Stage 10: July 12 - Aurillac to Carmaux 158km
The first of two consecutive days in the undulating Cevennes, stage 10 could be targeted by those looking to make amends for missed opportunities in previous stages. Depending on how the specialist sprinters have fared so far, breakaway riders could be given 'carte blanche' to escape.
Detail of stage 10 climbs:
Km 43.5 - Cote de Massiac - 3.4 km at 6.2 (cat. 3)
Km 99.5 - Col du Pas de Peyrol - 7.7 km at 6.2 (cat. 2)
Km 116 - Col du Perthus - 4.4 km at 7.9 (cat. 2)
Km 127.5 - Col de Cere - 2.9 km at 6.3 (cat. 3)
Km 139.5 - Cote de la Chevade - 3 km at 7.9 (cat. 3)
Km 154 - Col de Prat de Bouc - 8 km at 6.1 (cat. 2)
Km 193 - Cote du Chateau d'Alleuze - 2 km at 4.9 (cat. 4)
Km 208 - Montée des Orgues - 1.6 km at 6.1 (cat. 4)
JEAN-FRANÇOIS PESCHEUX’S ANALYSIS : An opportunity that can’t be missed
“After this stage the sprinters will not have a lot of chances left to show off their skills. They will have just two stages left on which to shine: in Montpellier and then in Paris with the finish on the Champs-Élysées. That’s why their teams will undoubtedly be looking to keep a tight rein on the action, just as they will do on the previous stage. But they will have to watch out. Riders of the ilk of Sandy Casar or Jérôme Pineau could try to pull off something spectacular today. The profiles of the stages that follow won’t allow them to do that. And, as there will still be a lot of teams that have not won a stage up to now, those that haven’t will be aiming to make an impression.”
• Stage town for the first time
• 3, 200 inhabitants
The origins of Blaye-les-Mines date back to the building of a royal country house at the start of the fourteenth century. It’s only some time later, in the nineteenth century, that the true destiny of this municipality – its coal-mining and glass-making industries – would become clear. From this glorious past, the town retains plenty of reminders. The Sainte-Marie mine shaft, for example, built in 1922 and restored in 2008, used to transport thousands of miners and bring up tonnes of coal. Restored to remember the town’s mining past, its restoration won Blaye-les-Mines the Grand Prix de Patrimoine in 2009, in recognition of its pride in its heritage.
Le Domaine de la Verrerie – the old glass-works – is today a museum. It had been built by the coal mine’s owners to diversify its activities and make glass bottles.
Cap’Découverte, a huge open-pit mine, replaced the underground coal-mines, shifting millions of cubic meters of earth. The huge crater measured a kilometer in diameter, and was 150 meters deep, but has now been transformed into a popular theme park of the same name.
Sébastian Minard‘s victory in a stage of the 2005 Tour de l’Avenir in this village of the coal field of Carmaux may not have been due to luck. The French cyclist may have drawn inspiration and energy from Blaye-les-Mines to set out to achieve his first victory on the Tour. This may also have been the case for the Estonian rider Rein Taaramäe, who won the individual time-trial there during the 2008 Tour de l’Avenir.
• Stage town for the first time
• 10, 400 inhabitants
• Cantonal subdivision of Tarn (81)
Carmaux was built on a large deposit of coal, where the three rivers – the Cérou, the Céroc and the Candou – meet, and at the crossroad of Ségala, the Pays Albigeois and the Pays Cordais. The town’s mining industry was later joined by a glass-making industry, for a long period making Carmaux a politically charged area of unionnn unrest.
Today, the town has is enjoying a new period of expansion, which includes ambitious projects such as the restructuring of the town centre and the pilot project to replace the roof of the Jean-Jaurès school with one made of solar panels. It is a dynamic town, with more than 80 clubs and societies, and hosts events and festivals all year round, including the Grandes Fêtes de la Saint-Privat, the A Fleur de Peau festival, celebrating world music, and the Biennale des Verriers, held every two years at the town’s glass museum. Carmaux has also been twinned with Neckarsulm in Germany for more than 50 years, while in 2010 it was also twinned with the Italian town of Porcari.
The commune of Tarn played a decisive role in the history of France: it was after the major miners’ strike in 1892 that Jean Jaurès was able to win the seat as the deputy of Carmaux, his first term of office as a Socialist Activist. Now all the town has to do is to crown a renowned cycling champion for its first appearance on the program of the Tour de France. For the moment only the Tour de l’Avenir has stopped there.