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Stage 2, Tour de France 2018

Stage 2 of the Tour de France 2018 is from Mouilleron-Saint-Germain to la Roche-sur-Yon. This is an anti-clockwise route through the countryside of the Vendée (le bocage vendéen), from 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock. It's 183km, and is likely to end in a bunch sprint. Read about Stage 2 of the Tour de France 2018 here.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: facts, figures, and map

Stage 2 of the Tour de France 2018 is a trip through the countryside of the Vendée via Pouzauges, Saint-Michel-Mont-Mercure, les Herbiers, Tiffauges, Montaigu, les Lucs-sur-Boulogne, and Aizenay, to its capital (préfecture), la Roche-sur-Yon.

Stage classification Flat
Distance 183km
Intermediate sprint
Climbs

This is the official map of Stage 2:

Map of Stage 2, Tour de France 2018

© ASO/Tour de France

The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 2 (to follow):


Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: date & timings

Lussault Tiffauges clock

Clock made by Lussault of Tiffauges, by Frédéric Bisson, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 2 takes place on Sunday 8th July 2018. Timings to follow.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: the route

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: the start at Mouilleron-Saint-Germain

Mouilleron-Saint-Germain

Mouilleron-Saint-Germain, by spouik, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

The stage starts in Mouilleron-Saint-Germain, the home town of World War I Prime Minister Georges Clémenceau.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: Mouilleron-Saint-Germain to Montaigu

Ramparts of Montaigu

Ramparts of Montaigu, by Spouik, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Leaving Mouilleron, Stage 2 goes east to la Châtaigneraie. (La Châtaigneraie means chestnut wood, but the village gets its name from the first lords here, the Chasteigner family.) The riders then head north via Saint-Pierre-du-Chemin to Réaumur (known for the Réaumur temperature scale - 0 to 80 degrees for the freezing and boiling points of water - invented by René-Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur). Next on the route is Pouzauges. Here, the Tour de France is in the bocage vendéen.

Château de Pouzauges

Château de Pouzauges, by Shagshag, Licence CC BY 2.0

From Pouzauges, the race heads north to Saint-Michel-Mont-Mercure, the highest point of the Vendée (290m). There's often a Category 4 climb early in the Tour, which offers someone the chance to take the polka-dot jersey, and it could be here. The church tower is another 52m up. There's a golden statue of Saint Michael on top, which is an exact replica of the one at Notre-Dame de la Fourvière in Lyon.

Church at Saint-Michel-Mont-Mercure

Church at Saint-Michel-Mont-Mercure, by Jimmy44, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

A few kilometres later, Stage 2 reaches les Herbiers. The race route continues north north west via la Gaubretière (known for the Massacre of la Gaubretière in February 1794 during the War of the Vendée, in the Revolutionary period) to Tiffauges.

Château de Tiffauges

Château de Tiffauges, by Jibi44, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

From Tiffauges, the route is west to Treize-Septiers. (A septier is a measure of grain, a quantity of about 159 litres, and a septier of land would be the surface area required to produce a septier of grain). It continues west to Montaigu.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: Montaigu to la Roche-sur-Yon

Place Napoléon, la Roche-sur-Yon

Place Napoléon, la Roche-sur-Yon, by Nicolas Bégaud, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

From Montaigu, Stage 2 heads south west via Saint-André-Treize-Voies (motto - 'Saint-André-Treize-Voies, j'y crois') and Mormaision (on the Guerivière, possibly meaning 'hardly a river') to les Lucs-sur-Boulogne. (The name Lucs comes from the Gallo-Roman period, and dervies from lucus meaning 'sacred wood'. There was an altar here, used by Celtic Druids. During the War of the Vendée, the local people were massacred by Republican colonnes infernales on 28th February 1794).

Historial de la Vendée, Lucs-sur-Boulogne

Historial de la Vendéé museum at les Lucs-sur-Boulgone, by Rimagne, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Next, the riders go through Beaufou (which has a thriving table tennis club) then Palluau (where the Collège Saint-Paul is known for athletics).

Château de Palluau

Château de Palluau, by Selbymay, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Now the route goes south via la Chapel-Palluau to Aizenay.

Saint-Benoît church, Aizenay

Saint-Benoît church, Aizenay, by Selbymay, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Stage 2 continues south via Beaulieu-sous-la-Roche (Village of Art, and location of a Christmas Market), Saint-Georges-de-Pointindoux, and Sainte-Flaive-des-Loups, to Nieul-le-Dolent. The route takes them east to Aubigny.

Aubigny, Vendée

Aubigny, by Bastien.Pierre, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Beyond Aubigny is Nesmy, with its park and château, then Chaillé-sous-les Ormaux, and Saint-Florent-des-Bois. At Saint-Florent-des-Bois, there's a sharp left turn onto the D746, and that road takes the race towards la Roche-sur-Yon and the finish.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: the finish at la Roche-sur-Yon

La Roche-sur-Yon, la Poste

La Roche-sur-Yon, la Poste, by Selbymay, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The finish is at la Roche-sur-Yon. The riders arrive on the D746, which is straight, and heads north west. It's possible that the approach to the finish will be into a head wind, which would favour the bunch over a breakaway rider.

In advance of the publication of the exact position of the finish line, it seems that the last few hundred metres won't be too technical, with just a gentle bend to the right.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: favourites for the stage win

Fernando Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria, by Equipo Ciclismo ColdePortes, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

In 2017, the peloton kept a tight rein on any breakaways, and the flat stage always came down to a bunch sprint. That's likely to continue, and so the question is, who will be fastest? Fernando Gaviria is an up-and-coming sprinter, and this could be an opportunity for the Colombian from Quick-Step Floors.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: comments

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Stage 3, Tour de France 2018

Cholet

Stage 3 of the Tour de France 2018 is a 35-km team time trial starting and finishing in Cholet. 

Read about Stage 3 of the 2018 Tour de France.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: towns, sights and attractions

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: Mouilleron-Saint-Germain

Mouilleron-Saint-Germain

Mouilleron-Saint-Germain, by spouik, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Mouilleron-Saint-Germain is the result of a fusion (from 1st January 2016) of two communes, called Mouilleron-en-Pareds and Saint-Germain-l'Aiguiller. The main town is Mouilleron-en-Pareds.

The Tour is visiting Mouilleron-Saint-Germain to honour the memory of Georges Clémenceau (1841-1929), who was born and is buried here. Clémenceau was Prime Minister from 1906-09 and 1917-20. He was known as Père la Victoire, and le tigre, and he advocated a hard positon against defeated Germany at the end of World War I, and large reparation payments. There's a museum dedicated to Clémenceau and another famous son of Mouilleron, Jean de Lattre de Tassigny.

Windmills at Mouilleron

Windmills at Mouilleron, by spouik, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Other than the museum, the main point of interest is a hill with two 'relatively well conserved' windmills. They would be even better if they still had their sails.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: Bocage Vendéen

Bocage Vendéen

Bocage is the name for a type of countryside with fields surrounded by hedges. The most famous is the bocage of Normandie, which the Allies had to fight their way through after the Normandy landings - the war of the hedgerows.

The Haut Bocage around les Herbiers and Pouzauges is founded on granite, and features hills and valleys.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: Saint-Pierre-du-Chemin

A music video by the yoof of Saint Pierre du Chemain:

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: Pouzauges

Château de Pouzauges

Château de Pouzauges, by Shagshag, Licence CC BY 2.0

Pouzauges is a village in the bocage vendéen. The name probably means 'well dug to reach an underground water source'.

There are several hills within the commune, including the puy Crapaud (269m).

On Christmas eve 1793, during the Revolution, 400 people were massacred at the church during Midnight Mass, by the Revolutionary Army.

The company Fleury Michon - an agriculture and food business - has its head office in Pouzauges.

The ruined château de Pouzauges is one of its main attractions.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: les Herbiers

Mont des Alouettes, les Herbiers

Mont des Alouettes, les Herbiers, by Benoît Bâlon, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Les Herbiers is a town of about 15,000 people. It's the capital of the Haut-Bocage vendéen, and the Grande Maine river runs through it. It's at the foot of the Mont des Alouettes.

The name of the town comes from a person of Germanic origin, Herbertus.

The economy here is burgeoning, with activities including construction of pleasure boats and aluminium windows, and design of fashionable clothes for children.

The French international basketball player Florence Lepron learned to play at les Herbiers.

Les Herbiers is twinned with Newtown, Wales.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: Tiffauges

Château de Tiffauges

Château de Tiffauges, by Jibi44, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Tiffauges is a town at the confluence of two rivers - the Crûme and the Sèvre nantaise. Its name comes from a Barbarian people, the Taïfales, who established themselves here towards the end of the Roman Empire, from around 412AD.

The château was built in the C12th by the Viscounts of Thouars, but burned in 1569, then dismantled by royal order in 1626.

One of the businesses based in Tiffauges is Lussault, a maker of large clocks for churches and other public buildings.

Lussault Tiffauges clock

Clock made by Lussault of Tiffauges, by Frédéric Bisson, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: Montaigu

Ramparts of Montaigu

Ramparts of Montaigu, by Spouik, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Montaigu is a town of 5,149 people on the river Maine (not the same river Maine which gives its name to the Maine-et-Loire).

The name Montaigu comes from the Latin Mons Acutus, a sharp hill, and the town and the name date from the C4th, in the Gallo-Roman period.

Montaigu hosts a world football tournament for 14 and 15 year olds, le Mondial Minimes de Football. The last time the Tour de France came to Montaigu was in 1999.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: Aizenay

Saint-Benoît church, Aizenay

Saint-Benoît church, Aizenay, by Selbymay, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Aizenay is a town in the bocage vendéen. The name comes from the name of a Gallo-Roman person, Asin.

The traditional industries here are textiles, shoes, and forestry. Today, the economy includes plastics, microwave ovens, and printing.

The Saint-Benoît church was built from 1904-5. There's a local goat's cheese which is very tasty.

Stage 2, Tour de France 2018: la Roche-sur-Yon

Place Napoléon, la Roche-sur-Yon

Place Napoléon, la Roche-sur-Yon, by Nicolas Bégaud, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

La Roche-sur-Yon is the capital (préfecture) of the Vendée, with a population of around 53,000 people. It's on the river Yon at its confluence with the Riaillée and the Ornay.

It was Napoléon Bonaparte who transformed la Roche-sur-Yon from a hamlet, with a decree of 25th May 1804 which made it the capital of the Vendée. It was in a strategic position in the centre of a département which needed to be pacified after the War of the Vendée. The town was built on a regular pattern of streets, in a (slightly asymetrical) pentagon shape, around the central place Napoléon.

The town has changed name eight times altogether - for example, it was called Napoléon under Bonaparte's Empire, and Bourbon-Vendée during the Restoration.

There are higher education institutions in la Roche-sur-Yon, including a branch of the University of Nantes; around 6,000 students attend colleges here.

Industries in la Roche-sur-Yon include electrics and electronics, manufacture of Michelin tyres, banking and commercial services, and fish, fruit, and vegetable markets.

Eglise Saint-Louis, la Roche-sur-Yon

Eglise Saint-Louis, la Roche-sur-Yon, by Selbymay, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The Eglise Saint-Louis (1817-29) is the biggest church in the Vendée.

Amongst the towns twinned with la Roche-sur-Yon is Gummersbach (Germany) and Coleraine (Northern Ireland).

Thomas Voeckler did some of his studies at la Roche-sur-Yon.

Mouilleron-Saint-GermainChâteau de TiffaugesLa Roche-sur-Yon

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