711’s a belter of a stage: full of teases, not exactly straight because bends keep getting in the way, and with enough testing climbs to make you realise that the stage is more than the descender that it’s rumoured to be. The issue really is that the first half is mainly downhill while the second half has all the traps. That’s the wrong way round in an ideal world: you want to get the hard work done first then enjoy a nice leisurely run-in: but it is what it is so c’est la vie. What the stage does do is follow the eastern bank of the St Lawrence River across from the island of Ile d’Orleans, finishing roughly level with the north eastern tip of the island. Add on the five miles that tracked the bottom end of the island on the previous stage and you have yourself a twenty five mile long island in the middle of a river: that must be pretty unique.
The rollout is east through Beaumont but it isn’t long before Highway 132 starts bending left, following the natural curvature of the river. Ruisseau de l’Eglise is the first of the water features after just a mile and a half and that’s quickly followed by the Ruisseau Labrecque at three miles and the Ruisseau Beaumont at five miles. All three rivers flow into the St Lawrence.
As the road descends into Saint Michel at seven miles, it crosses the Ruisseau Sainte-Croix as it (the road) snakes right then left into town. Out the other side of town, the road rises to the camp site at Parc Saint-Michel before descending again to cross firstly the Ruisseau de la Piscine followed by the much wider Riviere Boyer at ten miles.
Then the fun starts. There are a hundred plus feet of climbing to Saint Vallier at thirteen miles simply by virtue of the fact that the road takes a short cut over the headland rather than follow the bank of the river. Then the road drops back down to cross the Riviere des Meres before, wait for it, climbing another hundred feet back up to Berthier sur Mer.
The descent down to the water’s edge is every bit as much fun as the previous one but although the road runs flat right next to the St Lawrence River until a mile from the finish, there’s a real sting in the tail waiting at the right hander where the road turns away from the river: the climb to the finish at the Camping Coop des Erables de Montmagny is every bit as testing as the previous two climbs and makes for a nasty little end to the stage.
Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres
Ascent: 489 feet / 149 metres
RGT Magic Road: NcFbcrL6FwS9
Max elevation: 241 ft
Min elevation: 61 ft
Total climbing: 470 ft
Total descent: -527 ft
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