A guide to the Tour de France
Stage 3 of the Tour de France 2018 is a 35km team time trial which starts and finishes in the centre of Cholet, in the Maine-et-Loire département. The race organisers say there are several changes of rhythm over the route, and a climb that continues for about 800m, which should ensure a challenging ride. Read about Stage 3 of the Tour de France 2018 here.
Stage 3 of the Tour de France 2018 starts and finishes in Cholet. It takes place in the Maine-et-Loire département, which borders the Vendée.
|Stage classification||Team time trial|
This is the official map of Stage 3:
© ASO/Tour de France
If you select the Carte IGN from the French government's geoportail, you can see the contours of the route.
The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 3 (to follow):
Monday 9th July 2018. Timings to follow.
The stage starts in the centre of Cholet, on the boulevard Delhumeau Plessis. There's a bend to the left, on avenue de l'Abreuvoir/avenue des Cordeliers, and here the river Moine is on the left, and the Jardin du Mail and the theatre are on the right.
Stage 3 then leaves the river, heading north out of Cholet on avenue Francis Bouet/rue Louis Pasteur, and passing the textile museum on the left.
As they leave town, the teams pass Cholet's golf course on the right. (The historical name for this area is les Mauges). They reach Saint-Léger-sous-Cholet, where they turn to the west, towards the hamlet of l'Etablère, then continue to Saint-André-de-la-Marche.
From Saint-André-de-la-Marche, the route is south south west to la Romagne, then east towards la Séguinière, where the local people (known as Ziniérais) will be watching.
It seems that it's on leaving la Séguinière that there's what the organisers refer to as a casse-pates - a difficulty. The road rises to a height of 121m where it crosses the autoroute.
Stage 4 of the Tour de France 2008 in Cholet, by Celso Flores, Licence CC BY 2.0. (On that occasion, it was a 29.5km individual time trial, won on the day by Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner); he was later found positive for EPO-CERA and disqualified, leaving Kim Kirchen of Luxembourg the winner, with David Millar second).
After crossing the autoroute, the teams take rue Eiffel, then head towards Cholet on the D158. The D158 meets the D13 ring road, and the riders now follow the D13 south as far as McDonald's and Brico DIY store. Here, there's a sharp left on avenue Napoléon Bonaparte/rue de la Vendée, then a right fork on rue des Deux Ponts which runs alongside the river Moine.
(There's a short section where I'm not quite sure about the
route). Finally, the riders take avenue Maudet/avenue Anatole Manceau,
and the finish line is near GlisséO,
which is a swimming pool and ice rink complex.
BMC are amongst the favourites for the stage win. They have a good record in team time trials, for example winning the World Championships event in 2014 and 2015, and taking the silver medal in 2016. It will depend on the team they select, but Rohan Dennis and Stefan Kung are top-class time trialists who ride for BMC.
I realise that the photo isn't the best example of world-class time trialling by a BMC rider. Porte lost time on that occasion, but has also produced excellent performances.
Stage 4 of the Tour de France 2018 starts in La Baule, and heads for Brittany.
Read about Stage 4 of the 2018 Tour de France.
Cholet is a town in an area historically called les Mauges, which is part of the modern-day Maine-et-Loire département of France.
Its name probably derives from the Latin cauletum, meaning cabbage, but it might be derived from a word for castle or rocky promontory.
The site was occupied in prehistoric times, and there's evidence of this, with three menhirs within the commune.
In the Middle Ages, Cholet belonged to Anjou, after Foulque Nerra, count of Anjou, added les Mauges to his territories in the C11th.
The old town is on the north (right) bank of the river Moine. The main shopping area there is known as the Arcades Rougé, after the Comte de Rougé who owned an estate which included Cholet (1763-1786).
Cholet was a centre for textiles, and in the C14th, it specialised in household cloth, in particular handkerchiefs.
The Battle of Cholet took place on 17th October 1793, during the War of the Vendée. One of the Vendéens, de la Rochejacquelein, wore three white handkerchiefs to show which side he was on. He used them to staunch the flow of blood from a wound, so they became red.
Le mouchoir rouge de Cholet (the red handkerchief of Cholet) became famous around 1900. It was the name of a song about the de la Rochejacquelein incident in the Battle of Cholet, sung by Théodore Botrel. Cholet industrialist Léon Maret started making the handkerchiefs described in the song. He sent a job lot to Botrel to give out wherever he went.
There's still some textile production in Cholet, but another big employer is Michelin tyres.
The Jardin du Mail in Cholet was created in the 1870s. The idea was that it should be there for the Choletais throughout their lives: for games as children, when they fell in love for the first time, and for family walks. It gets its name from the esplanade by the Palais de Justice, which was used for the jeu de mail - a precursor of croquet.
In the Jardin du Mail, you can walk on ramparts, to get a better view of the town centre; and discover the planets of the solar system, because there are models of them in the park which are to scale and the correct distance apart relative to each other.
There are lakes to the south east of Cholet, created by dams of the river Moine - the Lac de Ribou, and the Lac de Verdon.
Cholet is twinned with Solihull (UK) and Oldenburg (Germany).
La Romagne was first mentioned in 1107. It was part of the estates of monks of le Petit Saint-Laurent. The land was partly cleared of forest, and used for agriculture.
In the early C20th, a textile factory was built in la Romagne, and before the Second World War, shoes began to be produced in the town.
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