2005 July 21 :
The Tour de France comes back in Lozere
Update set on line
After 1954, 1960, 1975, 1984, 1987, 1990 and 1995, 2005 see the eighth passage of Tour de France in the Lozere department. Ten years after its last passage in Lozere, Mende was stage town of Tour de France for the second time.
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So, this Thursday 21 July 2005 "the great loop" (the Tour de Fance) cross again Lozere. Starting from Albi, the racers will go running on roads of Tarn and Aveyron, will run across Saint Affrique, then underneath Millau's viaduct. The inrunning into Lozère will be upon the Boyne's upward slope, next by Le Massegros, then the Tour de France will rally Mende via La Baraque de Trémolet and Chanac.
Finally, the finish in Mende occured upon the airfield tarmac, in the very same place where Laurent Jalabert won the 1995 July 14 stage, ten years ago. However, victory will not be for his brother, but for Marco Serrano, leading the main pack by more than 15 minutes.
There too, was filmed the last scenes from the famous epic picture "La Grande Vadrouille" !
The strategic points where it will be interesting to be :
the Boyne way up (between Boyne and the Massegros, very before this last)
( pronounce Boyne as boy and boycott !!)
the slope of Domal (between la Baraque de Trémolet and Chanac)
the way up of Chabrits (between Barjac and Mende)
the way from Mende to its aerodrome.
Other points, non strategical, but nevertheless interesting :
Le Massegros, aperitif and festivities (more about)
Lookback on the Tours de France which had crossed Lozere :
1954 : July 23, the fifteenth stage occured between Millau and Le Puy en Velay (middle mountain stage over 197 km). This day, the pack will discover the Gorges of Tarn and, in Sainte Enimie, will take the direction of Causse of Sauveterre and Mende. This discovery of impressive landscapes of Gorges was for some racers an astounding spring of wonder, to the extent that would still remain lots of anecdotes. Ending this fairy like journey, Ste Enimie's slope (second class way up) will be the first difficult of the day, then it will be la Pierre-Plantée before Langogne. In Le Puy, the french Forlini would win...
Some racers : Louison Bobet, Geminiani, Ferdi Kubler, Bahamontès...
note this : First start of the Tour de France from foreign country
1960 : July 10, although it was thirteen days sooner as in 1954, the Tour de France was already living its 14th stage : Millau to Avignon. The Tour will run some more than 2 hours in Lozere, it's the Cèvenole stage. The lozerian journey was the following : Le Rozier, Meyrueis, Col de Perjuret, Fraissinet de Fourques, Vébron, Le Pompidou... This stage will be marked with the tragic crash of Roger Rivière in the Perjuret way down (a more of 15 m fall in a ravine). This accident will stop a promising career.
Some racers : Darrigade, Rostolan, Nencini, Adriaensens...
During 1975, 1984 and 1987 the Tour de France will do only short passes in Lozere.
In 1975 it will run in Nasbinals area, during the stage Albi/Super-Lioran.
Some racers : Thévenet, Pollentier...
note this : first plane transfer.
In 1984 : Stage Rodez-Domaine de Rouret. This will be a Caussenarde and Cèvenole stage, with passage by the slope of Les Vignes (up to St Rome de Dolan).
Some racers : Fignon, Hinault
In 1987, the Tour stages in Millau. Next day it will join Avignon passing up the Col de Perjuret and the Aigoual mount.
Some racers : Roche, Delgado
In 1990, The Tour de France traverses one more time the Lozere... Really, but this time in the North-South way. During this July 15 the stage occured between Le Puy and Millau, crossing through Mende, Ste-Enimie, La Malène, les Vignes... One more time again, the Gorges of Tarn will be honoured, but more speedily, because this time the Gorges were runned in the way down. The main difficult of this lozerian stage will be the Choizal slope, between Balsièges and the Causse of Sauveterre.
Some racers : Indurain, Lemond, Delgado...
And finally, by this 1995 summertime, Mende will be stage town for the first time of its history. The Tour arrives allways from North, but this time from St-Etienne. It comes in Lozère by Langogne, passing through Rieutort de Randon. This 14 July the Mende stage will be won by a french, Laurent Jalabert. Next day, The Tour de France will take the direction of Revel through Chanac, La Baraque de Trémolet, Le Massegros...
Some racers : Indurain, Armstrong, Virenque, Pantani...
In conclusion for this retrospective about the Tour de France in Lozère, you will notice that in 8 editions the Tour will have visited twice the Gorges of Tarn, from Ste Enimie to Les Vignes (1954 and 1990) and will have done two passages through Causse de Sauveterre(1995 and 2005).
Document realized thanks to help of :
- articles issued in Lozère Nouvelle during 2003 "Quand le Tour passait en Lozère"
- information from websites : Le Tour de France Dico du Tour