Saturday 2 July, 19km, Fromentine to Noirmoutier-en-I'lle
American David Zabriskie was the shock winner after a brilliant ride in the 19km time trial through the Vendee region, finishing two seconds ahead of compatriot Lance Armstrong.
Your Tour experiences and comments
Three of us went to watch the first stage and got there just in time to see the drive-through from all the various sponsors etc which was fantastic along with the stage, and the hospitality of the town (Fromentine) and its locals (who even supplied us jump leads when our car battery went flat!). Nourmoutier was also very nice where we briefly visited the next day, along with the rest of France and the Vendee. Will definitely visit again.
My family and I have just returned from the Vendee region of France, where the Tour is starting. We actually drove the route of the first stage from Fromentine to Noirmoutier. The bridge near the beginning of the stage is quite impressive with fairly straight steep gradients either side of a sharp crest giving the effect of driving up a ramp with no view of the road the other side. Apart from this incline the route is fairly flat. The roads are good, running either side of potato fields and regular cells/pans of water evaporating to produce salt.
Rob Causton, UK
A tricky start, 19 km on your own by the sea, lots of wind, we could see some gaps open between the timetrialists and the mountain specialists. It's bad news for the sprinters who want to were yellow though. People like Heras, Mayo and Vinokourov may loose time that they can't gain back in the mountains against Armstrong, Ullrich, Mancebo, Basso etc...
talavera de la reina, spain
What a terrific start to the tour. 3 years ago we actually rode the course by mistake. The bridge is one of the better ones but it will be a dragstrip on the downside for the power riders. These guys will be pushing 150 inch plus gears up to 50 miles per hour down the hill - the run in is slightly undulating but will see raw power win the prologue - there are virtually no corners except technical roundabout - Brits on holiday in the campsites nearby - be there you will experience something you mat never see again.
Haywards Heath UK
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