A long day in the saddle

More joy for the sprinters

This is the longest stage of this year's Tour. But with no classified climbs it will be far from the toughest as it heads eastwards towards the centre of France. 

Once again, the flat straight roads give every advantage to the sprinters' teams in the last chance before the terrain gets decidedly hillier tomorrow. Aspiring breakaway specialists may have other ideas though, and those who took it a bit easy in the time trial yesterday might fancy a tilt at this one.

This is the third Tour de France to feature the town of Cholet, and the second stage of this year's race as it hosted both the start and finish of yesterday's time trial.

Châteauroux has only hosted the Tour de France once before – in 1998 – when Mario Cipollini finally managed to open his account that year after a first week of crashes and bad luck. The route is slightly different – and a few kilometres longer – but the stage start and finish are the same as those ten years ago.

Apart from the Château Raoul, that gives the city its name, Châteauroux's big claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of French acting legend Gérard Depardieu.

Route map from bikely.com

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