– The Tour de France 2021 at Saint-Emilion –
This year, the 108th edition of the Tour de France will take place from June 26th to July 18th. 184 riders have started the Tour and will try to reach the finish line on the Champs Elysées in mid-July.
There will be 21 stages of the race all across the country. And we are lucky enough to host the 19th and 20th stages in our region: the two last decisive stages in the attribution of the famous yellow jersey.
The finish in Libourne is scheduled for 16 July and will mark the end of the 19th stage of the 2021 Tour de France. Starting from Morens in the Pyrénées Atlantiques, this 207 km race will cross the oceanic “Les Landes” and then our beautiful Gironde, passing through communes close to Vignonet!
You will find below the exact details of the times and the Gironde passages:
PRÉCHAC 13:47: passage of the caravan, 15:29-15:47: passage of the riders
NOAILLAN 2.04pm: caravan passes, 3.45pm-4.04pm: passage of the riders
PREIGNAC 2.20 pm: passage of the caravan, 4.00-4.20 pm: passage of the riders
CADILLAC 2.36 pm: passage of the caravan, 4.14-4.36 pm: passage of the riders
RIONS 14h43 : passage of the caravan, 16h20-16h43 : passage of the riders
CRÉON 15:02: passage of the caravan, 16:38-17:02: passage of the riders
SAINT-QUENTIN-DE-BARON 3.15pm: passage of the caravan, 4.49pm-5.15pm: passage of the riders
GÉNISSAC 3.21pm: passage of the caravan, 4.56pm-5.21pm: passage of the riders
LIBOURNE 3.33pm: passage of the caravan; 5.06pm-5.33pm: arrival of the riders.
The 20th stage will take place the next day, the day before the finish on the Champs Elysées. A decisive time trial that links Libourne to Saint-Emilion: 31 km of racing through the vineyards of Libourne, Néac, Montagne and Saint-Emilion. It is a beautiful ride that allows you to discover the vineyards of Pomerol and Montagne Saint-Emilion.
During these two sporting days, many events are organized in the area.
The Vignobles Bardet open their doors on July 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th! Your opportunity to come and discover the domain and its tradition, agroecology and innovation. The Bardet family welcomes you from 10am to 12pm and from 2pm to 7pm in an idyllic setting, in Vignonet, on the banks of the Dordogne. Enjoy an epicurean moment after your bike ride!
Vignonet and the Tour de France
The pretty paths of Vignonet along the river would make you want to pedal? It’s not surprising ; between pedalling and cycling, many people come here to enjoy the coolness of the river.
This was the case for Gérard Virol, a former Tour de France rider who was born in Vignonet. Thanks to him, the village has long had a special relationship with this national event. This historic race has now been running for 108 years, and our region is hosting its cyclists for the 7th time.
Gérard Virol took part in the 1939 edition won by the Belgian rider Sylvère Maes.
We met a member of his family who still lives in Vignonet, his great cousin Joël Virol, but also the historian Gérard Descombes, to find out more about this 20th century rider.
Joël Virol tells us how “Cousin Gérard” became “Virolette the amazing sprinter” thanks to daily bike rides along the Dordogne. His whole life was devoted to cycling.
Descombes, historian of the CAB Bègles cycling club, tells of this human legend from his own ranks who became president of the club for 34 years. In 1931, Gérard Virol launched his professional career by taking part in several major races across France. In 1935, he won the famous “Paris-Verneuil” race and took second place in the Bordeaux-Arcachon race.
In 1939, Gérard Virol took part in the Tour de France, on a course of 19 stages. The races at the time were very difficult according to Mr.Descombes, Until the end of the 1960s, the roads of the passes were all engraved, in rainy weather, they were transformed into real quagmires, the length of the stages always exceeded 200 km, the riders completed the stages even in apocalyptic weather, they were nicknamed the forcats of the road because the Tour was almost inhuman.
Gérard Virol strength was above all his mental strength, he was known for never giving up, as shown by his glorious victory in the Grand Prix du Pneumatique in Montluçon in 1943: a 260 km race for climbers, won by the rider from Vignonet.
Even at the age of 80, "Virolette" was still pedalling over 100 kilometres, to his great pleasure. His recipe for staying young was to keep his body and mind moving – and from time to time, a little glass of Saint-Emilion.