Tour de France: cycling the opening Vendée stage

The grand départ of the 2018 Tour takes place next weekend on the Atlantic coast. Our writer rides his Brompton through dunes and forests with pit stops to sample fine local seafood

The beaches, forests, lagoons and marshes of the Vendée coast will provide a scenic backdrop to the start of this year’s Tour de France on 7 July. And while football fans can’t have a kickabout on the pitch before a World Cup game, anyone with a bike can have a go at riding a stage of the Tour.

But I looked at the race route and soon realised I’d best forget the bits that use fast main roads; instead I’d follow the traffic-free coastal bike path, the longest of the Vendée’s 1,800km of waymarked, often traffic-free cycling routes.

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