Stage 13 of the Tour de France 2022 is a day for those sprinters who have survived contact with the Alps. A breakaway may go early in the 193km stage, but Christian Prudhomme thinks it won't stay away, and the race will end in a bunch sprint in Saint-Etienne.
A city that's famous for it football team who play in green will play host to a battle for green jersey points.
|Date||Friday 15th July 2022|
|Intermediate sprint||La Côte Saint-André
|Climbs||Côte de Brié (Cat. 3)
Col de Parménie (Cat. 2)
Côte de Saint-Romain-en-Gal (Cat. 3)
There's an annoying video map of Stage 13:
This is the profile of Stage 13, Tour de France 2022:
|Caravan||Fast Schedule||Slow Schedule|
|Start Time (départ fictif)||1105||1305||1305|
|Start Time (départ réel)||1120||1320||1320|
|Intermediate Sprint (101.6km)||1342||1530||1542|
|Côte de Saint-Romain-en-Gal (148.6km)||1447||1630||1647|
|Finish Line (192.6km)||1549
Stage 13 starts in Bourg d'Oisans. The riders head down the Gorges de la Romanche, through the little villages of Livet and Gavet, and past Séchilienne. They reach Vizille.
From Vizille, the race takes the D5 uphill, for the first categorised climb of the day, the Côte de Brié. It's 2.4km at an average gradient of 6.9%, reaching a height of 450m. It's Category 3.
The riders head via Brié-et-Angonnes and Eybens and boulevard Gambetta towards the river Isère in Grenoble. This is in sight of Grenoble's two forts, on the opposite bank of the river, the Fort Rabbot and the Fort de la Bastille.
Grenoble is a city at the confluence of the Isere and the Drac. It is the capital of the Isère département. Its population is around 160,000, and the population of the greater urban area is 660,000.
There was a village called Cularo here in pre-Roman times, occupied by the Allobroges. The Romans renamed the settlement Gratianopolis, after the Emporer Gratian visited. That name gradually changed over the centuries to become Grenoble.
In the C11th, Grenoble became capital of the Dauphiné, under the local counts who ruled lands here. The University of Grenoble was founded in 1339. Ten years later, the Dauphiné was sold to the French King, and one of the conditions was that the heir to the French throne should take the title Dauphin.
The construction of the present Bastille fort was begun in the late 1500s under lieutenant-general Lesdiguières (also responsible for the château at Vizille).
From the C18th, industry developed here, including glove-making, and later hydro-electric power. Today Grenoble is known for biotechnology and nanotechnology industries
Grenoble was the main centre for the 1968 Winter Olympics. It is surrounded by mountains: it has the Chartreuse to the north, the Vercors to the south and west, and the Belledonne to the east. It is sometimes called 'the capital of the Alps'.
The Bastille fort is one of the main attractions of Grenoble, and you can go up there by cable car.
Grenoble is twinned with many cities including Innsbruck (Austria), Oxford (UK), and Phoenix (USA).
Stage 13 does a stretch along the river on Quai Claude Bernard, then continues on avenue des Martyrs, past the Centre for Nuclear Studies, and reaching the confluence of the Isère and the Drac.
Next the race passes through the suburb of Sassenage, known for its 17th century château, its caves (les Cuves de Sassenage) which are one of the Seven Marvels of the Dauphiné, and its Vercors-Sassenage blue cheese.
There are mountains either side of the riders as they pedal through Sassenage - the Chartreuse to the right and the Vercors to the left.
The route continues alongside the Isère, and reaches Saint-Quentin-sur-Isère. Next the riders leave the river and take the D45 to Tullins.
From Tullins, there's a sharp climb to Notre Dame de Parménie. This is the Category 2 climb of the Col de Parménie, 5.1km at an average 6.6%, reaching 571m at the top.
There's a monastery overlooking the col, called Notre-Dame-de-Parménie. The site has been occupied right back to Roman times, and various orders of monks and nuns have lived there. At the time of WWII, the French maquis resistance used it as their base, but they were attacked by the Nazis in 1943, and the buildings burnt. They were restored in 1965.
The climb is followed by a descent to Izeaux.
Now the race heads west across the Plaine de Bièvre to Saint-Etienne-de Saint-Geoirs, which is next to Grenoble airport.
Now Stage 13 continues to La Côte-de-Saint-André, where the day's intermediate sprint takes place.
Then the race route takes the peloton through the Forêt de Bonnevaux to Villeneuve-de-Marc.
The riders approach the city of Vienne, which stands on the river Rhône.
Vienne was a Roman provincial capital, and has a lot of Roman remains. The annual Jazz à Vienne festival is held in the Roman theatre.
Stage 13 crosses the river Rhône from Vienne to Saint-Romain-en-Gal. Part of the Roman city was here, and the Roman remains are set in a park, where you can see thermal baths, houses and workshops. There's also a museum.
As it leaves the river, the road (D502) rises into the hills to the west of the city. This is the Category 3 climb of the Côte de Saint-Romain-en-Gal. It's 6.6km at an average 4.5%, and the height at the top is 466m.
The riders descend to the river Gier, pass through Rive-de-Gier, continue to Saint-Chamond, and reach la Talaudière which is on the outskirts of Saint-Etienne.
They continue west to l'Etrat, where they turn and head south towards the centre of Saint-Etienne.
There's a right turn at a roundabout from rue de la Tour onto rue des 3 Glorieuses, then the last sharp turn is a left onto rue Montyon. After crossing over the A72, there's a gradual bend to the left to finish on rue Claude Verney Carron, by the Parc des Sports de l'Etivallière and close to the Stade Geoffroy Guichard.
This is the route in Saint-Etienne towards the finish line.
Saint-Etienne (Saint Stephen) stands on the river Furan.
From the 1500s it was an industrial city, known for making weapons. It was also a market town. Later, it was a centre for coal-mining and bicycle production. Bicycle wheel maker Mavic is based in Saint-Etienne.
The city is now trying to modernise and become a capital of design.
The Saint-Etienne football team has won Ligue 1 ten times, but most of their success came in the 1970s.
Stage 13 finishes near the Parc des Sports, where there are stadiums including the Stade Geoffroy Guichard football stadium and the Stade Henri Lux for athletics.
Stage 13 is likely to be a bunch sprint, and Fabio Jakobsen should be one of the favourites.
Who else could win? We'll know more after the first few stages, when we see who is on form, but Wout van Aert is reliably good. Other possible winners include van der Poel, Dainese, and Ewan.
Who do you think will win Stage 13?
Vizille is a town in the Romanche valley, and the département of the Isère. It's on the route Napoléon, and close to the ski resort of Chamrousse.
Vizille was a fortified settlement (oppidum) in the pre-Roman period, then a Roman military camp or Castra Vigiliae. The Roman name mutated into Vizille.
The Château de Vizille was built for François de Bonne, Duke of Lesdiguières, between 1600 and 1619. In the C18th, it was owned by industrialist Claude Perier, who installed a textile factory in it. Several Presidents stayed there when it was the property of the state, including Charles de Gaulle. It is now owned by the Isère département, and houses a museum dedicated to the French Revolution.
The Château has substantial land around it that was the private hunting grounds of the Duke. Today there are lawns, a canal, a wooded area, a rose garden, and an animal park.
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The Vercors takes its name from the first known inhabitants here, the Vertacomicori, a Celtic people.
It is a Regional Natural Park, created in 1970, and covering an area of 432,000 hectares. It is a high, limestone plateau, covered with beech and conifer forests, and dissected by deep river gorges. It's form makes it a natural fortress, which enabled the Vertacomicori to live free of Roman domination.
There are over 1,800 plant species, and the six species of wild hoofed animals found in France (chamois, red deer, roe deer, wild boars, moufflons, and ibexes). Birds of prey here include golden eagles, peregrine falcons, Bonelli's eagles, and vultures.
Bears (European brown) were last seen in the French Alps near Saint-Martin-en-Vercors in 1937, since when they have disappeared, largely due to hunting by man. Bears are ominivores that search for food in remote and steep wooded areas. The Haut Vercors is deserted in winter, and would provide a perfect habitat for bears if they were re-introduced.
There are five nature trails in the Vercors, and it is a paradise for cross-country skiers. It's also one of the top places for potholing in France.
Pont-en-Royans sits on the river Bourne, which divides the Vercors in two: the Montagne de Lans to the north, which is more developed, and the 'real' Vercors to the south, which is densely forested and quite isolated.
The Vercors is known as a stronghold of the Resistance during World War II. It is a natural fortress, to which access can be controlled. From 1942, several Resistance camps were established. Pierre Dalloz devised the plans Montagnards, an idea for establishing an Allied bridgehead in the Vercors: 'There is a sort of island on terra firma, meadows protected by a wall of China. There are few access routes, and they are narrow and rocky. One could bar them, assemble batallions of parachutists on the plateau, then the Vercors could fall on the enemy's rear.'
The plan was partly implemented. The BBC broadcast the message le chamois des Alpes bondit, which was the signal for the Resistance to seal off the Vercors. They did so on 9th June 1944. The Allies dropped armaments to the Resistance, but not troops.
On 3rd July, the Vercors Republic was proclaimed. On 21st July 1944, 15,000 German Alpine troops, plus Commandos and SS soldiers, engaged in fighting with the Resistance. After two days of fierce exchanges, the Resistance was defeated, and the survivors dispersed. The German troops massacred civilians and carried out summary executions in local villages. The reprisals continued for weeks.