Stage 14 of the Tour de France 2022 is a tough, hilly stage. It finishes with the Côte de la Croix Neuve, a climb to Mende aerodrome. In a demonstration of the uneven way in which cycling's dark years are remembered, it's sometimes called the Montée Jalabert because Laurent Jalabert was the first winner here in 1995.
Steve Cummings had a famous triumph here in 2015.
Stage 14 could see a battle for the win amongst riders in a breakaway, then a fight for time among GC contenders.
|Date||Saturday 16th July 2022|
|Climbs||Côte de Saint-Just-Malmont (Cat. 3)
Côte de Châtaignier (Cat. 3)
Côte de Grandrieu (Cat. 3)
Côte de la Fage (Cat. 3)
Côte de la Croix Neuve (Cat. 2)
There's an annoying video map of Stage 14:
This is the profile of Stage 14, Tour de France 2022:
|Caravan||Fast Schedule||Slow Schedule|
|Start Time (départ fictif)||1015||1215||1215|
|Start Time (départ réel)||1030||1230||1230|
|Intermediate Sprint (50.7km)||1150||1342||1350|
|Côte de Grandrieu (135.3km)||1404||1543||1604|
|Finish Line (192.5km)||1534
Stage 14 starts in Saint-Etienne, near Couriot - Musée de la Mine.
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 14 starts near the coal-mining museum.
The riders leave Saint-Etienne heading west on the D3 to Roche-la-Molière. They then pass the Cité de Beaulieu, which was a mining village, built from 1901 onwards specifically to house Polish miners.
The race passes through Firminy, another coal-mining and industrial town, then continues south, leaving the Loire département and entering the Haute Loire.
On the D500, it's already hilly terrain on the way to Saint-Just-Malmont. The route heads on from there to Saint-Didier-en-Velay and la Séauve-sur-Semène.
Soon after, the riders leave the D500, and take the D43 to Sainte-Sigolène. Still on the D43, which winds, rises and descends, they aim for Grazac.
After Grazac, the route takes the D432, then joins the D105 to head past the Barrage de la Chapelette.
The race reaches Yssingeaux and crosses the N88, following the minor D7 Route de Veyrines through villages including Sarlis and Vaunac. Further on the D7 is called the Route de Rosières; eventually the race reaches Rosières.
Still on the D7, the race follows the Loire downstream, through Adiac and Beaulieu to Lavoûte-sur-Loire. Still by the river, on the Route des Gorges, it continues south to Chadrac, and into the centre of Le Puy-en-Velay.
Le Puy-en-Velay is the Préfecture of the Haute-Loire département.
The town was a popular starting point for a pilgrimmage to Santiago de Compostela. Its Cathedral dates from the 1100s.
An iron statue of the Virgin Mary overlooks the town. It was made from 213 Russian cannons taken in the Siege of Sevastopol (1854-5) - Wikipedia.
Another rocky pinnacle is topped by the chapel of Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe.
Le Puy is famous for a particular variety of green lentils, and for the liqueur Verveine, which is flavoured with verbena.
The riders leave Le Puy-en-Velay, exiting via Vals-près-le-Puy. They take the D31, which follows le Dolaizon to Saint-Christophe-sur-Dolaizon. The next little village is Séneujols, on the way to Cayres.
Between Cayres and le Bouchet-Saint-Nicolas, there could be helicopter shots of the Lac du Bouchet.
At Chapeauroux, the race leaves the Haute-Loire and enters the Lozère.
The run towards the finish is via Grandrieu, Châteauneuf-de-Randon, Laubert and Badaroux to Mende, on the river Lot.
Then all that remains is the Côte de la Croix Neuve climb to the Causse de Mende and Mende aerodrome.
The climb is known in France as la Montée Jalabert, after Laurent Jalabert. This dates back to his 14th July win on Stage 12 of the Tour de France 1995. Tests have shown that Jalabert used EPO during at least one Tour de France.
The climb is 3km at 10%.
From the top of the Croix Neuve climb, there's 1.5km of flat to the finish line on the Aérodrome de Mende-Brenoux.
The aerodrome is where Steve Cummings out-foxed Bardet and Pinot to win in 2015:
Christian Prudhomme thinks Stage 14 will be won by a rider from a breakaway. If so, it could suit Bauke Mollema.
Who do you think will win Stage 14?
Rough Guide to France.
Price £14.39 from Amazon as at 3rd March 2022.
Mende is a town in the Lozère département of France. It is high up the valley of the river Lot. People lived here from around 200BC, and the Romans built villas at Mende.
Mont Mimat, a forested hill, overlooks Mende. It can be climbed by the Côte de la Croix Neuve. (There was a wooden cross dedicated to Saint Privat, who lived as a hermit in a cave on Mont Mimat in the C3rd. The wooden cross was put up in 1900, but replaced with a new iron cross in 1933).
Mont Mimat is one of the Causses (a limestone plateau), and this is the Grandes Causses area of the Lozère.
Sights in Mende include the Tower of the Penitents (a C12th tower at one of the gates in the old town walls), and the Notre-Dame bridge (dating from the C13th, surprisingly it has never been carried away by the river in flood).
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