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Stage 784 – Creon to Coutras

If you were to draw a straight line through the start and end points of stage 784, then keep that line going for another sixteen stages, it would pass about twenty five miles to the east of Paris. Now clearly that’s not going to happen because the finish is in Paris itself but after some of the wild adventures and extra miles that the route has tagged on in the last seven hundred and eighty three stages, that’s not a bad place to be at this point in the proceedings. This stage heads north east, which is good, but it has a big lump of a climb just after halfway that will cause some consternation: as per normal, that’s caused by a river but we’ll come to that in due course.

The rollout is straight, north east and ever so gently downhill through Le Genestat to Jeantin where the road hangs a tiny left as it crosses the Le Gestas river before passing by the junctions to La Reole and Les Artigaux, and all of that before two miles! The D121 then does a left/right/left shuffle before running straight for two miles to Meynard Le Biarnes where the D936 crosses east/west to small communities out in the countryside.

The next major port of call is Genissac followed immediately by La Rafinette at seven miles. There, the D18 serves Montaliret and Moulon in the east (right) and heads to the Pieces Tallemeant lake out west. Beyond Genissac, the road meets and crosses the wildly meandering Le Dordogne river at Libourne as it flows west towards the Bay of Biscay north of Bordeaux.

The crossing, of course, ignites the climb, and what a fun one it is as the road curves around the eastern suburbs of Libourne. In the two miles between twelve miles and fourteen miles, the road rises three hundred feet: that’ll get the blood pumping round your pipework, but it’s the first of those miles that slaps on two hundred and fifty feet that does most of the damage. That’ll be some serious red stuff on the RGT stage profile.

At the top end of the town the route hangs a right onto the D1089, and that runs straight and north east, crossing the Ruisseau de Maurice at fifteen miles and the Ruisseau de Mauriens a mile later, and both while the road is still rising. The climb finally peaks at the junction just past Libourne de Lussac Airport after nineteen miles and it’s the highest elevation on the stage. At the junction, the route hangs a left off the D1089 onto the D17 which heads north on a weaving course over the main A89 (La Transeuropeene) autoroute and on to Abzac at twenty miles.

As the road passes the junction to Arnauds Quest on the left, it descends to cross the L’Isle river at twenty one miles before curving left at Couperie, past the small Lac Bleu lake on the right and onwards to Coutras at twenty two miles where the route takes a right onto the D674 heading north east, and the end of the stage on the northern side of the town.

Distance: 24 miles / 38 kilometres

Ascent: 558 feet / 170 metres

RGT Magic Road: KtjkP5v8c4lS

Total distance: 23.57 mi
Max elevation: 383 ft
Min elevation: -62 ft
Total climbing: 557 ft
Total descent: -319 ft

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