In the Vienne, and particularly in Grand Châtellerault, we are very proud to be able to count on such a high-flying ambassador: Sylvain Chavanel.
The Green Linethe famous cycle route between Châtellerault and Loudun, was even renamed in his honour in 2017, when the first edition of the Vélo, Swing and Peas.. Since then, I've been dying to ask him to tell us about his fiefdom. And I've found the perfect opportunity: the 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 the latter quality following the dream interview that took place in mid-April. No wonder he is regularly ranked in the top 40 of France's favourite sportsmen and women! Now retired from the pelotons, the record holder of Tour de France appearances (three stage wins and 2 yellow jerseys to his name, as well as seven French Championship titles, among others) continues to ride, just for the fun of it. 

It is Châtellerault that the professional racer was born. His wife Natacha comes from Colombiers (see photo below). So in 2004, it was a natural step for the pair to move to this charming commune, just 20 minutes from Futuroscope. Natacha and Sylvain are very attached to their châtelleraudais roots, and are bringing up their two children here. Baptiste, the eldest, is a keen horse-rider and show-jumper, while his brother Maxence prefers football and running, cycling around a hundred kilometres a week with his champion father.

Sissi the Ambassador. Hello ! First thing we all want to know: what are your favourite loops in Grand Châtellerault?

Sylvain Chavanel. When it comes to training, I've covered 30,000 kilometres a year for 20 years. So I know the roads of Grand Châtellerault very well! 
I like to be away from the traffic and to be on a gradient. What's ideal for me? When it's green and hilly. Depending on what I feel like doing, I go to MonthoironChenevellesLa Roche-Posay... For flat food, I go to Antran and Dangé-Saint-Romain.
I also enjoy cycling along the Vienne river to Bonneuil-MatoursVouneuil-sur-Vienne... It's suitable for all levels.

What advice would you give to a beginner cyclotourist?
I always check the wind direction before setting off. The best thing is to have it head-on when you set off and at your back when you return.

What are the best places to buy or repair a bike?
I love mechanics, so I repair everything myself. I'm also an ambassador for the Giant brand. But I can tell you that there are two well-known addresses in Châtellerault: Cycles Desmazeau and Cycles Verron.

For lovers of nature, heritage, peace and quiet and beautiful countryside, there's plenty to choose from in Grand Châtellerault!

To a tourist planning a trip to Greater Châtellerault, which sites would you recommend they visit? 
I want to praise the merits of the villages ofAngles-sur-l'Anglin (photo below)La Roche-PosayVicq-sur-Gartempe... I would also talk to him about the Pinail Nature Reserve the new discovery trail is a great success. Chitré millthe Monthoiron estatethe Old Poitiers archaeological sitethe La Guerche forest (Le Rond du Chêne) is ideal for mountain biking... 
For lovers of nature, heritage, peace and quiet and beautiful countryside, there's plenty to choose from in Grand Châtellerault!

And what are your favourites when it comes to local gastronomy?
I love the brasserie's cuisine L'Entracte in Châtellerault. The owners are very friendly. They have become friends. 
Natacha and I are regulars at the Tuesday morning market at Scorbé-ClairvauxI spent my childhood there until the fourth grade. For vegetables and eggs, we have our own hens and a vegetable garden. 
Finally, my wife regularly visits the Châtellerault shops of Rannou-Métivier for their famous macaroons.

Finally, can you tell us something about your current activities?
At the moment, with the health crisis, many of my projects have been postponed. But you'll be able to see me in the Tour de France caravan. 
Then there's my second passion: harness trotting. I've been going to racecourses with my father ever since I was a child. But I had to wait until I retired from cycling to become an amateur driver. I took part in my first race a year ago.

Thank you for your time! See you soon on the roads of Grand Châtellerault...

>> Discover all the cycling routes listed in Grand Châtellerault

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