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The Road To Paris part 2
The route is divided into seven sectors. The first and last sectors will be ridden by your complete team, whilst the remaining five sectors can be ridden as a relay; the choice of formation is completely at your discretion, as long as at least two members of your team are on the road at any one time. Changeovers will take place at the 'contrôles' at the end of each sector. Over the coming months we’ll look at each sector in detail allowing you to start to devise your ideal strategy.
Sector 3 – Mansle to Chatellerault (126km – 400m ascent)
The rolling terrain of sector 2 continues for another 30km before giving way to flatter roads more suited to the big engines. Long, straight, flat sections of road seem to extend to the horizon and open fields will provide little shelter from what wind is blowing. After passing to the east of Poitiers, our route intersects the valley of the Vienne and trace its banks all the way to the end of the sector in Chatellerault. As we enter the city we cross the Vienne again via the distinctive 16th century, twin turreted Pont Henri IV, backdrop to many famous images from the race over the years. Riders traditionally met up with their derny driver on Boulevard Blossac in the heart of the town to complete the remainder of the race behind their pacer. You can still imagine weary cyclists emerging from the bars and cafes to continue their journey northwards. Chatellerault was also an important centre for arms manufacture dating from Medieval times and received heavy bombing from Allied air-raids during WWII in attempts to prevent weapons manufacture by the Nazis.
Sector 4 – Chatellerault to Veretz (75km – 330m ascent)
The legs will quickly be awoken at the start of sector 4 as the route climbs away from Chatellerault and the Vienne valley. Two moderate climbs await us on the first ten kilometres before the profile flattens out once again. We pass the fascinating troglodyte village of St Remy sur Creuse where arrowheads and other prehistoric remains have been found. Kilometres 25-65 sees a return to gently rolling, open, agricultural landscapes with a sense that we’re truly in the heart of rural France. Shortly after crossing the Creuse River we reach an important milestone; the halfway point of the event. As we approach Veretz, a small village on the outskirts of Tours, it feels like a return to civilisation of some sort as open fields give way to retail parks and housing developments overspilling from Tours.
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