A guide to the Tour de France
A guide to Stage 6 of the Tour de France 2017, which is 216km from Vesoul to Troyes. The route is across the plateau de Langres, and via Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, and the stage finishes on the wide boulevards of Troyes. This is an out-and-out sprinters' stage. Read about Stage 6 of the Tour de France 2017 here.
6th July 2017
Stage 6 came down to a bunch sprint in Troyes, as expected. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) was first, with Arnaud Démare second, and André Greipel third.
Stage 6 of the Tour de France 2017 starts in Vesoul, in the Haute Saône, and heads west north west to Troyes, in the Aube département.
|Climbs||Côte de Langres (Category 4)
Côte de la colline Sainte-Germaine (Category 4)
This is the official map of Stage 6.
The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 6:
Profile of Stage 6, Tour de France 2017, © ASO/Tour de France
Stage 6 takes place on Thursday 6th July 2017.
The publicity caravan sets off from the centre of Vesoul at 10h05, and arrives at the finish in Troyes at 15h48.
The peloton leaves Vesoul at 12h05 and, depending on their average speed, will arrive at the finish in Troyes between 17h19 and 17h48.
The ceremonial start of the Stage 6 is in place de la République in Vesoul, in the Haute Saone département. There's a little loop, up rue Leblond to the place du Palais, along rue Gevrey to place de l'Eglise, and down rue d'Alsace Lorraine. The riders continue the neutralised section going south on the N57, and over the rivers Durgeon and Colombine, before following the D9 and D114 to Noidans-lès-Vesoul.
This map from the Haute Saône's Tour de France pages shows the route out of the centre of Vesoul:
From Noidans-lès-Vesoul, they head west out of Vesoul, past the Lac de Vesoul, a lake used for sailing and windsurfing. They follow the river Durgeon on the D13. At the junction of the D13 and the D104, the flag goes down and the racing starts.
Vesoul was made famous by the song of the same name, by Jacques Brel. 'T'as voulu voir Vesoul, et on a vu Vesoul....T'as plus aimé Vesoul, on a quitté Vesoul; Mais je te le dis, je n'irai pas plus loin, Mais je te previens, je n'irai pas à Paris.' The riders will, in contrast, be fully intending to go to Paris.
The route of Stage 6 out of Vesoul is west north west, crossing the river Saône at Scey-sur-Saône-et-Saint-Albin, a town known for salt-production from Roman times to the Middle Ages. It then leaves the département of the Haute Saône and enters the Haute Marne.
One of the first villages in the Haute Marne is Fayl-Billot, which is home to the National School of Wickerwork and Basket-making. Is there a remote chance that we may see a wicker racing bicycle by the roadside?
As the race approaches Langres, a town on a limestone promontory at the northern end of the plateau de Langres, the road begins to rise. This is the first categorised climb of the day, the Category 4 climb of the Côte de Langres, over 1.3km, at an average gradient of 6.3%, to a height of 458m at the summit at the southern edge of Langres town centre.
Beyond the top of the climb, the riders reach the place des Etats-Unis, go along the western edge of Langres, then continue north on the N19.
The Stage 6 route passes via Beauchemin, then follows the course of the river Suize downstream to Chaumont (where the Suize flows into the Marne).
Railway viaduct, Chaumont
It continues north west to Colombey-les-Deux Eglises, the location of the day's intermediate sprint.
Colombey is famous as the home of General Charles de Gaulle. De Gaulle adopted the Cross of Lorraine, with two crosspieces, as his symbol, and that of the Free French during the Second World War. There's a 43m-high Cross of Lorraine in Colombey.
From Colombey, the route is west out of the Haute Marne and into the Aube département. It passes through Lignol-le-Chateau and Bar-sur-Aube (a town of 5,000 people which can trace its history back to Roman times and earlier; one of the industries here is hemp production).
Then comes the second and final climb of the day, the Category 4 Côte de la colline de Sainte-Germaine. This climb is over 3.1km at an average gradient of 4.4%, to a height of 309m.
The riders pass through Spoy, a village which is home to Champagne producers Binon-Coquard, then Vendeuvre-sur-Barse, which is associated with Vendeuvre tractors which were built here in the 1950s and 1960s.
They pass the shores of the boating, fishing, and swimming lakes in the Regional Natural Park of the Forêt d'Orient, known as the Grands Lacs de Champagne. They are now on the approach to Troyes.
On its way into Troyes, the peloton will pass through Vendeuvre, Lusigny, Bouranton, Villechétif, Creney, and Point-Sainte-Marie.
The Aube-Champagne Tour de France 2017 page shows the route in the département, through the regional natural park of the Forêt d'Orient, and to the finish in Troyes. There's also a Troyes website dedicated to the 2017 Tour, and the Aube has produced a brochure for the event. This is the map of Stage 6 in the Aube, from the département's brochure:
The Tour de France Troyes website has a detailed map of the route to the finish in Troyes. The Aube's brochure shows the finish in Troyes, on boulevard du 1er RAM:
The riders arrive from the east on avenue du 1er Mai/rue Kléber, and cross the river Seine, into the centre of Troyes. They turn sharp left to ride alongside the river on boulevard Henri Barbuse as far as quai Saint Dominique, where the Flamme Rouge will indicate one kilometre left to race. They pass the Canal du Trévois on the right.
There's a little dogleg by the Canal du Trévois, then the
final stretch along boulevard du 14 Juillet is fairly straight.
Boulevard du 14 juillet becomes
boulevard du 1er RAM - the location of the finish line.
Stage 6 is a chance for the sprinters. Mark Cavendish sometimes takes a few days to warm up. If he hasn't scored a victory yet in the 2017 Tour, he'll be keen to win in Troyes; if he has won already, it won't diminsh his appetite for another victory.
There's a chance that Cavendish won't be on form, after suffering from illness in the spring. That could open the door for another sprinter, perhaps the current French National Champion Arnaud Démare.
Stage 7 of the Tour de France 2017 is 214km from Troyes to Burgundy wine country, and the town of Nuit-Saint-Georges.
Read about Stage 7, Tour de France 2017.
Vesoul is a town of about 15,000 people.
Vesoul began a few years BC as Castrum Vesulium, a Roman camp on a hill, at the centre of several Roman camps. In the Middle Ages (from about 899, when it was first mentioned in a document), it became a fortified town, and a commercial, legal, and religious centre. Many of the historic Medieval buildings remain.
There's a major Peugeot Citroën factory making car parts near Vesoul.
When Vesoul is mentioned, most French people (and many people of other nationalities) immediately think of the Jacques Brel song.
The plateau de Langres (or plateau de Langres-Châtillonais) is a limestone plateau which reaches its highest point at Haut-du-Sec (516m). It is where several important French rivers have their sources: the Seine, the Marne, the Aube, and the Meuse.
Langres is an historic town, built on a limestone promontory. It gets its name from the Gallo-Roman tribe which lived here, the Lingones. They were quick to become allies of the Romans. The town (then called Andemantunnum) was at a Roman crossroads, and was fortified by the Romans, who also built a triumphal archway, in the C1st AD.
Langres was important from the C9th onwards due to the influence of the Bishop of Langres, who was a duke and peer of France. Langres Cathedral dates from the C12th.
Langres continued to flourish during the Renaissance, and many fine town houses were erected at this time. A Vauban-type citadel was built in the C19th, adding to the other fortifications which date from various periods over the last 2,000 years.
There's an AOC cheese called Langres, which is soft, smelly, and made from cow's milk. Langres is twinned with Beaconsfield (UK), Abbiategrasso (Italy), and Ellwangen (Germany).
The name Chaumont stems from chauve mont, or bald mountain, because the site where it began didn't have any trees.
Chaumont was the residence of the Counts of Champagne from around the C10th. In the C19th, it prospered due to industrial glove-making, hat-making, and cloth-making. The railway came to Chaumont, and its viaduct was built in 1856.
Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises is famous for its connections to Charles de Gaulle, the French wartime leader based in London, who became President after the war.
De Gaulle made Colombey his home - he owned a house here from 1934, and when his political fortunes waned, this was where he retreated to. His final return to Colombey was in 1969, and he died and was buried here in 1970.
A 43m-high Cross of Lorraine was erected in Colombey. The symbol originates in Hungary, and was inherited by René II, Duke of Lorraine. It was then adopted by the Free French during World War II, and appeared on Free French warships and planes. For this reason, it is associated with De Gaulle, leader of the Free French.
Since 2008, there is a memorial museum dedicated to Charles de Gaulle in Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises.
Troyes is a town of about 60,000 people on the river Seine, and the capital of the Aube département. It is in the Champagne region (the name Champagne arising in the C5th at the time of King Clovis, derived from campania, countryside).
Troyes gets its name from the Gallic tribe who lived here, the Tricasses, although under the Romans, the town was known as Augustobona.
A famous battle took place near Troyes in 451, in which Attila the Hun was defeated, ending his ambitions of conquering Roman Gaul.
Many of the older buildings in Troyes date from the C16th - they include colourful half-timbered houses.
Traditionally, Troyes' economy was based on textiles, including stockings and knitwear. Today, there are still some factories, and the town has many factory outlet shops, offering discounts of 30 to 70%.
Troyes is twinned with Tournai (Belgium), Chesterfield (UK), and Brescia (Italy).
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