Stage 3 – Mon, 4 July – Olonne-sur-Mer – Redon – 198km
Details: The race returns to the Atlantic coast for today's start before heading inland and leaving the Vendée to enter cycling-mad Brittany. It's a long, flat slog, the only real rise being the fourth-category climb as the road crosses the Loire estuary on the imposing Saint-Nazaire bridge.
Watch out for: Winds coming from the Atlantic which could split the peloton into echelons on the long, straight and flat roads to Redon.
Prediction: This could be the first chance for HTC-Highroad's Mark Cavendish, who will always be the top of a list of favourites on such a flat stage as this. Cav could face strong opposition from his former team-mate Andre Greipel, now at Omega Pharma-Lotto – although the likes of Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) have more Tour pedigree. Farrar, on American Independence Day, would have a nice ring to it.
History: This is the Tour's first visit to Redon in Brittany. No American has ever won a stage on 4th July.