When the race last started in the Vendée back in 2011, there was a team time trial, and the discipline returns in 2018, with a 35km test starting and finishing in Cholet that could see a few GC contenders lose time if they’re on weaker teams.Likely to be another stage for the sprinters, although with a smattering of Breton climbs that will trouble any riders who are short of form.If Peter Sagan has packed his climbing legs, then this stage is tailor-made for the three-time world champion.
Who are the favourites to win the 2018 Tour de France?
The second half of the second week sees the race traverse France, including an uphill finish into Mende where Steve Cummings won in 2015.
The Tour de France 2018 route will see the return of Alpe d’Huez and the Paris-Roubaix cobbles for the first time since 2015, and a 65km road stage in the Pyrénées.
As previously announced, the 2018 Tour de France will start on Saturday, July 7 with the Grand Départ in the Vendée region in the west of France.
The opening stage of the 105th edition of the race will start in Noirmoutier-en-l’Île and is one of two flat stages to begin the race that will see the sprinters fight for the yellow jersey, before a 35km team time trial starting and finishing in Cholet on stage three.