The Tour de France 2018 kicks off in Pays de la Loire
For the tenth time in its history, the Grande Boucle (the ‘Great Loop’) will be departing, on 7 July 2018, from the roads in Loire. This 105th edition of the internationally-renowned Tour de France will depart from Noirmoutier-en-Ile, the route of the iconic cycling event going on to include four stages in the department of Pays de la Loire.
Stage 1 – Saturday 7 July 2018
Noirmoutier > Fontenay-le-Comte (189 km)
Noirmoutier-en-Ile is the point of departure for this 105th edition of the Tour de France. Competing cyclists will hug the Atlantic coast and follow the direction of the Vélodyssée, the Atlantic cycling route. A sea-side start to the itinerary that will take participants past the well-known family resorts of Saint-Jean-de-Monts, Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie and Les Sables-d’Olonne. Heading away from the coast after La Tranche-sur-Mer, the pack will traverse the beautiful marshlands of the Marais Poitevin area before crossing the stage one finishing line in Fontenay-le-Comte, an ‘Art and History’ town, hosting the Tour de France for the very first time.
Stage 2 – Sunday 8 July 2018
Mouilleron-Saint-Germain > La Roche-sur-Yon (183 km)
Previously known as Mouilleron-en-Pareds before its 2016 merger with Saint-Germain-l’Aiguiller, the commune can lay claim to being the birthplace of two high-calibre champions: former French prime minister Georges Clémenceau and World War II commander Marshal Lattre de Tassigny. A sure sign that the start location of the Tour’s second stage will fill the competitors with courage and tenacity as they head to La Roche-sur-Yon after making a wide detour via the Vendée’s stunning bocage.
Stage 3 – Sunday 09 July 2018
Cholet (team time trial – 35 km)
Voted ‘the most sporting town in France’ (1972, 2007 and 2014) three times by French daily L’Équipe, Cholet is the well-deserving host of this top-level leg of the race, a tough physical challenge tempered by lush landscapes. This team time trial, which departs from and finishes in the town centre, will loop around Cholet following the rolling roads around Les Mauges.
Stage 4 – Sunday 10 July 2018
La Baule > Sarzeau (192 km)
The departure for the Tour’s fourth stage sets out from one of the most famous seaside resorts on the Atlantic coast. La Baule, which boasts one of the most beautiful bays in the world, promises an idyllic setting for competitors with its long sandy beach stretching for over nine kilometres. From here, the pack will make its way to Guérande before crossing Brière regional nature park. It is only in Derval that the cyclists will finally leave the roads of Pays de la Loire after four days competing in the region. They will then head towards Brittany to complete the Grande Boucle and the 17 remaining stages, with a mini detour through Mayenne and Sarthe on the race’s seventh day, as the participants bid a final farewell to the department of Pays de la Loire.
The stages of the 2018 Tour and ideas for visits : open the map !