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Stage 6, Tour de France 2018

Stage 6 of the Tour de France 2018 is 181km from Brest to Mûr de Bretagne, and includes a 16km finishing circuit with two ascents at Mûr. Christian Prudhomme says, 'The Mûr de Bretagne climb always gives valuable clues about the form of pretenders to the title. This time, a show of strength could result in real time gaps, because of the double ascent.' Last time the Tour came to Mûr de Bretagne, 60,000 people lined the final kilometres of the route. Read about Stage 6 of the Tour de France 2018 here.

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: video highlights

An exciting and well-supported stage saw Dan Martin go long on the uphill finish in the Breton sunshine, to take the stage win, and give his GC position a boost. Video highlights of the stage:

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: facts, figures, and map

Stage 6 of the Tour de France 2018 is from Brest to Mûr de Bretagne.

Stage classification Hilly
Distance 181km
Intermediate sprint Plouguernével
Bonus pointSaint-Mayeux
Climbs Côte de Ploudiry (Category 3)
Côte de Roc'h de Trévézel (Category 4)
Mûr de Bretagne (Category 3) (1st time)
Mûr de Bretagne (Category 3) (2nd time)

This is the official map of Stage 6.

The official Tour de France profile of Stage 6:

Profile of finishing circuit of Stage 6, TDF 2018

Profile of Stage 6, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: date & timings

Thursday 12th July 2018.

The publicity caravan sets off from Brest  at 1105, and the peloton at 1305. The projected average speeds are 42, 44, and 46kmh. Depending on which is most accurate, the riders will reach the finish line at Mur de Bretagne between 1721 and 1743.

Stage 6, 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' - his prediction for the stage win.

'We've done this finish up Mûr-de-Bretagne a couple of times before, but never two circuits of the final climb. It's a hard climb. It doesn't look much on paper, but it really goes narrow and kicks up at the bottom, and you just have to grit your teeth over the first kilometre and a half. It then flattens out to the end. Cadel Evans won here on his way to overall victory in 2011, and climbers usually go well, but I think it's definitely a stage for Peter Sagan.'

His one to watch? Peter Sagan.

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: the route

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: the start at Brest

Tour Tanguy, Brest

Tour Tanguy, Brest, by Bruno Girin, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The stage starts in the Atlantic port city of Brest. The Tour de France village will be set up at Parc-à-Chaînes, using the same tents and equipment as in 2008. According to Le Télégramme, the ceremonial start will be on quai de la Douane, and the racing will begin at the porte de Gouesnou.

In January 2018, Ouest France gave details of the route during the neutralised section in Brest, and there were updated details in Le Télégramme on 27th March 2018. From the quai de la Douane, the riders will go up the ramps from the port, and take avenue Franklin D Roosevelt to pass in front of the Château de Brest.

Chateau de Brest

Château de Brest, by oatsy40, Licence CC BY 2.0

Then the route is via boulevard des Français Libres to boulevard Jean Moulin, where the race will pass one end of the Téléphérique Jean Moulin de Brest. (This cable car was opened on 19th November 2016 to link the Siam and Capucins quarters, which are separated by the Penfeld river. The two cabins can carry 60 people each, when the thing works, which according to Wikipedia has been less often than hoped. After numerous teething troubles, a prankster advertised the cable car for sale on Le Bon Coin, a French equivalent of ebay.)

Télépherique de Brest

Téléphérique de Brest, by Jérémy Kergourlay, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Next the riders head north on rue Michelet/rue Duquesne and avenue Foch, before joining rue Paul Doumer and boulevard Montaigne, then rue Général Paulet. One of the considerations in planning a route north to Gouesnou was to avoid the Brest tram tracks so far as possible. Rue Général Paulet leads to rue Amiral Desfossés, rue de Trémaudan, Chemin de Goarem ar Zant, and route de Keraudren. After crossing the Penfeld, there's a right turn on the D67, which brings Stage 6 to Gouesnou.

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: Brest to Poullaouen

Roc Trévézel

Roc Trévézel, by Moreau.henri, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The flag goes down and the racing starts in Gouesnou, then  the riders head north on the D13 to Bourg-Blanc and on the D38 to Plouvien. The route then turns east, and travels via Le Folgoët and Ploudaniel towards Ploudiry. The first climb is the Côte de Ploudiry (Category 3), before the village of Ploudiry: 1.5km at 7%, reaching 128m at the top. Here the riders are on the edge of the Parc Naturel Régional d'Armorique.

In the Natural Park, they reach Sizun (on the Elorn river) - the capital of the crêpe! The route continues to Commana, then comes the next categorised climb, the Roc de Trévézel.

Roc Trévézel

View from Roc de Trévézel, by Kamel15, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The Roc de Trévézel is in the Monts d'Arrée, a range of hills which divides the north of Finistère (Léon) from the south (Cornouaille). The soil is poor and acidic, and the result is moorland with bracken and heather. The Roc de Trévézel is at 384m, but the details of the climb are: 2.5km at 3.5%, reaching 340m.

The route continues within the Park via la Feuillée (the highest village in Brittany) and Huelgoat.

Huelgoat

Huelgoat, by Zenithe, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

Leaving the Park, the riders arrive at Poullaouen.

Stage 6, Tour de France: Poullaouen to Mûr de Bretagne

From Poullaouen, the route continues to Carhaix-Plouguer.

Carhaix-Plouguer

Town Hall of Carhaix-Plouguer, by Moreau.henri, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

(Carhaix-Plouguer is said to be the site of Carohaise in Arthurian legend, where King Arthur defended King Leodegrance, and met Leodegrance's daughter Guinevere. There was a Roman city here, Vorgium. In July each year, the Vielles Charrues music festival is held in Carhaix).

At Carhaix-Plouguer, past Breton winners of the Tour de France will be honoured - statues of Bernard Hinault, Lucien Petit-Breton, Louison Bobet, and Jean Robic are being created, and they will be unveiled on 2nd July 2018, according to be-celt.com. Hinault used roads in this area for training and racing when he was a young competitor, and he says that there are some tough climbs. You have to be very strong to take first place, and the Stage 6 route is ideal for a puncher, according to the five-time Tour de France winner.

Shortly after leaving Carhaix-Plouguer, the route leaves Finistère and enters the départment of Côtes-d'Armor. The riders travel through Maël-Carhaix, Rostrenen, and Plouguernével, location of the day's intermediate sprint. Next, they reach Gouarec, then follow the river Blavet past the ruins of the Abbaye de Bon Repos (a C12th Cistercian Abbey now used for exhibitions of contemporary art, a farmers' market on Sunday mornings, and son et lumière shows in the summer).

Abbaye de Bon Repos

Abbaye de Bon Repos, by Binche, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Beyond the Abbey, the route continues parallel with the Blavet, which is dammed to form the Lac de Guérlédan. The route leaves the Côtes-d'Armor département, and enters the Morbihan. Saint-Aignan is the last village before Mûr de Bretagne.

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: the finishing circuit at Mûr de Bretagne

Profile of climb of Mur de Bretagne

Profile of Mûr de Bretagne climb, © ASO/Tour de France

There's a 16km finishing circuit (ridden clockwise). After a first climb of the Côte de Mûr de Bretagne, the riders continue to Saint-Mayeux. Just before the village is the bonus point with bonifications available - 3s, 2s, and 1s time bonuses for the first three racers over the line. The riders then turn right to Saint-Gilles-Vieux-Marché, on the way back to the village of Mûr de Bretagne. Finally, there's a second climb of the Côte de Mûr de Bretagne to the finish line.

The Mûr de Bretagne climb is used on the Bretagne Classic race, and has been used several times on the Tour de France. In 1947, it was on the route of a 139-km individual time trial. In 2011, Stage 4 finished at the top of the climb, and Cadel Evans won ahead of Alberto Contador:

In 2015, Alexis Vuillermoz was fastest up the climb and won Stage 8.

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: favourites for the stage win

Alexis Vuillermoz

Alexis Vuillermoz, by youkeys, Licence CC BY 2.0

Even though Mûr de Bretagne has been referred to as Brittany's Alpe d'Huez, it is really a finish for 'punchers' rather than climbers. That said, Cadel Evans won the Mûr de Bretagne stage in 2011, and he went on to win the race overall. The fact that the climb is tackled twice this time could make a difference.

While a climber/GC contedner like Romain Bardet or Nairo Quintana could win, it seems more likely that a puncher such as Greg van Avermaet will emerge triumphant - or, since he has done it before (Stage 8 of the Tour de France 2015), why not Alexis Vuillermoz?

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: comments

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Stage 7, Tour de France 2018

Fougères

Fougères, by Tim Schofield, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 7 of the Tour de France 2018 is the longest of the race - 231km from Fougères to Chartres. Taking a route that passes through Alençon, the riders will approach Chartres from the south, and the pace is likely to wind up in the final kilometres, to end in a bunch sprint.

Read about Stage 7 of the 2018 Tour de France.

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: towns, sights and attractions

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: Brest

Brest

Tour Tanguy, river Penfeld, & Château de Brest, by Julien Carnot, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Brest is a city in the département of Finistère, and the region of Brittany. It's the second French military port after Toulon. The population is about 142,000.

The port of Brest is sheltered, as it's on the rade de Brest, the estuary of the river Elorn; the river which runs through Brest itself is called the Penfeld. The Penfeld is crossed by a large drawbridge, the pont de la Recouvrance.

Pont de la Recouvrance, Brest

Pont de la Recouvrance, Brest, by Yann Caradec, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Brest belonged to the Dukes of Brittany in the Middle Ages, then became part of France with the rest of Brittany in 1532. Cardinal Richelieu spotted its potential as a military harbour, and wooden wharves were built in 1631. Later in the 1600s, Louis XIV's military architect Vauban built fortifications.

Many American soldiers arrived in Brest during World War I. In World War II, Brest was an important German U-boat base. Brest was almost totally destroyed in 1944 as the Allies advanced after D-Day.

Today, France's nuclear submarines are based here, as is a Naval Training Centre. The National Navy Museum is in the castle at Brest.

Brest is also a commercial port, and ship repairs and maintenance are undertaken.

Services represent the largest sector of the economy, including banking, research and development, and sciences. It is also an important University city, with 23,000 students.

Brest is twinned with Denver, Colorado (USA) and Plymouth, Devon (UK).

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: Huelgoat

Huelgoat

'Mushroom rock', Huelgoat, by Yann Caradec, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Huelgoat is a village by a lake and a forest. In the forest are big mossy boulders.

According to legend (this applies to all the facts that follow), the boulders were thrown there by a Celtic giant; the Virgin Mary lived amongst the rocks; and King Arthur had a home in a cave here (la Grotte d'Artus).

One boulder, la Roche Tremblante, weighs 100 tonnes, but even a child can get it to move a little, by finding exactly the right place to push.

Stage 6, Tour de France 2018: Mûr de Bretagne

Mur de Bretagne

Mûr de Bretagne, by Rhian, Licence CC BY 2.0

Mûr de Bretagne used to be a town in its own right, but is now part of the commune of Guerlédan. It is to the east of the Lac de Guerlédan, a lake formed by a dam of the river Blavet.

The name Mûr comes from the Breton muriou, and it means walls or ramparts around a fortified town.

Mûr de Bretagne has featured in the Tour de France on many occasions, including on the route of a 139km individual time trial in 1947, the first Tour after the war. It is the Côte de Menez Hiez, or Côte de Mur, a climb on the D767 north of Mûr de Bretagne, which the race organisers use to split the field. This was the final climb on Stage 4 of the Tour de France 2011, and Stage 8 of the Tour de France 2015.

BrestRoc de TrévézelAbbaye de Bon Repos

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