Stage 4 - July 11: Huy - Verdun, 215 km

Results & report    Live report    Profile    Description    Previous stage     Next stage


By Tim Maloney

Perhaps the first transition stage of this year's Tour, as the peloton heads south across Belgium and back into northeast France. The first 135 km are hilly and hard, with 4 KOM sprints. Look for AG2R to ride hard for tiny powerhouse Benoit Salmon to solidify his lead on the polkadot Climber's jersey. As the landscape levels out over the French border across the Meuse Valley towards Verdun, it will be Credit Agricole's turn to set the tempo for their Maillot Jaune Stuart O'Grady before the GC applecart is upset in Thursday's 67 km Team Time Trial from Verdun to Bar-Le-Duc.



Course description

Start time: 1150 CEST
Estimated finish time: 1702 CEST

A short transfer from yesterday's finish in Seraing to today's start in Huy sees Le Tour leave Belgium for a 210 kilometre journey to Verdun. The early part of the stage in the Ardennes is as tough as yesterday's, with three 4th category and one 3rd category climbs in the first 72 km. After that, the profile is still undulating, but it may come together for a big sprint.

Similar to Seraing, Huy (pop. 18,197) is on the Meuse River, and was founded in the 9th century. Huy produces paper, pottery, pewter, machinery and grain. It is famous in cycling circles for hosting the finish of La Fleche Wallonne, where the infamous Mur de Huy has to be climbed several times.

Verdun, in northeastern France, also lies on the Meuse River. It is an important transportation centre, and was particularly prosperous in Roman times and during the 800s. The Peace of Westphalia (1648), which ended the Thirty Years War, placed Verdun firmly in French possession and it became an important strategic centre. In the late 19th century, the town became the main French fortress facing Germany. The longest battle of World War I was fought at Verdun in 1916 and it was almost completely destroyed during this conflict.

To the top :: Back ::