A phenomenal dive to the line from the Tour de France in Paris in 2013. Three sprinters who at the time were among the best of their generation, Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish – I love the movement and marvel at the way they hurl themselves and their bikes to the line, with heads down – I presume – not being able to see where they are going! Brave indeed!
Marcel Kittel ended his Tour de France in style and finished the stage in three hours, six minutes and 14 seconds.
Bonjour! Stage 21 is the celebration stage. Rolling out from the Palace of Versailles and heading for Paris in the evening for a twighlight sprint around the Champs-Élysées. Setting off in beautiful late afternoon sunshine, all the riders looked relaxed and in good mood. This year, the sprint went round the Arc du Triomphe and there was an immense battle, the win was Kittel’s. Sky came together to cross the line in support of their leader in yellow jersey. What a race and what a finish? Can’t wait until next year! Here are my drawings:
Bonjour! Stage 20 was outstanding, from the weather and scenery to incredible racing. There were many highlights, including Jens Voigt showing the youngsters how to climb a hill and fantastic breaks between Froome, Quintana and Rodriguez, not to mention some handsome cattle suitably dressed. Most of the final places overall were resolved in this stage. Peter Sagan held on to the Green; Polkadot and White jerseys both went to the astounding Nairo Quintana and Yellow remained with the modest Englishman, Chris Froome. The stage is set for a fantastic celebration tomorrow in Paris.Here are my drawings:
Bonjour! Stage 19 was a long stage, with five climbs overall. Sky had a better day and Chris Froome held on to his lead. Pierre Rolland, showed his metal in the climbs and descents for much of the race, but eventually overtaken for the win by Rui Costa. The real winner today perhaps was the rain, which in spite of the bright start came by the bucketload at the end of the day.Here are my drawings:
Bonjour! Stage 18, the one with the notorious climb to Alpe d’Huez, lived up to expectations. An intense, gruelling stage, leaving riders not only battling the hill, but contending with arguably the largest crowds ever. The roads were chaotic all the way. Van Garderen led for most of the race and then with barely 2km to go, Christophe Riblon found a burst of energy and powered past, leaving the American in his wake. Making up for the disappointment of Jean-Christophe Peraud, Stage 18 was a fantastic win for Riblon. Magnifique!Here are my drawings:
Bonjour! Stage 17 was an action-packed individual time trial. The terrain was tough with climbs and descents – made all the trickier because of patchy rain. The big decision for teams was to complete the stage on one bike or to change mid-way for the fast descent. Chris Froome and Sky chose the second option and gained vital seconds to take the stage. Heartbreak and pain came for Jean-Christophe Peraud, whose fall during practice injured his collar-bone and elbow. He bravely chose to ride the stage, but fell a second time, compounding the original injuries. Pain and heartbreak for him and his fans. Here are my drawings:
Bonjour! Stage 16 saw the Alpine stages begin travelling through quietly dramatic scenery, through gorges and by rivers. The stage closed with a climb and hair-raising descent of the Col de Mense. A passing train briefly brought all the riders to a halt and likewise, Chris Froome was momentarily dislodged by a hurtling Contador. Rui Costa joyfully took the stage win, with the battle for yellow grinding on behind him. It’s still on Froome’s back… just! Here are my drawings:
Bonjour ! Stage 15 was a fantastic, gruelling course leading to the summit of Mont Ventoux. Emotional resonance for British fans and arguably one of the toughest climbs on any Tour. Sylvain Chavanel showed wonderful energy early on, followed by the outstanding Quintana. But showing tremendous strength Chris Froome broke away brilliantly and almost sprinted to the finish. Superb! Here are my drawings:
Bonjour! Stage 14 was another long stage with seven hill climbs, practice for Mont Ventoux perhaps? Still, it was a good steady stage, with excitement at the end, after a great surge by Julien Simon of France. Sadly, he couldn’t quite get the win, which went to Matteo Trentin. Here are my drawings: