In Vienne, particularly in Grand Châtellerault, we are very proud to be able to count on a high-level ambassador: Sylvain Chavanel.
The green Line, the famous cycle path between Châtellerault and Loudun, was even renamed in his honor in 2017, during the first edition of Bike, Swing and Peas.. Since then, I've been dying to ask him to tell us about his stronghold. And I found the perfect opportunity: the event May by bike followed by World Bicycle Day.

You all know this elegant cyclist, renowned as much for his attacks and his panache as for his smile and his kindness. I can only confirm this last quality following the dream interview which materialized in mid-April. No wonder he is regularly ranked in the top 40 of French people's favorite athletes! Now retired from the pelotons, the record holder for participations in the Tour de France (three stage victories and 2 yellow jerseys to his credit, but also seven French Champion titles among others) continues to ride the little queen, just to pleasure. 

This is at Chatellerault that the professional runner was born. His wife Natacha is from Dovecotes (see photo below). So in 2004, it was quite natural that the tandem decided to move to this charming town located 20 minutes from Futuroscope. Very attached to their Châtelleraudaise roots, Natacha and Sylvain raise their two children there. Baptiste, the eldest who is passionate about horse riding, practices show jumping while his brother Maxence prefers football, running and pedals a hundred kilometers per week with his champion dad.

Sissi the Ambassador. Good morning ! And thank you for granting me this interview… The first thing we all want to know: what are your favorite loops in Grand Châtellerault?

Sylvain Chavanel. For training, I did 30 kilometers per year for 000 years. So the roads of Grand Châtellerault, I know them well! 
I like being away from traffic and having some elevation changes. The ideal in my opinion? When it's green and hilly. Depending on my desires, I go to MonthoironChenevellesLa Roche-Posay… For food, I go to antran et Dange-Saint-Romain.
I also enjoy bike rides along the Vienne, towards Bonneuil-matoursVouneuil-sur-Vienne…It’s suitable for all levels.

What advice would you give to a beginner cycle tourist?
I always look at the wind direction before leaving. The best is to have it in front to start and in the back for the return.

For a bicycle purchase or repair, what good addresses do you go to?
I like mechanics, so I repair everything myself. I am also a Giant brand ambassador. But I can tell you that two addresses are well established in Châtellerault: Desmazeau Cycles et Cycles Verron.

​For lovers of nature, heritage, calm and beautiful landscapes, there is a choice in Grand Châtellerault!

To a tourist planning a stay in Grand Châtellerault, what sites would you recommend visiting? 
I want to praise the merits of the villages ofAngles-sur-l'Anglin (picture below)La Roche-PosayVicq-sur-Gartempe…I would also talk to him about the Pinail Nature Reserve whose new discovery trail is very successful, from Chitré millDomaine de Monthoironarchaeological site of Old Poitiers,  Guerche forest (Le Rond du Chêne) very suitable for mountain biking… 
For lovers of nature, heritage, calm and beautiful landscapes, there is a choice in Grand Châtellerault!

And when it comes to local gastronomy, what are your favorites?
I like the cuisine of the brasserie Intermission in Châtellerault. The owners are very nice. They became friends. 
With Natacha, we are loyal to the Tuesday morning market in Scorbe-Clairvaux, city where I spent my childhood until CM1. For vegetables and eggs, we have our own chickens and a vegetable garden. 
Finally, my wife regularly visits the Châtelleraudaise boutiques in Rannou-Metivier for their famous macaroons.

Finally, tell us about your current affairs?
At the moment, with the health crisis, many of my projects are postponed. But you will be able to find me in the Tour de France caravan in particular. 
And then there is my second passion: harness trotting. I have been going to racetracks since I was little with my father. But I had to wait until I retired from cycling to become an amateur driver. I participated in my first race a year ago.

THANKS ! See you soon on the roads of Grand Châtellerault…

>> Discover all the cycling loops listed in Grand Châtellerault

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