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J23 - Sunday, November 8 : Cholet (Omnisport Stadium) – Les Ponts-de-Cé (Emstal Hall)

70km – 8H29’
After a night of heavy rain, this morning at 8:00 the sky is overcast. A handful of runners and a few Young Managers are here so there is no chance of sleeping late, but the day belongs to the early riser, so it seems.
As soon as we are out of Cholet we take the small roads around the Pays des Mauges which Serge ran on yesterday. This pays des Mauges is a large tract of land to the north and west of Cholet and owes its name to the many minerals found in the subsoil. It is part of Anjou.
Detours are a daily occurrence and the support team adjusts to the situation when crossing the town of Jaubaudière, which is completely closed because gas mains are being installed. Serge continues his route with François on the D15, while the vehicles take another road to reach Jallais, where we find our two runners
We reach the town of Neuvy-en-Mauges at 12:15PM just as the sky darkens and brings us scattered showers.
The descente to Chalonnes-sur-Loire from Bourgonnière is magnificent. We are again in vineyards; these give the famous « Coteaux du Layon ». From here we are on the Corniche Angevine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is squeezed between the Layon and Loire Valleys. At the hamlet of Ardenay, there is the chapel of Sainte Barbe des Mines, built in the 19th century (Sainte Barbe being the patron saint of dangerous occupations such a mining). At that time there were coal mines in Anjou.
Leaving Rochefort-sur-Loire, the sky darkens and it rains on the runners finishing the stage. Since Denée, there is a small group following the Loire River toward Saint-jean de la Croix before reaching the finish line for the day: les Ponts-de-Cé, to the north of the Loire and south of Angers.
Our arrival is celebrated by a small welcoming committee in the Emstal Hall in the presence of Mr. Pavillon, deputy for Sport, and Mr. Bigot, the town’s mayor. Serge receives a beautiful book of photos of the city of Ponts-de-Cé.
It’s too bad the rain is ruining the last kilometers but tomorrow we are sure to find the “sweetness of Anjou.”

Town : Les Ponts-de-CĂ©

GPS : N 47.42623° - W 000.52686°