A guide to the Tour de France
Stage 8 of the Tour de France 2018 is 181km from Dreux to Amiens. Christian Prudhomme says that any sprinter who aims to win on this day will have to deal with the gusty winds which could blow towards the end of the course. Will Tom Dumoulin be complaining that it is 'a very boring stage', and doing theatrical yawns to the cameras? Can we crowdfund a Rubik's cube for him? Read about Stage 8 of the Tour de France 2018 here.
In the end, Tom Dumoulin was probably glad of a boring stage. Fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen thrives on them, and he took the stage win. See the video highlights of the stage:
Read the Hedgehog Stage 8 diary.
|Intermediate sprint||La Neuve Grange|
|Climbs||Côte de Pacy-sur-Eure (Category 4)
Côte de Feuquerolles (Category 4)
This is the official map of Stage 8.
The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 8:
Profile of Stage 8, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Saturday 14th July 2018.
The publicity caravan sets off from Dreux at 0935, and the peloton at 1135. The projected average speeds are 44, 46, and 48kmh, and depending on which is most accurate, the riders will arrive at the finish line in Amiens between 1536 and 1557.
Mark Cavendish looks forward to the Tour de France for the BBC, and names his 'one to watch' - his prediction for the stage win.
'Another bunch sprint, although this time it's a bit more of a technical finish. It's a straight run-in for 10km until we enter the city with about 6km to go, and then it's lefts and rights and roundabouts. It will be important to stay at the front from 10km to go, and you'll see the lead-out trains in full force to put riders in a good position for the last corner with 600m to go. It's going to take power to get out of the corner, be able to settle, and then do your sprint.
It's a difficult sprint to get right when you have a corner with 600m to go, but it's one I've done before, and the sprinters will be looking forward to it, before we have to take a back seat for a few stages.'
His one to watch? Dylan Groenewegen. He is one of the young sprinters coming through. He won the final stage in Paris last year, and can accelerate out of corners.
The stage starts at Dreux, known for its Chapelle Royale, last resting place of King Louis Philippe and many members of the Orléans family. Dreux is in the département of Eure-et-Loir, and the Region of Centre-Val de Loire.
According to L'Echo Républicain, it will be a double celebration in Dreux on the day of Stage 8 - of France's national day (14th July), and of the start of a Tour de France stage. There's to be a big screen showing the race at place Mésirard (and later the 3rd/4th place play-off at the football World Cup between England and France - assuming my astrologer has predicted the preceding World Cup results correctly); in the evening, there'll be a concert, and fireworks in the park of the Chapelle Royale.
The départ fictif is from the Champ-de-Foire.
The Seine at les Andelys, seen from Château Gaillard, by Inra, DIST, Jean Weber, Licence CC BY 2.0
Leaving Dreux, Stage 8 heads north and crosses the river Eure at Fermaincourt, and the départ réel is soon after crossing the river. On the D928, it goes through the Forêt Dominiale de Dreux - woods formerly used for hunting by the kings of France and the counts of Dreux; there are long, diagonal 'rides' through the forest, and where some of them meet is an octagonal building dating from 1754, called the Pavillon de Chasse.
The route reaches Anet, where it passes in front of the Château d'Anet. The stone entrance gatehouse is very striking, with a stag and hounds crowning it.
Beyond Anet, the race route follows the river Eure to la Chaussée-d'Ivry. It leaves the Eure-et-Loir département, and enters the Eure département (and the Normandy Region) at Bueil, continuing along the course of the river Eure. (The source of the Eure is in the Perche Natural Park, which the race goes through on Stage 7, and it is an affluent of the Seine, into which it flows 228km later. It gives its name to two départements, the Eure-et-Loire, and the Eure).
Between Breuilpont and Pacy-sur-Eure, the riders are alongside the Train Touristique de la Vallée de l'Eure.
From Pacy-sur-Eure, the peloton will veer north east, away from the river Eure. There's a Category 4 climb here, the Côte de Pacy-sur-Eure: 2km at 4.3%, reaching a height of 135m at the top. The route continues past the châteaux of Brécourt and Bizy towards the river Seine at Vernon.
Vernon is an historic town in its own right, with attractions to visit, but the big draw in this area is Giverny, a mile or two up the river, where Claude Monet lived and created a beautiful garden with water lilies.
From Vernon, the race makes it way down river, past the Château de la Madeleine and the ruins of the C12th Château Neuf. On the approach to les Andelys is Château Gaillard.
Stage 8 goes through les Andelys, then on the D316 it climbs away from the river Seine, and this is the Category 4 ascent of the Côte de Feuquerolles. After the climb, the riders continue to Saussay-la-Campagne. It is rolling farmland here, and the route is through Puchay, before the intermediate sprint at La Neuve Grange.
Then it's on to Morgny, and Bézu-la-Forêt. The Château de la Fontaine-du-Houx stands at Bézu-la-Forêt. It was a residence of Charles the Bald (823-877); the current edifice dates from the C16th. Glass was made in Bézu-la-Forêt from the C14th.
Now Stage 8 leaves the Eure département and enters the Seine-Maritime. It goes through part of the Forêt de Lyons on the way to the town of Gournay-en-Bray.
The race leaves Gournay-en-Bray and goes through the neighbouring town of Ferrières-en-Bray. Heading north east on the D930, it passes the Château de Manais. The riders then leave the Seine-Maritime département (and the Normandie region) and enter the Oise (and the Hauts-de-France region).
Stage 8 passes through the village of Gerberoy. Painter Henri Le Sidaner lived there. He planted flowers in his garden, especially roses, and he helped to restore the village and embellish it with flowers. The Jardins Henri Le Sidaner and Jardin des Ifs (Yew Tree gardens) are open to the public.
Now the D930 takes the riders to Marseille - but not that one. This is Marseille-en-Beauvaisis, a modest town near Beauvais. Then it's on to Crèvecoeur-le-Grand.
At Croissy-sur-Celle, the riders leave the Oise département and enter the Somme. The D210 takes them north past Tilloy-lès-Conty, then comes the bonus point: time bonuses of 3, 2, and 1 second for the first three riders across the line.
The next villages are Nampty and Plachy-Buchon. The road is straight and quite exposed, and almost due north. A westerly wind would be a crosswind, and might cause splits and echelons; a north wind would be a headwind, and condemn any breakaway.
The race reaches the outskirts of Amiens at Salouël. A large commemorative sign was unveiled there on Friday 13th April 2018 by Christian Prudhomme, showing 7.8km to go to the finish line.
The finish of the stage is at Amiens.
According to France Bleu, the riders enter Amiens via the University campus, then take rue Jean Moulin, the boulevards around the town, and rue Saint-Fuscien. There's a bend to the right to go past the station, then a bend to the left onto rue Vanemarcke; the route continues on rue des Francs-Muriers, place Vogel, and boulevard du Port d'Aval. At the roundabout, they go up boulevard Faidherbe, and the finish line is by the Coliséum sports complex. The finishing straight is 600m long, according to the Courrier Picard.
This video shows the route to the finish in Amiens:
The favourites for the stage win include the top sprinters. This race takes place on France's national day, 14th July, and much of the country will be hoping that Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) can give them a home win to celebrate. The locals have even more incentive to back Démare, since he is from Beauvais, in Picardie (an historical region of France that also included Amiens; the modern administrative region that includes what used to be Picardie is called Hauts-de-France).
Stage 9 of the Tour de France 2018 is 154km from Arras Citadelle to Roubaix.
Read about Stage 9 of the 2018 Tour de France.
Dreux is a town in the Eure-et-Loir département of France.
The name Dreux stems from the Celtic Durocasses tribe that lived here in pre-Roman times. The Romans established a fortified camp called Castrum Drocas.
On 15th December 1562, the first major battle of the French Wars of Religion took place at Dreux, with a victory for the Catholic Duc de Montmorency.
An interesting historical attraction at Dreux is the Chapelle Royale de Dreux. It is where members of the Orléans family are buried, including Louis-Philippe, who was King of France from 1830 to 1848.
Dreux is twinned with Evesham (UK).
The Château d'Anet is in the Renaissance style, and was built by Henri II in the C16th for his favourite, Diane de Poitiers.
Diane engaged architect Philibert Delorme, sculptor Jean Goujon, and painter Jean Cousin. The building is in a U-shape, around a central courtyard, and there was a Renaissance-style garden.
The château was confiscated by the state at the time of the Revolution, and subsequently fell into disrepair. In the 1800s, it was restored in several phases. It is now privately owned, and inhabited, but it can be visited on a guided tour. How enjoyable is the tour? On TripAdvisor, opinion is divided.
Vernon is a town of 24,000 people on the river Seine, and in the Eure département. Its motto is Vernon semper viret, meaning 'Vernon, always green.' The name Vernon probably means 'alder' or 'plain planted with alder.'
The site seems to have been occupied from the C2nd BC, and into the Gallo-Roman period. It is first mentioned in documents in 750AD.
Ariane Group, who make jet engines for military planes, are based in Vernon. Rowenta, who make small electrical appliances for the kitchen, are here too.
Historic buildings in Vernon include the Collégiale Notre-Dame church (C11th to C15th), the remaining piles of the Medieval bridge and the old mill built on top, the Château des Tourelles, and the imposing Tour des Archives (a vestige of the old castle).
Ousmane Dembélé, who plays football for Barcelona, was born in Vernon.
Many tourists in Vernon are simply using it as a base to visit Monet's house at Giverny, a stone's throw up the river.
Château Gaillard was built by Richard the Lionheart, King of England and Duke of Normandy, from 1196-8.
Richard wanted a castle at this strategic location on the river Seine to protect the Duchy of Normandy from Philip II of France. Philip had a castle nearby, on the other side of the Seine, at Gaillon.
Richard died in 1199. The castle was beseiged by Philip II, and capitulated in 1204. Philip was subsequently able to conquer the rest of Normandy.
The castle changed hands several times during the One Hundred Years war.
In 1599, Gaillard was already in a ruined state when Henri IV ordered that it be demolished.
Gournay-en-Bray is a town of 6,000 people at the confluence of the Epte and the Morette.
The church was built from 990, to house the relics of Hildevert, Bishop of Meaux. It was burned down in 1174, and a new church consacrated in 1192.
Hugues II de Gournay fought at the Battle of Hastings with William the Conqueror, and was rewarded with lands in England in Essex and Suffolk; his son was given land in Somerset.
The cinema was originally a butter market, then a theatre. It has two screens for showing films.
Crèvecoeur-le-Grand was a major centre for the production of serge cloth in the 1600s and early 1700s.
There are several large wind turbines here, and their maintenance employs a number of local people.
A walking and cycling path called la Coulée Verte starts here. It is on the trackbed of the old Beauvais-Amiens railway line, and it goes north via Conty and Wailly to Vers-sur-Selle.
Amiens is a city of about 130,000 people in the Somme département and the Hauts-de-France region. It is in the historical area of Picardy. The river Somme runs through the centre of Amiens.
The Gallic Ambiani people lived in this area, and when the Romans arrived, they called the site Ambianum. The name Amiens evolved from the Roman name.
Amiens suffered during both World Wars. In World War I, the Battle of Amiens took place in 1918 in the lead-up to the Armistice. The city was heavily bombed by the RAF towards the end of World War II.
Amiens is known for its C13th Gothic Cathedral, the largest of this type in France (by interior volume). It is regarded as a masterpiece of the classic Gothic style. It took only 70 years to build, which is a short time compared to other such Cathedrals, and helps to explain the consistent style.
One of France's biggest university hospitals is here, and there's a large student population (around 26,000 students and 800 researchers).
There's a dynamic economy based on industry and services. After the last war, automotive equipment was an important sector, and Goodyear still have a base in Amiens. Also here are Procter & Gamble. More recently, call centres and internet businesses have set up.
A December Christmas market is held in Amiens, which is large and popular. You can try macarons d'Amiens there.
Amiens is known for its hortillonnages, or floating gardens, on islands in marshland between the Somme and the Avre.
Jules Verne lived in Amiens from 1871 until his death in 1905.
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