Au revoir…. for a while!

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Great end to this year’s Tour – more than most of us in this part of the world could have imagined. A few days on, the summer seems to have arrived in Britain and the country is gearing up for the Olympics at the end of the week.  Looking back over the past few weeks having embarked on this project, it’s been a wonderful experiment and a joy. I feel ready to try something new but here are a few drawings as a reminder.

Stage 20 – Rambouillet to Paris Champs-Élysées

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Stage 20 – The final stage began in glorious sunshine, with greetings between teams, team-mates, opponents and champions. The stage ended with the most heart-stopping race around the Champs-Élysées. A magnificent stage win for Mark Cavendish, helped by the brilliant gentleman in yellow. Wiggins a worthy winner and champion and Britain’s first.  Here are my last drawings of this momentous event.

Stage 19 – Bonneval to Chartres

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Stage 19 – Today’s stage was all about time. Good weather, flat roads and every man against the crosswinds, the road and the clock. The fastest man came out last, wearing yellow, and struck home in one hour, four minutes and thirteen seconds. His team mate three minutes and twenty-one seconds behind him, his closest rival three minutes and thirty-eight seconds further behind. We’re holding our breath for Paris tomorrow. Here are some drawings

Stage 18 – Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde

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Stage 18 – The beginning of the end perhaps? A stage that wove through classic French countryside. There were castles, bridges and viaducts, fields and donkeys. However, all of these things were overshadowed by a great team supporting its world champion. The Missile exploded past everyone to take the win. What a man and what a team!  Here are the day’s drawings

Stage 17 – Bagneres-de-Luchon to Peyragudes

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Stage 17 – The last mountain stage. Fog, fog, fog! Really dangerous in places, wet with low visibility. The to and fro between Kessiakoff and Voeckler for the King of the Mountains was wonderful to see and the brilliance of Froome and Wiggins shone through the murk. Valverde triumphed to take the stage win.  Here are the day’s drawings

Stage 16 – Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon

Lunch in the sun

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Stage 16 – Beautiful, dramatic scenery with griffon vultures, cattle and sunshine! A massive stage with four major climbs. Wiggins and Froome held off a great challenge by Nibali, Cadel Evans fell back but the star of the stage was Thomas Voeckler who had a magnificent ride to claim King of the Mountains and a fifth win for France – Majestic! Here are the day’s drawings

Stage 15 – Samatan to Pau

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Stage 15 – The next stage in the foothills of the Pyenees – and yet another contrast! Beautiful sunshine, rolling fields of wheat and sunflowers – harvest in full swing. Today’s stage felt as gentle as the scenery compared to Sunday. Possibly the calm before the storm for the next climbing stages. The status quo maintained for yellow and green jersey and Pierrick Fedrigo took the stage win. Here are the day’s drawings

Stage 14 – Limoux to Foix

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Stage 14 – The Pyenees and what a contrast to yesterday? Dark overhanging trees, wet roads and misty skies. For the riders there were tremendous challenges, two hard climbs with steep descents, not to mention the astonishing action by someone to litter the road with carpet tacks, resulting in many punctures. Team BMC rallied round Cadel Evans whose bike was caught three times.Brad Wiggins honourably influenced the peloton to wait for him to catch up. Much more seriously, current King of the Mountains, Robert Kiserlovski had to abandon his Tour after a fall and suffering a broken collarbone, possibly as a result of this action. Although Sagan looked strong on the descent to take the stage, in fact Luis Leon Sanchez powered forward and took the win.  Here are today’s drawings

Stage 13 – Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Le Cap d’Agde

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Stage 13 – Bastille Day!  What a terrific stage? Where the course leads to the Mediterranean coast, passing through Sète via a road with furious crosswinds. The last push towards the finish was electric, Wiggins showing his terrific pace right at the end. Andre Greipel powered past Sagan to take the win.I can’t wait for tomorrow when riders finally reach the Pyrenees – Wonderful! Here are today’s drawings

Stage 8 – Belfort to Porrentruy

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Stage 8 – The first stage where Brad starts in the yellow jersey. More climbs in this stage as the Tour crosses the border into Switzerland. Bad accident involving the current Olympic champion, Sanchez. The stage was won by Frenchman Thibaut Pinot. Here are some drawings

Stage 7 – Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles

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Stage 7 – The first real climb. This stage had the best sunshine, the best scenery and the worst climb so far. So beautiful and so extreme. A great stage for Team Sky, with Chris Froome dragging himself up the last hill to take the win and the yellow jersey for Brad. Great day. Here are some drawings

Stage 5 – Rouen to Saint Quentin

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Stage 5 – In contrast to yesterday, the course today passed through fields of motionless wind turbines – no wind to turn them. Later, there were storms brewing, with more spills and accidents. I used the panoramic sketchbook again to try and catch the flavour. Here are some of the drawings.

Stage 2 – Visé to Tournai

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Stage 2 – An exciting stage with huge sprint at the end. Mark Cavendish steams through to win. From my point of view, I tried to capture the peloton for the first time – what a fascinating beast that is? To see so many bodies and bikes weaving through the streets – the aerial shots are amazing. Aside from that, it was full tilt to the finish!

Here are some more drawings.

Bonjour!

Welcome to my new blog, which follows this year’s Tour de France in quick sketches… very quick!  Each day, I make drawings from the broadcast of the Tour in sketchbooks. I use ink pen to make the drawing and add watercolour washes later. I’m making this blog  to help me to learn how to blog (currently it’s harder than making the drawings and they’re bad enough – Those cyclists keep moving!) Perhaps I’ll crack it by 22nd July!