Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, announced on Tuesday that the 2011 Tour de France will start in the Vendée region, situated in west France.

The first two stages of the 2011 Tour – on Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3 – will take place in the coastal region, with a third stage starting in Vendée before the riders head north.

Rather than a short prologue, the opening stage of the 2011 Tour will be a fully-blown road stage starting on the Passage du Gois, a road to the island of Noirmoutier that becomes submerged by the Atlantic tide twice daily – the organisers will have to time the start accurately.

The riders then head east for 180km for an uphill finish at Mont des Alouettes which will favour attacking riders or a very strong sprinter’s team.

After the opening salvo, the riders – or more specifically teams – then face a 23km team time trial around Les Essarts. It is highly likely, therefore, that we will see two different riders wearing the yellow jersey in the first two days of the race.

It will be the fifth occasion that the Tour has started in the Vendée region in the race’s 98 editions.

Tour de France 2011: The opening stages
Saturday, July 2: Stage one: Passage du Gois to Mont des Alouettes, 180 km
Sunday, July 3: Stage two: Les Essarts to Les Essarts, 23km team time trial
Monday, July 4: Stage three: Olonne-sur-Mer to ?

Tour de France 2011 start map

Map: Tour de France/ASO

Related links

2010 Tour de France route revealed

  • Derek

    Lesley,we ar living in Martinet a few K from the action……if you want use us as a waterhole your welcome

  • Lesley

    Hi we too will be going over to France in our motor home, leaving Dover on friday 1st July to Calais. My hubby is an avid cyclist and it will be the first one he has been able to go and watch. Can anyone give a detailed map of the route and advice on the best place to stop to see the middle of the Olonne Sur Mer stage? All help would be appreciated, he would be gutted if we totaly missed it after arranging the time off to get there!
    Kind regards

  • arthur

    hi troops new to this will be in a motorhome looking forward to the race what to watch the moutain stages were should i be looking to stay and what dates cheers arthur

  • Greg in Fitchburg MA

    I’m excited about the 2011 Tour. I agree with Gordon about the Team TT. Not a big fan of that but I can live with it. Great to see the Vendee region being a part of next years Tour. I’m going through Tour withdrawals…02July2011 can’t come quick enough!

  • Gordon

    I’m glad that the Tour is back in this part of France again after being nowhere near it in 2010. Bit of a gimmic with the island causeway start, but very interesting that it’s a fully blown stage straight off the bat for the first time in a long while. Cannot say I’m a fan of the Team TT, especially when so short and flat a course – seems a bit pointless. Anyway, can’t wait for it though cannot believe that 2011 will be able to match the daily sustained drama of 2010! Vive Le Tour!!!