The Road to Paris part 4

Sector 6 – St Pryve-St Mesmin to Boutigny sur Essonne (93km – ascent 210m)

Shortly after clipping into the pedals, we will be riding through the impressive town of Orleans and right past the front door of its impressive Gothic cathedral. The town will be just starting to awake to its Saturday morning; if you’re not too speedy you might be lucky enough to grab a noisette and a fresh croissant. We finally leave the Loire behind us after the village of Checy and continue to head north towards our destination in Paris. Back on quiet roads again, we initially trace the Canal d’Orleans before heading through the Orleans National Forest and back amongst the open fields. Pray that the wind isn’t blowing at this stage or you’ll be easily transported to the bleak roads of West Flanders. You can draw solace however from the fact that we’re on the homeward stretch. The sleepy town of Pithivers is another chance for a morning coffee before tackling another long flat section towards Malesherbes. Paris starts to feel within reach as we descend into the Essonne valley and start to negotiate a succession of dormitory towns which mark the Paris commuter belt.

Sector 7 – Boutigny sur Essonne to Paris (Velodrome de Vincennes) (62km – ascent 200m)

With the whole team united you can treat this last sector as your Champs Elysees. The first 25km are our last taste of rural France before tackling the urbanisme of Paris. There’s an occasional little climb to test the weary legs, but on the whole it’s a chance to get the team united in one final effort. The end will truly be in sight as you enter the Bois de Vincennes and ride the final 4km alongside Paris’ weekend warriors out running and cycling. As you swing right into the ground of the velodrome you and your team will have achieved something very unique; you’ll have conquered the infamous Paris – Bordeaux.