Tour complet de France, stage 12: Confolens - Egletons: 187km, hilly (Poitou-Charentes - Limousin)
After a transfer of 70km the peloton arrives in Confolens
for a road stage of 187km that crosses the hills of the southern Limousin.
From Confolens the peloton continues its southeastern course to Saint-Junien, where the first categorised hill of the day is climbed. 1.6km @ 5.4% is a mere warm-up for things to come in the final of this stage. For a few kilometres this stage crosses the northernmost areas of the Regional nature parc of the "Perigord Limousin", a varied landscape with forested hills intertwined with fast flowing rivers
, rolling meadows separated by hedgerows and so on.
While carefully skirting south of Limoges, to avoid the traffic in the capital of the Limousin, the peloton crosses picturesque Solignac
, originated around an abbey founded in the 7th century. Soon after two small, uncategorised hills and some rolling roads herald the type of terrain that awaits the peloton in the final. Châteauneuf-la-forêt is the last bigger town before this stage goes south and enters the second Nature parc of the day. The Parc Naturel Régional de Millevaches en Limousin
is of a different order than that of the Perigord Limousin. It's twice as big, and with a maximum elevation nearly reaching 1000m definitely hillier
From Sussac the peloton starts the gentle and uncategorised climb towards the Mont Gargan
and then descends to Chamberet where the real final can begin with 65km to go.
The double climb to Meyrignac and Haut-Noux is followed by some time on a plateau and a short descend to the valley of the river Vézère, where a dam created the Lac des Bariousses
After crossing the Vézère, the 3rd category climb to Coissac immediately starts. Its long but gentle descent is followed by the climb to Coursou, a descent and the steep climb from Veix onwards. The steep part is followed by 5km false flat to the highest point of today's stage: the col de Lestards at 856m above sea level.
A gradual descent and a sharp left hand corner lead the peloton to the tiny hamlet Grandsaigne, where the penultimate climb of the day awaits the riders. A downhill of 5km on narrow, local roads to the last climb of the day is the reward for the effort. The climb to Saint-Yrieis-le-Déjalat isn't particulary difficult, but with only 12km to go it is the last opportunity for the barroudeurs
to create a decisive gap.
The finish will be next to the Deiro Lake
, 2km northeast of Égletons
Although this stage has a LBL-like profile, at this moment of the tour it will be decided between the members of a breakaway. If it should be placed in the first week, before time trials or medium mountain stages, it could have a really entertaining race development.
Map & Profile
Côte de Saint-Junien : km 29.5 ; 1.6km @ 5.4% ; 4th cat
Côte de Meyrignac: km123; 2km @ 5.2%; 4th cat
Côte du Haut-Noux: km127 ; 2.4km @ 5% ; 4th cat
Côte de Coissac : km137 ; 2.6km @ 7.5% ; 3rd cat
Côte de Coursou : km150.5 ; 3.2km @ 5.1% ; 4th cat
Côte de Veix : km156.5 ; 2km @ 9% ; 3rd cat
Côte de Puymorel : km167 ; 1.6km @ 8.3% ; 3rd cat
Côte de Saint-Yrieix-le-Déjalat : km175 ; 2.2km @ 6.5% ; 4th cat
Instead of starting in Confolens, an alternative would be a start in Bellac
. Although it's a bit further from Poitiers, it has the advantage to be accessible by a bigger road, thus reducing travel time, and it is a bigger town than Confolens. The stage length would be a bit shorter, but the final more or less the same, as map and profile show: