A guide to the Tour de France
A guide to Stage 5 of the Tour de France 2018, which is 203km from Lorient via Concarneau to Quimper. The organisers say, 'Stages in Brittany can resemble the Belgian Classics. Once past Concarneau, the narrow roads and the succession of hills will suit riders who are at home in the Ardennes. The ascent of Menez Quelerc'h, which is a key climb in the Boucles de l'Aulne Criterium, could split the field on Stage 5.' Read about Stage 5 of the Tour de France 2018 here.
|Intermediate sprint||Roudouallec (TBC)
|Climbs||Côte de Kaliforn (Cat. 4)
Côte de Trimen Cat. 4)
Côte de la Roche de Feu (Cat. 3)
Côte de Menez Quelerc'h (Cat. 3)
Côte de la montagne de Locronan (Cat. 3)
The official Tour de France stage profile for the second half of Stage 5 (profile of the whole stage to follow):
Profile of the second half of Stage 5, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Wednesday 11th July 2018. Timings to follow.
On Friday 13th April 2018 (lucky for some), Romain Bardet rode 80km of Stage 5, between Roudouallec and Locronan, with his team mate Cyril Gautier. In an interview with Le Télégramme after the reconnaissance, he said that the route was never flat, and featured multiple changes of direction and quite a lot of climbing. This stage will hurt the legs. It won't be decisive, according to Bardet, but it may catch some riders out - even though it's certain that all the team leaders will be well-briefed in advance. Bardet singled out the Menez-Quelerc'h climb as difficult, and likely to be spectacular.
The Frenchman told Le Télégramme that during the Tour de France, when you receive a briefing the night before a stage, you tend to remember the key parts of the route that you rode a few months before.
On Saturday 14th April, Bardet rode the Tour de Finistère, which included the last 35km of the Tour de France Stage 5 route. Bardet was second, losing out to Jonathan Hivert of Direct Energie in the sprint. BMC riders Tejay van Garderen and Richie Porte also took part. Van Garderen, who was eighth, said, 'There are a lot of narrow, technical, punchy, dangerous sections, and I think having knowledge of the course is going to be critical come July.'
The stage starts in Lorient, and according to Le Télégramme, the départ fictif will be in the centre of town, not at La Base as was the case in 2011. The Village du Tour will be set up at place de la Mairie, parc Jules-Ferry, and rue du Tour-des-Portes.
The ceremonial, neutralised section will be about 10km, and the flag will go down for the départ réel near the Côtes de Ploemeur.
The route begins along the coast or just inland, heading north west. It goes through Pont-Aven, a small town known for the Pont-Aven school of art. It continues to Concarneau, where the riders go along the harbour front on Quai Carnot, Quai Peneroff (past the bridge to the old walled Ville Close on an island in the harbour), and Quai de la Croix. When they leave Concarneau, they are still on the ocean front, taking boulevard Alfred Guillou, and heading north on rue des Sables Blancs.
From Concarneau, Stage 5 goes on a loop north of Quimper. This is the hilly part of the route, with the climbs reaching heights of just over 200m, in an area known as les Montagnes Noires (the Black Mountains). Stage 5 takes a lot of very narrow, minor roads. There are five categorised climbs.
The first categorised climb is the Côte de Kaliforn (Category 4, 209m at the top). A short descent is quickly followed by the ascent of the Côte de Trimen (Category 4, 223m at the top). Next, the road descends to Châteauneuf-du-Faou (a small town which overlooks the river Aulne), and continues to Lennon (imagine all the people who'll be watching there) and Gouézec.
From Gouézec, the riders tackle the Côte de la Roche de Feu (Category 3, 221m at the top), before descending to Châteaulin. (Châteaulin's economy relies on food processing - especially chicken - as well as potato-growing and tourism. There's an Ecole de Gendarmerie just outside Châteaulin. The circuit de l'Aulne cycle race was created here in the 1930s, now a UCI event called les Boucles de l'Aulne).
After Châteaulin comes the ascent of the Côte de Menez Quelerc'h (Category 3, 210m at the top), a climb which features on the Boucles de l'Aulne. According to l'Equipe, it is 3km at 6.2%.
Profile of Côte de Menez Quelerc'h, © ASO/Tour de France
The descent is to Cast (site of a Roman military post) and Locronan, where there are cobbled streets to be negotiated. (Locronan means 'hermitage of Saint Ronan', and it belongs to the association of the Most Beautiful Villages of France. Historically, Locronan grew and processed hemp to be used for maritime rope).
After Locronan comes the final categorised climb, up the wooded slope of the Côte de la montagne de Locronan (Category 3, 233m at the top).
The riders then head south via Plogonnec, where it seems that there's a second intermediate sprint (after 192.4km at the Côte de la Chapelle de la Lorette) to the finish at Quimper.
The finish of the stage is in the Breton town of Quimper. According to Ouest France, the finish is at Penvillers in the north of Quimper, which has an exhibition park and a stadium. The finish line is the same as that used in the Tour de Finistère, and comes just after the Côte de Stang Vihan, a climb of 200m at 12.5%.
The favourites for the stage win include Classics riders like Greg van Avermaet and Thomas de Gendt. It's possible that the GC favourites could be at the front of the race and fighting it out - perhaps Vincenzo Nibali or Chris Froome could cross the line first. Ouest France thinks the winner will be a sprinter who can also climb: in that case, it could be Michael Matthews, but as always in these circumstances, Peter Sagan is the most likely candidate for victory.
Stage 6 of the Tour de France 2018 is 181km from Brest to Mûr de Bretagne Guerlédan. There's a 16km finishing circuit, with two ascents at Mûr.
Read about Stage 6 of the 2018 Tour de France.
Lorient is a port city on the south coast of Brittany, at the confluence of the Scorff and Blavet rivers. It's in the Morbihan département, and its population is around 58,000.
Lorient began to develop as a port when the French East Indies Company abandoned its base at Le Havre in 1675, and moved here. The French Royal Navy opened a base in Lorient in 1690.
From 1720 to 1790, Lorient was involved in the slave trade. From 1775 onwards, the American Revolutionary War brought a boost to activity, and from 1785, transatlantic lines with the USA were opened.
From 1941, the German navy had a U-boat HQ here - in Keroman. It was built on the orders of Admiral Dönitz. The Allies bombed the U-boat base in 1943-44, but they were unable to destroy the U-boats, which were protected by the massive concrete structure of the base. The Allies then bombed the city instead, dropping leaflets first to warn the locals to evacuate. The Germans surrendered Lorient in May 1945. The city was rebuilt over the next 40 years.
The ports are still important to Lorient, accounting for over 10,000 jobs. Lorient is known as 'the five port city', with military, fishing, commercial, passenger, and yachting ports.
Warships are built by DCNS at Lorient. Several units of the French navy are based in and around Lorient, including the naval special forces.
Each year in August, Lorient hosts the Festival Interceltique, which attracts around 800,000 visitors. In 2018, Wales will be the country of honour.
Lorient is twinned with (the) Wirral in the UK.
Pont-Aven is a small town on the river Aven and in the Finistère département.
Historically, it was a mill town, with a mill race powering several water mills.
It is known for the Pont-Aven school - artists who lived here in the late C19th including Emile Bernard, Paul Gaugin, and Paul Sérusier. The fine arts museum in Pont-Aven has a permanent collection dedicated to them.
Pont-Aven has a School of Contemporary Art. Brittany Ferries has named its flagship Pont-Aven.
Concarneau is a port town in the Finistère département. It has had a fishing industry for a long time, with many local boats catching tuna.
The Fête des Filets Bleus (Festival of Blue Nets) is a Breton and Celtic festival held in August every year, and its name makes a reference to the blue nets traditionally used for fishing in Concarneau.
The modern town of Concarneau is on the mainland, but the old Ville Close is a walled area on an island in the middle of the harbour, connected to the rest of Concarneau by a bridge. There are lots of shops and restaurants in the Ville Close, and a fishing museum.
Concarneau is twinned with Penzance in the UK.
Quimper (Kemper in Breton) means 'confluence'. Quimper is at the confluence of the Steir, Odet, and Jet rivers. It is the ancient capital of the traditional Breton region of Cornouaille.
Quimper was settled by the Romans. It later became the capital of the Counts of Cornouaille, before being united with the Duchy of Brittany in the C11th.
The Cathedral was built in the C13th to C16th, and is dedicated to Saint-Corentin, Quimper's first bishop.
Since 1690, Quimper faience, a particular type of hand-painted pottery, has been produced. The cafés of Quimper serve delicious crêpes and cider.
Amongst other places, Quimper is twinned with Falkirk (Scotland) and Limerick (Ireland).
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