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Tour de France 2018 diary Stage 4

Tour de France 2018 diary Stage 4: the Cycling Podcast

The Cycling Podcast's guest Frenchman François Thomazeau can really dish out the criticism. He got on a roll when speaking about Movistar's TTT effort. 'You have the impression that they don't have a strategy...they have a philosophy, which is not exactly the same thing.'

Alex Dowsett recently discussed Movistar's lack of planning for TTTs, compared to Sky's meticulous approach. He seemed to suggest that the lackadaisical method might be a good thing, giving an example of an occasion when it produced a satisfactory result for Movistar. Is this an example of a post hoc ergo propter hoc argument from the Essex rider?

Tour de France 2018 diary Stage 4: NOS Avond Etappe

Dutch evening highlights and discussion programme Avond Etappe featured Sunweb's Directeur Sportif Tom Veelers, and the work done by him and the team to get ready for yesterday's TTT.

Sunweb have been working with the Technische Universiteit Delft, and the academics there had figured out the optimal order for the riders to take their turns on the front. There was even a computer simulation of them going round the course. In discussions before the event, Tom Dumoulin told the rest of his team that he likes to do a very small acceleration when he finishes his turn, to make quite sure that nobody clips his back wheel.

Meanwhile, Lotto Jumbo's plan was to take it easy on the first half of the TTT course, then accelerate - but according to Steven Kruijswijk, they took it too easy at the start, and couldn't make up the time afterwards.

Henk Lubberding brought an expert eye to bear on the TTT. He identified that Peter Sagan's two water bottles bounced out of their bottle cages right at the start of the course, and he had to cadge a drink from a team mate. Maybe that helps explain why he dropped off the back of the Bora Hansgrohe train.

The Avond Etappe talked about new procedures for the riders when they throw away water bottles. There are designated zones where the bottles can be jettisoned, and fines for throwing them away elsewhere.

Tour de France 2018 diary Stage 4: ITV4

Ned Boulting (short, as you may know, for Neddington Boultingman) made a rather grumpy comment about criticism and corrections on social meeja. If you talk for 4 hours a day, you're bound to say some daft things, and I suggest the best attitude is to welcome corrections, wherever they come from. It's better than being ignored, at least.

Tour de France 2018 diary Stage 4: miscellaneous

Dave Brailsford had accused UCI President David Lappartient of having the mentality of a French mayor. Lappartient responded in just the way you might expect a French mayor to respond - getting stuck into the petty squabble, and showing no sign whatever of being Presidential.

There's no change to the scores on the doors. I had Cav down for the stage win - at least he was up there today, but not quite at the races. I'm hoping for some iconics when we reach the Alps, or maybe even earlier, on the route to Roubaix.

Super-happies: 1

Iconics: 0

Correct predictions of stage winners on this website: 1 out of 4 (not bad, and very nearly a Meat Loaf song)

Tour de France 2018 diary Stage 4: comments

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Stage 5, Tour de France 2018

View of Chateaulin

View of Châteaulin, by Moreau.henri, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Stage 5 of the Tour de France 2018 is 204.5km from Lorient to Quimper. 

Read about Stage 5 of the 2018 Tour de France.

Stage 4, Tour de France 2018: towns, sights and attractions

Stage 4, Tour de France 2018: la Baule

Beach at la Baule

Beach at la Baule, by Burgermac, Licence CC BY 2.0

La Baule-Escoublac is a seaside resort in the Loire-Atlantique département, and the Pays de la Loire region. This stretch of coastline is known as la Côte d'Amour.

La Baule owes its existence to the moving sand dunes. In the late 1700s, storms moved sand and buried some houses at Escoublac. Locals feared that the salt marshes would advance as the sand dunes moved. A dyke was built, but many locals moved inland, where a new village was built on the road to Guérande in 1779.

The site near the dyke became known as la Bôle (a coastal meadow liable to be flooded), later la Baule. In the years that followed, trees were planted to help stabilise the sand dunes.

In 1878, Parisian industrialist Jules-Joseph Hennecart bought up dunes here, and in 1879, the railway link with Paris was completed. Hennecart commissioned a local architect to design a town based along a Promenade. Later, luxury hotels and a casino were added.

La Baule was a centre of German navy activity during World War II, because it was close to the U-boat station of Saint-Nazaire (at the mouth of the estuary of the river Loire). It was part of the Poche de Saint-Nazaire in 1945 - the Nazis held out longer here than in the rest of the département.

The year-round population is around 16,000, but in summer, there can be 150,000 people here including visitors. Since September 1989, the TGV Atlantique has linked Paris and la Baule, with a journey time of less than 3 hours.

There are festivals of chamber music, jazz, and European film in la Baule.

La Baule is twinned with another destination for sun-worshippers, Inverness in Scotland.

Stage 4, Tour de France 2018: Guérande


Guérande, by Jeanne Menjoulet, Licence CC BY 2.0

Guérande is a walled Medieval town. The circumference of the ramparts is 1,434m; there are four gates. The town walls were begun in 1343 but only inaugurated in 1488. The old town within the walls is referred to as intra muros.

The salt marshes around Guérande are part nature reserve and partly used for production of fleur de sel.

Salt marshes, Guérande

Salt marshes near Guérande, by Office du Tourisme de Guérande, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 4, Tour de France 2018: Pontchâteau

Pontchateau Town Hall

Pontchâteau Town Hall, by Yves LC, Licence CC BY-SA 3.0

Pontchâteau originated in the C11th, when the local barons built a castle by a bridge over the river Brivet, and a town grew up around the castle. It was a centre for exchanges of produce from the marshes to the south, and the plateau inland.

At around the same time, the monks of Marmoutier founded a Priory. Pontchâteau was on one of the routes to Saint-Iago-de-Compostella.

It was the missionary Grignion de Montfort who built a Calvary in 1709, but Louis XIV had it destroyed. The current Calvary dates from the C19th, and has around thirty statues. Visitors and pilgrims can climb the hill, which represents Mount Golgotha, following in the footsteps of Christ to his crucifixion. There's also a Scala Sancta and pilgrims' chapel, which are C19th constructions too.

Calvary, Pontchateau

Calvary at Pontchâteau, by Liberliger, Licence CC BY-SA 4.0

Pontchâteau today is a town of around 10,000 people.

There's a cyclo-cross circuit just south west of Pontchâteau, at Coët-Rotz. The French National Championships have been held there on five occasions, as well as four World Cup events, and two World Championships. There's to be another World Cup event there in 2019.

Stage 4, Tour de France 2018: Sarzeau

Beach at Sarzeau

Beach at Sarzeau, by Emmie Wzk, Licence CC BY 2.0

Sarzeau is a small town of about 7,800 people in the Morbihan département of Brittany. It's on the Rhuys peninsula, which forms the southern shore of the Gulf of Morbihan. Sarzeau's economy is largely dependent on tourism.

Golfe du Morbihan

Golfe du Morbihan, by Peter Stenzel, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

The coastline of the Rhuys peninsula on the northern (Gulf of Morbihan) side is granite, and features sheltered bays and rocky points. There are sandy beaches on the southern (Atlantic) coast of the peninsula.

Several islands in the Gulf of Morbihan belong to the Sarzeau commune. They include the Ile des Oeufs and the Ile de Godec.

Near to the town of Sarzeau and within the commune is the Château de Suscinio, built in the C13th and fortified in the C15th - a favourite haunt of the Dukes of Brittany in the day when they ruled here.

Chateau de Suscinio

Château de Suscinio, by socrate1950, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Other sights include prehistoric standing stones, like the menhir de Kermaillard, and a bird reserve at Duer.

Suscinio is one of the last places on the Rhuys peninsula where Breton is still spoken as a first language by the older residents. Around 7% of children in the commune of Sarzeau study in bi-lingual (Breton and French) classes.

David Lappartient

David Lappartient (wearing a tie), Mayor of Sarzeau & President of the UCI, by Conseil Départemental des Yvelines Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

David Lappartient, elected President of the UCI in 2017, is also the Mayor of Sarzeau.

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