-sur-Tarn, a bastide town created from 1229. Here, the riders will be between Gaillac and Rabastens. This is a grape-growing area, with acres of vineyards, and être entre Gaillac et Rabastens, or se perdre entre Gaillac et Rabastens, is a local expression signifying that someone is rather drunk.
Further along the Tarn is Gaillac.
From Gaillac, the riders head north east to Carmaux, a town of 17,000 people known for past industrial activities including coal-mining and glass production. It's also associated with an important figure on the left of French politics, Jean Jaurès, who represented Carmaux in the 1890s and early 1900s.
Some kilometres after Carmaux, at the river Viaur, the race leaves the Tarn and enters the Aveyron département. The first categorised climb of the day follows - the Côte du viaduc du Viaur - 2.3km at an average gradient of 7%, Category 3.
14km later comes the next climb. The riders cross the river Viaur again, and climb away from it to Centrès - 2.3km at an average 7.7%, for the Category 3 climb of the Côte de Centrès.
Abbaye de Bonnecombe
There's one more steep climb away from the river Viaur at Bonnecombe, this time not categorised, but taking the riders up to 508m. From there, there's around 10km left to the finish.
The race skirts the centre of Rodez, to the west, so as to end
going up the Côte Saint-Pierre to the finish line, as in 2015.
Stage 14 is a chance for the punchers. Many people would have backed Peter Sagan to win in Rodez. However, the last time the Tour de France finished here, on Stage 13 of the 2015 edition, Greg van Avermaet beat Sagan to the line. Maybe he will do so again.
Update: van Avermaet may win, but he won't be beating Sagan, who has been thrown off the Tour. In the light of that, it is interesting to watch van Avermaet veering from one side of the road to the other in 2015 - a natural variation in line (no), clever tactics to make Sagan go the long way round (maybe), or unfair racing? It's not dangerous, at least, as the speeds are lower than in a proper bunch sprint.
The finish of Stage 13 in 2015:
Stage 15 of the Tour de France 2017 is 189.5km from Laissac-Sévérac-l'Eglise to le Puy-en-Velay.
Read about Stage 15, Tour de France 2017.
Blagnac is a town in the Haute-Garonne département of France, on the banks of the river Garonne near its confluence with the Touch. It is effectively a suburb of Toulouse.
Blagnac is strongly associated with air travel. Airbus has its head office here, and this is where Concorde was built. Today, Airbus is at the heart of the town's economy, and the A380, A350, and A440M are produced in Blagnac. Directly to the west of Blagnac town centre is Toulouse-Blagnac airport. Blagnac is home to the Aéroscopia aeronautical museum.
Instigated in 2001, Toulouse has an écoquartier called Andromède. It is being built with the idea that most residents will get around on foot or by bike, and with energy-efficient homes, using rainwater, and environmentally sound building materials. The first residents moved in in 2009.
Rabastens is a town in the Tarn département.
This area was inhabited in Roman times, and a Gallo-Roman villa has been found 1km away from Rabastens. The villa was destroyed at the time of an invasion by the Visigoths.
Local people took refuge on a rocky outcrop, and fortifications developed here. It is the district of Rabastens known as le château. The fortifications were taken down in the C12th, at the time of the Albigensian Crusades.
The town and the area flourished in the C16th, largely due to the use of pastel (woad), and later indigo, dyes for cloth.
Gaillac is a town of 17,000 people in the Tarn département.
It was founded in 972, and it was a town which grew up around the Abbaye Saint-Michel de Gaillac.
Gaillac's prosperity was based largely on wine production, and woad or pastel dye. The dye comes from a plant called Isatis tinctoria, which, after a manufacturing process, produces an indelible blue dye. It was known by the ancient Egyptians, and cultivated in this area from the C12th. The soil and climate are ideal for the plant here. The dye was exported to English and Flemish cloth manufacturers. Albi was the centre of the trade, then later Toulouse. Local merchants amassed fortunes, which they spent building large houses.
Rodez is a small city which is the capital of the Aveyron département.
The historic centre of the city, Vieux Rodez, has narrow streets linking squares including place du Bourg, place de la Cité, and place de la Madeleine. The Romans fortified this area, and called their settlement Segodunum, meaning 'stronghold on a hill'. The name later changed to Civitas Rutenorum, derived from the Gallic Ruteni people who lived here before and during Roman times.
The Cathedral Notre-Dame de Rodez dominates the city. It was built over centuries, from the C13th to the C17th. Other historic buildings include the Episcopal Palace and Saint Amans church.
Rodez is quite a propsperous place, and has a large number of small businesses and start-ups. The local economy revolves around health, food processing, computer science, wood furniture, services, aviation, automotive equipment, and research, among other things.
Rodez is twinned with Bamberg, Germany.
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