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Stage 3, Tour de France 2018

Cholet

Cholet

Stage 3 of the Tour de France 2018 is a 35.5km team time trial which starts and finishes in the centre of Cholet, in the Maine-et-Loire - a département which borders the Vendée. The race organisers say there are several changes of rhythm over the route, and three climbs, which should ensure a challenging ride. Read about Stage 3 of the Tour de France 2018 here.

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: video highlights

These are the highlights from Stage 3, on a day when BMC won the team time trial:

Read the Hedgehog Stage 3 diary.

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: facts, figures, and map

Stage classification Team time trial
Distance 35.5km

This is the official map of Stage 3:

The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 3:

Profile of Stage 3, Tour de France 2018

Profile of Stage 3, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: date & timings

Monday 9th July 2018.

The publicity caravan sets off at 1310. The start time for the first team is 1510; the course is expected to take 39 minutes to cover, so their projected arrival time is 1549. The last team starts at 1655, and finishes at 1734.

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: video of the route

The town of Cholet has produced a video showing the route of the Stage 3 team time trial:

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: Mark Cavendish's prediction

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish riding for Dimension Data, by Iggy, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Mark Cavendish looks forward to the Tour de France for the BBC, and names his 'one to watch' for each stage - his prediction for the win.

'I did a similar individual time trial circuit in my second Tour de France in 2008. It's open roads and it's relatively straightforward, but that means horse power is needed. My Dimension Data team will be trying to save energy for upcoming stages. We know we're not really in with a chance of winning, but we'll give it our best shot.'

His one to watch? BMC.

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: the route

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: the start

Jardin du Mail, Cholet

Jardin du Mail, Cholet, by Selbymay, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Cholet loves cycling, says the mayor Gilles Bourdouleix. It is one of the few towns to have welcomed all the different types of Tour stage: a split stage with three sections in 1936, a finish in 1998, and an ITT followed by the start of a road stage in 2008.

Stage 3 of the 2018 Tour 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. 

Theatre, Cholet

Cholet theatre, by Selbymay, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Stage 3 then leaves the river, heading north out of Cholet on avenue Francis Bouet/rue Louis Pasteur. This is the first climb, called Côte de la rue Pasteur (1,000m at 5.1%). The time trial route passes the textile museum on the left.

Musée du textile, Cholet

Musée du textile, Cholet, by Selbymay, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: Saint-André-de-la-Marche, la Romagne, & la Séguinière

La Séguinière

La Séguinière (fountain and town hall), by Philippe Bouchet, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

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, location of the first intermediate time check point.

Musée de la Chaussure, Saint-André-de-la-Marche

Musée de la Chaussure, Saint-André-de-la-Marche, by Tux-Man, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

From Saint-André-de-la-Marche, the route is south south west towards la Romagne. After crossing the river Moine, the road rises, and this is the second climb, the Côte de la Romagne (1,150m at 6.5%). The route then goes into la Romagne, and continues east towards la Séguinière, where the local people (known as Ziniérais) will be watching. The riders will cross la Moine again in la Séguinière.

On leaving la Séguinière there's what the organisers refer to as a casse-pates - a difficulty, in this case another climb. The Côte de la Séguinière is 1,100m at 5.6%. The second intermediate time check point comes at the top of the Côte de la Séguinière (a height of 106m). The road rises a little higher, to 121m, where it crosses the autoroute.

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: the finish

Tour de France 2008, Cholet

Photo: 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 the route crosses the river Moine, and runs the opposite way along avenue des Cordeliers/avenue de l'Abreuvoir to the start of the time trial. 

The riders pass the Art and History museum and veer right past the tourist office. They go through place du 8 Mai 1945, and continue on avenue Anatole Manceau, past GlisséO, which is a swimming pool and ice rink complex. The finish line is a little further along avenue Anatole Manceau, just past the junction with rue Joseph-Marie Jacquard, and near the sports stadium.

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: favourites for the stage win

Richie Porte ITT Duesseldorf

Richie Porte at the Duesseldorf ITT on Stage 1 of the 2017 Tour de France, by Matthias Zepper, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Mitchelton Scott should put in a strong performance, with Damien Howson, Jack Bauer, and Luke Durbridge all in the team. Team Sky won the TTT by 37s at the Critérium du Dauphiné 2018, on the way to overall victory with Geraint Thomas. Tony Martin features in Katusha's line-up, as does Marcel Kittel, who is no mean time triallist. AG2R La Mondiale will be hoping to limit their losses, so that Romain Bardet remains in GC contention.

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. Stefan Küng is a top-class time trialist, and he successfully defended his Swiss national time trial title on 27th June 2018. Greg van Avermaet and Tejay van Garderen should also be capable of putting in some powerful turns on the front.

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 3, Tour de France 2018: comments

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Stage 4, Tour de France 2018

La Baule

La Baule, by Arlenz Chen, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

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.

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: towns, sights and attractions

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: Cholet

Notre-Dame church, Cholet

Notre-Dame church, Cholet, by Selbymay, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

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.

Le Jardin du Mail

Jardin du Mail, Cholet

Jardin du Mail, Cholet, by Selbymay, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

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).

Stage 3, Tour de France 2018: la Romagne

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.

Jardin du Mail, CholetTDF 2008 CholetTextile museum, Cholet

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