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3rd time stage town – 39 900 inhabitants
The Ain Prefecture awaited the 21st century to welcome the Tour de France and witness, in 2002, the first stage win of the future Green Jersey, Thor Hushovd.?Five years later, another sprinter, Tom Boonen, lifted his arms to the sky and also captured the Green Jersey that would stay on his shoulders all the way to Paris. In recent years, on the 2012 Criterium du Dauphiné, Bradley Wiggins had sealed his overall success by claiming a time-trial that was to finish in Bourg-en-Bresse.
25th time stage town – 180 000 inhabitants
Because of its central position on the map of France, the “city of weapons and bicycles” failed to be on the course of the Tour before the war, but then hosted it 22 times since 1950. Some big names triumphed there including the likes of Geminiani, Bobet, Hinault, Herrera or Zoetemelk. The last visit of the Tour to Saint-Etienne was back in 2008. After close to 130kms, breakaway companions Marcus Burghardt and Carlos Barredo battled it out in a final sprint to the line of stage 18. Advantage Burghardt!