JLT Condor return to the Loire region for a five days of fast and furious racing designed to offer plenty of crowd pleasing sprint finishes.
John Herety has selected a squad of sprinters for the five-day Tour du Loire et Cher in France. The UCI 2.2 ranked race features rolling terrain and windy conditions but no major climbs to speak of.
John Herety on rider selection:
“Brenton showed in Taiwan he was climbing well, Alex was climbing well in the Klondike GP and Tour of the Wolds. The pairing of Jones, Clancy, Downing and Frame gives us a very strong sprint train. This race sits perfectly for our build up to the Tour Series in May.”
Named after the two rivers that pass through the 41st départment of France (Le Loir in the north and Le Cher towards the south). Loir et Cher makes up part of the luscious 800 square kilometres of the Loire Valley, best known for its abundance of vineyards and fruit orchards that nestles amongst the rolling countryside and span the banks of the river Loire. The region is home to Chambord Liqueur, which is produced in the town of Chambord.
Racing begins on 12th April and run until 16th April. The start and finish of the race is from the regions capital Blois.
Time bonuses are awarded at intermediate sprints and at the finish.
Wednesday 12th April – Stage 1 – Blois to Chambord – 154.5km
The race gets underway from the centre of Blois underneath the shadows of the Cathédrale Saint-Louise de Blois and sees the riders’ head north out of the city through exposed lanes and towards the vineyards of Chambord.
A straight and open run to the finish, means the powerful sprinters will come to the front of the field.
Thursday 13th April – Stage 2 – La Ferté-Imbault – Vernou-en-Solonge – 184km
Another big power sprint day, there are climbs in the early part of the stage but a pan flat route in the final 50km means that anyone distanced on the climbs will have enough time to rejoin the peloton if distanced.
Friday 14th April – Stage 3 – Savigny-sur-Braye – Vendôme – 211km
The longest stage of the race is also the most challenging. Three climbs to cross on the route to Vendome. Into the town the peloton will complete three laps of the centre, each time climbing up a short drag to the finish.
The technical finish makes it a day suited to a plucky breakaway or an all-rounder, like Russell Downing.
Saturday 15th April – Stage 4 – Montrichard – Montrichard – 142.5km
More lumps and bumps for the peloton on day four and an uphill sprint to finish the day, means that it isn’t a stage for heavier out and out sprinters.
Sunday 16th April – Stage 5 – Blois to Blois 97.5km
The final stage sees the race head back to the capital city of Blois and finishes where it started with thirteen-laps of the 7.5km circuit around the city.
Starting from beneath the Cathédrale Saint-Louise de Blois the race passes the Château De Blois that stand in the middle of the city, before crossing the 18th century stone bridge that spans the Loire towards the residential south side.
Turning back over the bridge the race enters it’s final couple of kilometre where the gradient of the road points ever slightly up but we can expect to see another bunch sprint as the riders come round the left turn for the final time.
Racing begins at noon (local time) and stages are expected to finish at 4.00pm each day.
Ed Clancy, OBE
Our History in the Race
A fond favourite of the all the team. Graham Briggs became the first Briton to win the highly regarded race in 2014.
In 2016, Chris Lawless held the points jersey and finished second on the opening stage. Russell Downing sprinted to victory in the rain on stage three.