Tour de France. How Mûr-de-Bretagne became an essential finish – Tour de France 2021: the Grand Départ in Brittany

Mûr-de-Bretagne, that’s a name that hits home for a coast. Menez-Hiez, its real name, is a straight line of 2 km at 6.9%, half of which is at almost 10%. When you look at it from the ground up, it looks like a wall, hence its nickname: the “Breton Alpe d’Huez”. The comparison is daring and makes the mountain people smile, but it still has everything to please this bump in a region far from flat but lacking very long climbs.

139 km against the clock with the ascent of Mûr-de-Bretagne

Until 2011, the Tour de France had never made Mûr-de-Bretagne a stage finish. La Grande Boucle had climbed it seven times between 1938 and 2008

. Placed far from the finish, this difficulty is not selective enough for a professional peloton and it had never weighed on the stages.

The only exception, 1947. For the first post-war Tour, the organizers had dared a stage of madness between Vannes and Saint-Brieuc, with the longest time trial in the history of the Tour: 139 km with the he ascent of Mûr-de-Bretagne to the 65th km. That day, Jean Robic, the Morbihannais from Radenac, had caught up again in the general standings, which allowed him to win the Tour de France.

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Apart from 1947, Mûr-de-Bretagne had not taken part in the legend of the Tour. Everything changed in 2010. One year before the arrival of the Tour in Brittany, Christian Prudhomme, the organizer of the Tour de France, was looking for a cut cut for the puncheurs in order to break with the traditional sprint finishes at the start of the Tour.

He had set his sights on Menez Quelerc’h, in Châteaulin, but he had to review his plans because the owner of the field, where the arrival site was to be located, had been too greedy. “This person wanted to rent at the asking price. With public funds, it was not possible, ”said Christian Prudhomme, during his recent visit to the Telegram. Gaëlle Nicolas, the mayor of Châteaulin, then asked him to move the finish. The boss of the Tour had told him no. “We’re looking for a piton. If Menez Quelerc’h is gone, we’ll look elsewhere. “

Evans in front of Contador

This elsewhere was Mûr-de-Bretagne, a place that immediately thrilled Jean-Yves Le Drian, at the time President of the Regional Council of Brittany. “Mature, we understand that things are climbing and Brittany is at home”.

And this is how the first stage finish at the top of Menez-Hiez takes place, on July 5, 2011. And what a finish! In front of a huge crowd, the leaders of the Tour go to war and Cadel Evans, the future winner in Paris, is ahead of Alberto Contador, the big favorite. That day, the Tour and Mûr-de-Bretagne fell in love with it. And all three-four, they meet (2015, 2018 and 2021). And each time, the party is beautiful.

Mûr-de-Bretagne is so popular with the organizers that in 2018, they had the idea of ​​climbing it twice. This will still be the case this Sunday, June 27. When we love…

1938, 1947, 1977, 1993, 2004, 2006 and 2008Everything about the Tour de France

Tour de France 2021: the Grand Départ in Brittany

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