It is not easy to be an organizer. After André Martres and Jean-Luc Wrobel launched La Méditerranéenne, a new event based on the foundations of the former Tour Méditerranéen in 2016, and designed a beautiful course for 2017, the event has been reduced from four to only two stages, including a time trial. Today more information has been released about the two cancelled stages which were to include a summit finish on the steep wall of Mont Saint Clair.
The first stage was to be 140 kilometers long, according to a report by L'Indépendant. It was to start from Bram, pass through Castelnaudary and Limoux before ending with a three laps of loop of 20 kilometers.
The second stage was to start from Port-Vendres where Arnaud Démare (FDJ) won the second stage last year, ahead of his own teammate, Mickaël Delage. It should probably have been the queen stage with a summit finish at Mont Saint Clair after 215 kilometers. Mont Saint Clair is well known as it was a traditional host of the Midi Libre (which disappeared in 2002 despite an attempt to relaunch it in 2004 by ASO with the Tour of Languedoc Rousillon). But Mont Saint Clair was also the scene of a very beautiful time trial during the Mediterranean Tour in 2013, won by Lars Boom. It is an ascent of 1.6 km at 10.8% with passages of more than 15% and even up to 20%.
According to France Bleu, the prefecture of the Pyrenees Orientales had given its approval but Aude and Hérault hadn’t. Their reluctance is likely to have been motivated by the unavailability of the motorcycle squadron of the Republican Guard which traditionally escorts the race. Their absence is the main reason for the cancellation.
According to L'Indépendant, teams UAE Abu Dhabi, Bora - Hansgrohe and Astana (including the outgoing winner Andrei Grivko) have confirmed their presence, in addition to all the French teams. Before the reduction of the event, Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) had announced his intention to start his season at La Méditerranéenne.
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