Longwy, Toul, Pont-à-Mousson, Vittel... Find the detailed itinerary of the stages of the 2017 Tour de France with all the towns on the route and the arrival times of the cyclists.
Former professional racing cyclist Pascal Lance passionately recalls the stages in Lorraine of “La Grande Boucle”. For 17 years now, he drives a director’s car for the Tour de France cycling race.
In the Lance family, passion for cycling is passed down from generation to generation. Born in Toul in 1964, Pascal was immersed in the universe of cycling throughout his childhood. When he was 13, he competed in his first race in Illange and won. Loquacious and passionate, his blue eyes light up when he talks about cycling: “That village race launched my career. I worked my way up to joining the amateur French racing team at age 19. I competed in open races in Europe with famous cyclists such as Francesco Moser, Bernard Hinault and Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle.”
Pro at age 24
At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Pascal Lance took 4th place, just 2 seconds behind the bronze medallist, his greatest regret. The following year, he became a professional cyclist. Riding no less than 35,000 km per year, Pascal made the roads of Lorraine his training grounds. “I cycled every which way around the roads of the region.” After 5 Tours de France, 2 Giros d’Italia, 1 Vuelta a España and 37 victories, he hung up his bike in 1997.
Since 1999 Pascal Lance drives the red director’s car that carries Radio Tour, the private frequency that transmits real-time race information to the caravan of the Tour de France. Close to the racers, the Lorraine pilot plays a strategic role and makes no secret of his delight. And when the peloton arrives in Lorraine, the Tour takes on an exceptional feeling. “I become the regional guide of the stage, the one who knows the roads. I give out bits of advice. When I raced in the Tour de France here, I wanted to win to thrill my fans. It was unimaginable to just hang back in the peloton, I went on the offensive. The harmony between the athletes and the fans is awesome, it gives me goose bumps.”
2 finishes, 3 starts in Lorraine in 2017
Pascal Lance and amateur cyclists in Lorraine are very pleased with the route of this year’s 104th edition. Following the Grand Start in Düsseldorf on 1 July, the Tour de France has a rendezvous with Lorraine from 3 to 5 July. Fans look forward to the event all along the route and it draws bigger and bigger crowds each year. “To see so many people on the side of the road and to feel the fervour of the crowd, it really warms my heart. It’s important to make it fun for the fans.” It should be said that the peloton of 200 racers, riding between 40 and 60 km/h and surrounded by sweeper cars, the publicity caravan and the cars of 60 teams, is a unique show to enjoy as a family. Especially since there are likely to be numerous offensive attacks in the first days of the “Grande Boucle.”
The 2017 stages in Lorraine: Pascal Lance’s take
“For the 3rd stage, that starts in Verviers, Belgium on 3 July, the arrival above the town of Longwy will be extremely difficult. I don’t think that there will be a bunch sprint, but it could be ideal for a puncheur. The next day, with a stage starting in Mondorf-les-Bains and finishing in Vittel, the peloton will cross our region from north to south. The long portions in the plains are exposed to wind, and if it’s blowing in the right direction, the day could hold a few surprises, with a bunch sprint for a grand finale in Vittel. To see Lorraine native Nacer Bouhanni included in the final sprint of this stage would be spectacular. The route of 5 July, from Vittel to La Planche des Belles Filles, is a complicated mountain stage and will be the first of the Tour’s big moments. It’s so complicated that the previous day we will most likely have the chance to see a breakaway, with the leaders wanting to save themselves for this 5th stage.”
The 8 tourist stops in Lorraine of the 2017 Tour de France
Longwy : head out on a discovery of the famous enamels and the UNESCO listed Vauban fortifications.
Contz-les-Bains : Contz-les-Bains: a hillside stop on the AOC Moselle wine route.
Thionville : a unique destination with military and industrial heritage brimming with history.
The Amnéville tourist center : packed with leisure and enjoyment for a stopover as a couple or as a family.
Metz : between historical heritage and contemporary art, a visit to the Centre Pompidou-Metz is a must.
Pont-à-Mousson : a town with remarkable architecture on the banks of the Moselle River.
Toul : head out on a discovery of the AOC Côtes de Toul vineyard and the rich heritage of the town.
Vittel : take a wellness break in this world-renowned spa town.