Tour de France 2021: Stage 12 – A jagged overhang

Tour de France 2021 - Stage12, A jagged overhang, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage12, A jagged overhang

The route on Stage 12, passed through some remarkable landscapes – it may have been classed as a ‘flat’ stage but the road carved through some huge rock formations and tunnels – such as this one.

To see the peloton streaking through underneath was incredible – a long train running.

Tour de France 2021: Stage 12 – A beautiful day!

Tour de France 2021 - Stage12, A beautiful day! Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage12, A beautiful day!

After the drama of Mont Ventoux, Stage 12, seemed to be a day when the peloton took control and everyone slowed down a bit! Who could blame them?

Here is a gorgeous scene, typical Tour, with a lovely peloton, a beautiful day, a flag and a fan taking a photo – what more could we want? Perfection!

Tour de France 2021: Stage 11 – Ventoux vision

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 11, Ventoux Vision, original watercolour by Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 11, Ventoux Vision

Mont Ventoux nearing the climax of the stage – The road was heaving with people, all the way up, more or less – Just a remarkable sight to see.

Here, I have juxtaposed two views of the same scene, looking straight up with the people – and also the view to the side where the blue sky meets the side of the mountain. You can make out shapes of flags and motorbikes but it was very dreamlike – to me only – I’m sure that the climb twice in one day was more than real to the riders!

Tour de France 2021: Stage 11 – Ventoux Here they come!

Tour de France 2021 - Stage11, Ventoux reality, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 11, Ventoux reality

Mont Ventoux as the riders reach the climb for the first time – This time high up through the branches of the pine trees, which do grow there, at least at this point. The climb leaves the trees behind the higher it goes.

Lots of people, motobikes, flags all the fanfare and hurrah as the Tour arrives on the mountain.. the first time.

Tour de France 2021: Stage 11 – The weirdness that is Mont Ventoux

Tour de France 2021 - Stage11, The weirdness that is Mont Ventoux, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 11, The weirdness that is Mont Ventoux,

Mont Ventoux always reminds me of the moon, with its white, grey stoney surface – beautiful shades of Naples yellow and grey – and what seems to be little in the way of living things… It’s a strange and evocative scene – something of science fiction…

Tour de France 2021: Stage 11 – A somewhat Mallorcan Corner

Tour de France 2021 - Stage11, A somewhat Mallorcan corner, original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage11, A somewhat Mallorcan corner

Something about this lovely scene, a prelude to two merciless climbs of Mont Ventoux, reminded me of Mallorca – The stone wall and field of orderly olive trees, with pines in the distance, just take me back! It’s been a while now sadly, like many of us…

Mont Ventoux always reminds me of the moon though…

Tour de France 2021: Stage 10 – A beautiful leadout, No.33 for Cavendish

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 10, A beautiful leadout, original watercolour by Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 10, A beautiful leadout

Something in the air…. definitely proved to be right – The crosswinds blew, the echelons formed, but the Deceuninck–Quick-Step team protected their missile, ready for the perfect leadout by Michael Mørkøv – all of them rode their hearts out, taking turns for him. Michael Mørkøv and Mark Cavendish are the dream combination and once launched, the Missile fired home – to Stage win No.33!

So close now… He must do it!

Tour de France 2021: Stage 10 – Something in the air…

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 10, Something in the air, original watercolour by Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 10, Something in the air

Stage 10 was a long stage, mostly flat and as the climax drew near, the sky turned very dark and cross winds began to blow.. There was a feeling of excitement and anticipation, as echelons began to form.

Something in the air…. definitely

Tour de France 2021: Stage 10 – Chartreuse Green

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 10, Chartreuse Green - Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 10, Chartreuse Green

Stage 10 saw the race resume in sunshine! A long stage and everything geared towards the sprinters and notably, Mark Cavendish – so much pressure for him to take another stage win and edge nearer to that magic target – He looked calm as he set out and set his stall out for the stage win by not going for the intermediate sprint.

The route passes through the area where the famous green-yellow drink Chartreuse originates, which seems highly appropriate today –

Even the landscape is a gorgeous mix of greens, as you can see…

Tour de France 2021: Stage 9 – Battling the Elements!

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 9, Battling the elements! Original watercolour painting Maxine Dodd
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 9, Battling the elements

Stage 8 was awful, but the weather on Stage 9 saw a fall of rain of almost biblical proportions – Just horrendous. Cast your mind back to the last time the Tour attempted to finish in Tignes, in 2019, when a landslide caused a dramatic change of plan – Seeing this torrent of rain, it’s easier now to understand why that landslide happened.

My painting shows the Ineo Grenadiers rounding a bend greeted by a group of saturated, caped figures, so wet that you feel the spots might run off… The fans are dedicated too, as members this strange order populated the route throughout – incredible.

A truly dreadful day – mercifully the Rest Day tomorrow.

Hot baths everyone?

Tour de France 2021: Stage 8 – Pogacar attacks, Carapaz goes with him

Tour de France 2021 - Stage 8, Pogacar attacks, Carapaz goes with him! Original watercolour, pen and ink
Tour de France 2021 – Stage 8, Pogacar attacks, Carapaz goes with him!

Well, another long title but it goes with the preceding image of Davide Formolo, who was part of this move – with one last grimace, he pulled away to the side, and Pogacar made his move. The only rider able to follow him was Richard Carapaz, Ineos Grenadiers, but even he couldn’t keep up with the reigning champion for long.

The glance behind, almost to see who has the audacity to follow, is a treat – Carapaz is full of grim determination, but you just know that he will be spitting Pogacar’s mud from his teeth before long.

The reigning champion went on to regain the Yellow Jersey at the end of this stage – Not surprising really, he is on outstanding form.

Wow!

Tour de France 2021: Stage 8 – The Grimace of a man with rain in his face

Tour de France - Stage 8, The Grimace of a man with rain in his face, original watercolour by Maxine Dodd
Tour de France – Stage 8, The Grimace of a man with rain in his face

This has to be the longest title of a picture of mine but I felt poor Davide Formolo of UAE Team Emirates deserved it – The camera seemed to catch him as the rain was full in his face, spitting it away almost.

In fact, this scene preceded what for me was a fantastic moment from the stage – Davide peeled away seconds later to allow his teammate Tadej Pogacar to speed through, almost relishing the conditions – Great team work by Formolo in the dreadful conditions

Still grim!