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2011 Tour De France Schedule Preview: Stage 1 Begins At Passage Du Gois

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The 2011 Tour De France begins on July 2 at Passage du Gois La Barre-de-Monts, the first stage of a 21-leg event. Colorado will have two racers and one whole team competing to win the world's most famous cycling race. Tom Danielson of Durango, CO, makes his Tour de France debut and will race with the Boulder, CO-based Garmin-Cervelo team (a full roster can be found here). Also racing will be HTC-Highroad's Danny Pate, a native of Colorado Springs.

What can these racers expect at Passage du Gois? According to the race's official website, "The Passage du Gois is a causeway joining the Île de Noirmoutier and Beauvoir sur Mer on the mainland, via Barbâtre, and is submerged by the tide twice a day." It was used for part of stage 2 in the 1999 race, and an accident caused Alex Zülle to lose six minutes after a multi-racer fall occurred. Lance Armstrong beat Zülle by over seven minutes. The Passage du Gois also made an appearance in 2005 as part of an individual time trial to start the race. Danielson's teammate, David Zabriskie, won that stage in under 21 minutes.

Will any of our Colorado riders be in first when the first stage ends at Mont des Alouettes on Saturday? Tune into VERSUS at 6 a.m. MT to catch the live action. VERSUS will carry all live action, while NBC Sports will re-air coverage later in the day. Check out the complete schedule here.

Here is a complete schedule of Tour de France:

Stage Date Course Distance Type
1 2-Jul Passage du Gois - Mont des Alouettes 191.5 km (119 mi) Flat stage
2 3-Jul Les Essarts - Les Essarts 23 km (14 mi) Team Time Trial
3 4-Jul Olonne-sur-Mer - Redon 198 km (123 mi) Flat stage
4 5-Jul Lorient - Mûr-de-Bretagne 172.5 km (107 mi) Flat stage
5 6-Jul Carhaix - Cap Fréhel 164.5 km (102 mi) Flat stage
6 7-Jul Dinan - Lisieux 226.5 km (141 mi) Flat stage
7 8-Jul Le Mans - Chateauroux 218 km (135 mi) Flat stage
8 9-Jul Aigurande - Super-Besse 189 km (117 mi) Medium-mountain
9 10-Jul Issoire - Saint-Flour 208 km (129 mi) Medium-mountain
  11-Jul  Rest Day    
10 12-Jul Aurillac - Carmaux 158 km (98 mi) Flat stage
11 13-Jul Blaye-les-Mines - Lavaur 167.5 km (104 mi) Flat stage
12 14-Jul Cugnaux - Luz-Ardiden 211 km (131 mi) Mountain stage
13 15-Jul Pau - Lourdes 152.5 km (95 mi) Mountain stage
14 16-Jul Saint-Gaudens - Plateau de Beille 168.5 km (105 mi) Mountain stage
15 17-Jul Limoux - Montpellier 192.5 km (120 mi) Flat stage
  18-Jul  Rest Day    
16 19-Jul Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux - Gap 162.5 km (101 mi) Medium-mountain
17 20-Jul Gap - Pinerolo 179 km (111 mi) Mountain stage
18 21-Jul Pinerolo - Col du Galibier / Serre Chevalier 200.5 km (125 mi) Mountain stage
19 22-Jul Modane - L'Alpe d'Huez 109.5 km (68 mi) Mountain stage
20 23-Jul Grenoble - Grenoble 42.5 km (26 mi) Individual time trial
21 24-Jul Creteil - Paris (Champs-Élysées) 95 km (59 mi) Flat stage

For in-depth coverage of the race, visit out cycling blog, Podium Cafe, and our SB Nation StoryStream.