• The peloton leave Arras Citadelle at the start of the Stage 6 of the 2014 Tour de France. (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Prince, Sting, Coldplay, Metallica and Ben Harper have all been to Arras... So, then, why haven't you?
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8 Jul 2015 - 2:48 PM  UPDATED 8 Jul 2015 - 3:22 PM

What was once a major fair town back in the Middle Ages is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, where world famous rock and pop artists descend for the Main Square Festival. Founded in 2004 and held the weekend of the Grand Départ over three days, Main Square's 2015 feature acts included Lenny Kravitz, Muse, Shaka Ponk, and Skip the Use.

The town of Arras should as familiar to cycling fans as it is to pop music afionados, too, since the Tour has thrice visited here - the last only 12 months ago, when, like today, it played host to the stage start the day after the peloton engorged on a seven-course degustation of pavé.

Many will be licking their wounds, or trading stories from the previous three stages, asking their peers how their bodies can tolerate such abuse, why they chose the hardest sporting metier in the world, or what they may look like two-and-a-half weeks from now, when they check into their hotel rooms in Paris and catch a look at an emaciated version of themselves in the mirror.

Last year went from Arras to Reims; today they go to Amiens Métropole in the Somme, a département in the Picardie région of France no doubt familiar to those who have studied the Great War.

Thankfully, a battle of a very different kind will be played out mercredi à Amiens. All things considered, it should follow the same pattern as last year, beginning with a break and ending with a sprint - André Greipel the man victorious in 2014, ahead of Tour of Flanders champ Alexander Kristoff and Samuel Dumoulin.

With one already in the bag, we wonder if it be a case of, le Gorille est de retour dans Le Tour?

Christian Prudhomme, Directeur du Tour de France, says:

"The territories that the stage will travel through were the theatre of decisive battles in the Somme area during the First World War. This time, the roads will probably be the scene of a confrontation between the sprinters' teams. On the list of winners in Amiens are the likes of specialists like André Darrigade or Mario Cipollini. A fast finish is expected."

Matt White, Orica-GreenEDGE head sports director, says:

"It's got bunch sprint written all over it, this one.

"As for the absence of (Marcel) Kittel, this year probably isn't a good year to base anything off him. In the past, Kittel had been a level on his own, but due to health reasons, he hasn't been able to put it together this year. To me, with the amount of race days he didn't have, he was always going to struggle to be at the top of his game at the start of this year's Tour.

Tan Lines: Marcel, Where Art Thou?
Asks Anthony Tan, will the absence of the world's best coiffured cyclist, not to mention best sprinter, be a decision his team will live to regret?

"Two teams that will take control of the sprints will be Lotto and Etixx-QuickStep (for Greipel and Mark Cavendish, respectively), and I think (Peter) Sagan and Kristoff will try and scavenge a fair bit of work off those two teams. They're the four pure sprinters here at the race.

"We've made it clear we're not chasing bunch sprints this year. We're not chasing the green jersey. We'll be picking and choosing stages that suit us throughout the three weeks, but on those flat sprints, we're not going to get involved."

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