Saturday August 19th, 2017

Stage 1Nîmes / Nîmes

Start 17h30 (Local time)
  • Fernando Escartín commentary

    TTT. The Nîmes time trial will be very technical: the teams will have to ride through the streets in the old  part of the city, right through the heart of historical buildings. The key will lie in being completely in sync from the very beginning, maintaining a very high speed and making sure that each and every rider does his job well in each section of the stage.

Geodiversity

Nimes and the Rhône Delta

Nile Delta, the delta that named all other deltas © NASA, Public DomainThe Okawango Delta is an example of a lacustrine delta, which is far less common than those that form at sea © Justin Hall / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Time trials and urban stages seem less rich in geo-diversity, but every city has a geological history without which it would not be what it is today.

Nimes is located on the edges of the Rhône Delta, resting on the reliefs that surround it. To the West and North-West of the city are the reliefs of the Region of Cévennes, part of the French Massif Central where the rocks that were used to build most of the city's monuments come from.

On the other side, the city is close to the delta, where agriculture can prove highly efficient due to the conditions of that particular ecosystem. But Nimes is far enough from the water so as to not be affected by overflowing rivers. Even nowadays, with a multitude of reservoirs in the Rhône and in its tributaries, floods mark the history of human populations. It may seem like a trivial detail, but even given its location at the edges of the delta, Nimes did suffer very serious floods in 1988 and the neighbouring city of Arles, right in the delta's centre, has had many more floods, such as the one it suffered in 2003 that led to the evacuation of over 15.000 people.

A delta formation requires a river that carries a large amount of sediments and an adequate coast so that the waves, currents and tides allow the accumulation of those sediments to take place. The Rhône River originates in the Alps. Over the space of 800km, it goes from an altitude of almost 2000 metres above sea level where it originates, down to the Rhône Glacier and to the Mediterranean. Such an incline gives the river a huge capacity for erosion and its sediments have shaped the landscapes that surround the city of Nimes.

Stage Term: River DeltaA delta is an accumulation of sediments where a river flows out into a sea or lake. This accumulation is possible when the area's marine waves and currents are unable to transport all the river sediments to other coastal areas or to the seabeds. Due to their mild reliefs, the abundance of water and rich soil, early civilisations chose to settle near deltas. That is why cities such as Alexandria (in the Nile) and New Orleans (in the Mississippi) are located in the deltas or right on the edges.

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Jersey wearers after the stage 21

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