When Wednesday July 8
From Arras Communauté Urbaine
To Amiens Métropole
Impact on overall: 1/5
Where are we?
Arras gets another go of hosting the start of a stage for the second year running, having waved the peloton on its way on stage six, destination Reims, last year.
The route takes us into Picardy, the region of France which, along with Belgium, saw particularly fierce fighting during the First World War. As a result, there are a number of memorial sites in the area to interest students of history.
What’s on the route?
It’s a relatively flat stage, which takes the riders from Arras, the capital of Pas-de-Calais, to Amiens, the capital of the Somme. Both towns are an easy drive from Calais, the gateway to Europe for most British visitors.
Amiens was home to the writer Jules Verne. Originally from Nantes, and by way of Paris, Verne moved to Amiens at the age of 28 and lived there until his death, aged 77, in 1905. Those interested in the works of one of France’s best-loved authors can visit his former home, now a museum.
After an opening four days of what will have hopefully been pure entertainment, this should be the first proper sprinters’ stage, giving us our first glimpse of the fastmen in the throes of a frenetic bunched-up gallop.
The recipe tends to be the same: the sprinters’ teams allow a breakaway of, say, six to 10 riders to establish a gap early on the stage, and then keep them pegged to a lead of around five minutes before winding them back in during the closing kilometres. The stage will simmer, then bubble, and then finally hit boiling point as the sprinters are unleashed for an all-out battle for the line in Amiens.