Chasin’ the sunset
STAGE 3: ORLEANS – SAINT-LEONARD-DE-NOBLAT
The home stretch is often the hardest part, and that’s certainly true for the last stage in Chasin’ the Sunset. After we leave Orleáns to ride towards the finish line in Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat, we rarely ride on flat stretches, and after 300 kilometer and plenty of altimeters glory awaits in Poulidor’s home town.
The route: The final countdown!
The home stretch is often het hardest part, and Chasin’ the Sunset is no exception to this. Between Orléans and the finish in Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat the gradients are never truly flat, and most of the altimeters for the Van der Poel Edition can be found in this stage. We travel south from Orléans through forests and remote roads as we enter the training grounds of the late Raymond Poulidor, and if you’ve ever ridden in the Vosges region then today’s stage might look similar to you.
The finish draws near
The last 150 kilometers of the Van der Poel Editon features several climbs, and after two long days of riding they’ll offer a serious challenge. Try to enjoy the surroundings and the milestone achievement you’re about to set with your teammate though! After crossing rivers like the Taurion, the Randonneix and La Vige you near the finish line in Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat, a town filled with memories of the life of ‘Poupou’.
Surroundings: A region rich in cycling history
During this last stage you’ll pass the municipality of Chateauroux, birthplace of French track cyclist Kevin Sireau. The ‘Châteauroux Classic de l’Indre’ was part of the UCI Europe Tour from 2005 to 2014 and had winners like Anthony Ravard and Jimmy Casper.
Finish location Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat was home to Raymond Poulidor, one of the most popular French cyclists to ever live. This medieval town only has about 4,500 inhabitants, but it vividly remembers ‘Poupou’. There’s a wooden statue of Poulidor in the old downtown area that show him raising an arm in victory while the other rests on his steering wheel. The locals are proud of their hero, and will no doubt be glad to share a story or two about him with you!
Backgrounds: Poulidor trivia
The finish can feel like it’s far away, so here’s a bit of trivia to ponder while you ride. Did you know Poulidor rode professionally from the age of 24 to 40? And that he finished on the podium in the Tour de France an impressive eight times? He was also an avid card player, who according to Cyrille Guimard’s biography enjoyed playing and defeating fellow cyclings in high stakes card games during the evening hours after a stage.
Are you curious about the other stages? Click here.