A guide to the Tour de France
A guide to Stage 20 of the Tour de France 2017, which is a 22.5km individual time trial in Marseille, France's second city, starting out from the Stade Vélodrome (Olympique Marseille's football ground). The route takes in the Corniche road, the Old Port, and a climb to Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde Basilica. If the GC is close, this stage could decide the race. Read about Stage 20 of the Tour de France 2017 here.
22nd July 2017
Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the Stage 20 time trial in Marseille. Froome was third, and now leads Uran by 54s, with Bardet in third place at 2min20.
Stage 20 of the Tour de France 2017 starts and finishes at the Stade Vélodrome, home of Olympique Marseille.
|Stage classification||Individual time trial|
This is the official map of Stage 20.
The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 20:
Profile of Stage 20, Tour de France 2017, © ASO/Tour de France
The publicity caravan sets out from the Stade Vélodrome at 11h30, and returns at 12h14.
The first rider is scheduled to set off at 13h45, and finish at 14h13; the last competitor should begin his ride at 17h04, and cross the finish line at 17h32. Then we'll know the winner of the Tour de France 2017!
The time trial starts from the Stade Vélodrome, and takes rue Raymond Teisseire/boulevard de la Bugette/boulevard Gaston Ramon to boulevard Michelet. There's then a left turn on avenue de Prado, which runs down to the Mediterranean Sea.
Avenue de Prado (the second widest avenue in France after the Champs-Elysées) takes the riders down to the Plage du Prado, on the Mediterranean coast. Here, they turn right along the coast, on the promenade Georges Pompidou.
The route continues along the coast on Corniche Président John Fitzgerald Kennedy (the Corniche road). It goes past a number of little inlets with beaches, called anses, and crosses the Vallon des Auffes, which is a little fishing port where traditionally ropes were made for boats.
Boulevard Charles Livon leads to the Vieux Port (Old Port).
Stage 20 takes the riders along the three sides of the Vieux Port - the Quai de Rive Neuve, the Quai des Belges, and the Quai du Port. At the end of the Quai du Port, they continue along avenue Vaudoyer, as far as the MuCEM (Musée des Civilisations d'Europe) roundabout, where they turn round and come back to the Quai de Rive Neuve.
Leaving the Old Port, the route climbs to Notre-Dame de la Garde (116m). It then descends via avenue des Roches/chemin du Vallon de l'Oriol, to meet the Corniche road at the Anse de l'Oriol. The competitors turn left along the coast, then return to the Stade Vélodrome the same way they came out, on avenue du Prado.
The finish line is back at the Stade Vélodrome, on allée
Stage 20 is the second ITT of the 2017 Tour, after the Stage 1 prologue. The riders in contention for the overall win will be highly motivated, and that will include Fabio Aru, Romain Bardet, Rigoberto Uran, and Chris Froome. However, the stage should be won by a time trial specialist - perhaps Tony Martin or Primoz Roglic. A case can be made for Jos van Emden, who was in good enough form at the end of the 2017 Giro d'Italia to win the final stage ITT. Why not do it again on Stage 20 of the Tour de France?
Stage 21 of the Tour de France 2017 is the usual rigmarole, on the way from Montgeron to Paris. The serious business takes place once the peloton hits the Champs-Elysées circuit, ending with a bunch sprint.
Read about Stage 21, Tour de France 2017.
Marseille is France's second city, with a population of 850,000. It's the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône département.
When Mark Twain visited Marseille on his travels in Europe, he noted that it was famous for the National Anthem (the Marseillaise), for manufacturing vests, and for making soap. He said of the people of Marseille:
'These Marseillais make Marseillaise hmns and Marseille vests and Marseille soap for all the world, but they never sing their hymns or wear their vests or wash with their soap themselves.'
Marseille was founded by Greek mariners in about 600BC. They called their settlement, which was mainly around the Old Port, Massilia. They were Greeks from Asia Minor, called Phocaeans, who were looking to expand their commercial activity and trade. When Phocaea was destroyed by the Persians in 540BC, many of the Phocaeans based themselves in Marseille instead.
Massilia was a Republic, with just laws and recognised as a cultural centre. The Greeks planted fruit and olive trees, and vines.
The Romans arrived around 125BC, and founded the Province of Transalpine Gaul. Marseille remained an independent Republic allied to Rome, and didn't lose its autonomy until the C2nd AD.
In the Middle Ages, Marseille prospered as an important port, and competed with Pisa and Genoa for Mediterranean trade.
In 1481, Marseille became part of France with the rest of Provence.
In the early 1700s, the plague killed 50,000 of Marseille's 90,000 inhabitants.
The Marseillaise was actually written by Rouget de Lisle as a war song for the Army of the Rhine. It was adopted by Revolutionaries in Marseille, who sang it on the way up to Paris. National Guards from Marseille sang it on the day they stormed the Tuileries Palace and humiliated the King, and that's when it became known as the Marseillaise. It was adopted as the National Anthem in 1795, dropped for a time, then re-adopted in 1879.
Marseille was bombed by the Germans and Italians in 1940, then by the Americans and the British before the landings in Provence in 1944.
More recently, Marseille has had a reputation for organised crime and racial tension. Its reputation is improving, though, and it was European Capital of Culture in 2013. It is designated European Capital of Sport in 2017.
Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
The Stade Vélodrome is the home of Olympique Marseille, probably the best-supported team in France.
The stadium used to incorporate a velodrome, but that was removed in 1985.
Olympique Marseille's most successful period was under club owner Bernard Tapie. They won the European Cup in 1993, but the same season they were relegated because of a corruption scandal, in which a bribe was paid to another French club they were paying a few days before the European Cup final.
Spectator capacity was increased from 48,000 to 60,000 in time for the 1998 World Cup.
As well as the 1998 World Cup, the Stade Vélodrome hosted matches during the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
The Stade Vélodrome was renovated, and a roof was added, between 2011 and 2014. The capacity is 67,000. It hosted matches of the 2016 European Championships.
Vieux Port, Marseille
The Vieux Port has been at the heart of the town since the very beginning - the days of the Greeks, from 600BC onwards. The present quays were built under Louix XII and Louis XIII.
The Old Port was the port until the middle of the 1800s, when its depth (2 fathoms) became insufficient for the ships which were coming into service, and the new docks were built.
There are pleasure boats in the Old Port, an old vessel used as a restaurant, and a ferry which plies across the harbour between the Quai de Rive Neuve and the Quai du Port. There are also cafés and restaurants, many of which serve local specialities like bouillabaisse. There's also a fish market every morning on Quai des Belges.
Le Canebière runs down to the Old Port at Quai des Belges. It's the most famous avenue in the city, which was built in the C17th, and gets its name from a hemp rope factory there. Today, it's the main shopping street in Marseille.
You get the best views over Marseille from Notre-Dame de la Garde.
It was built in the mid-1800s, in a Romano-Byzantine style. It replaced a C13th chapel. The architect was called Esperandieu. The church he designed has a 60-metre high bell tower, with a guilded statue of the Virgin Mary on top.
The interior of the church has multi-coloured marble, mural paintings, and mosaics.
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