C. PRUDHOMME'S COMMENT
One might recommend to be part of a breakaway to hope for success once in Brioude. But only those that will have been valiant on the Mur d’Aurec-sur-Loire, for instance, can conquer glory. A final selection will be made to go on the Côte de Saint-Just (3,7km at an average of 7,3 %), at 13kms from the finish at Brioude.
Brioude is first and foremost known to the cycling lover as the hometown of Romain Bardet, second in the Tour de France in 2016 and third in 2017. The leader of the Ag2R-La Mondiale outfit was born here on November 9, 1990 and took his first license at the Vélo Sport Brivadois in 2000. He joined the training structure of Ag2R-La Mondiale, Chambéry CF, in 2010. The rest of the story is better known.
The city of Haute-Loire received the Tour only once in the past, in 2008, for the start of a stage won authoritatively in Aurillac by Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez. In 2013, a Paris-Nice stage was convincingly won by American Andrew Talansky, on a day when the young local runner, then 22 years old, finished 6th. In 2014, the first stage of the Tour de l'Avenir ended in Brioude with a victory by Kristoffer Skjerping, then the under-23 Norwegian champion. After two seasons with Cannondale, Skjerping failed to convince at World Tour level and returned to Norway.