Tour de France 2014: Stage 19 – Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour to Bergerac

Bonjour! Stage19 saw the beginning of the route home to Paris. The course travelled through the area of the Dordogne in pouring, pouring rain. So much rain! The visibility was so bad and the roads so slippery an accident felt more than likely to happen. It did, right at the last and it was a big one. Leading through most of the stage was TJ Slagter, but it was Ramunas Navardauskas from Lithuania who navigated past the carnage to take the stage win, brilliantly holding his lead against the chasing pack.  Here are my drawings:

 

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 18 – Pau to Hautacam

Bonjour! Stage18 was the third and final day in the Pyrenees. It was a decisive stage, with King of the Mountains and Green Jersey, not to mention Yellow, really set for this year. All they have to do is stay in the saddle until Sunday and all will be well! Nibali crossed the line with quiet authority after another incredible performance. Here are my drawings:

 

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 17 – Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet

Bonjour! Stage17 saw the second day in the Pyrenees. Another hard stage with great climbs and descents. The race lead passed through several hands over the course of the stage, including a great spell by Kiriyenka of team Sky. Romain Bardet handled the descents with alarming grace but the win came again for Rafal Majka, King of the Mountains. Yellow jersey stays on the back of the amazing Nibali. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 16 – Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon

Bonjour! Stage16 was the first day in the Pyrenees. The sun shone, the road rose high and the riders descended at breakneck speeds. Australian rider, Mick Rogers won his first stage after ten years of taking part in the Tour. Absolutely brilliant, he so deserved it and even crossed the winning line with a bow. Ripper! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 15 – Tallard to Nîmes

Bonjour! Stage15 was a long stage leaving the Alps and heading through the south of France towards the Pyrenees. The course passed through classic French countryside, but with crosswinds and storms at times, it was still a challenge for the riders. Two made an impressive breakaway lead by Martin Elmiger and Jack Bauer. At the end of the stage they were caught and passed by the head of the peloton – all sprinters – and there was nothing either man could do to assuage the onslaught! Amazing stuff – can’t wait for Stage 16! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 14 – Grenoble to Risoul

Bonjour! Stage14 continued in the Alps in a hard day’s climbing and an engrossing day’s racing.  The skies promised rain but didn’t deliver – instead riders worked hard in the sun. The race saw great performances from the AG2R team, Vincenzo Nibali, but the stage was won by up and coming climber, Rafal Majka, who crossed the line, jacket unzipped and flapping!  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 13 – Saint-Étienne to Chamrousse

Bonjour! Stage13 arrived in the Alps and passed through the city of Grenoble. Spectacular scenery, including the still snowy and very white, Mont Blanc. This was another hard stage with more riders abandoning or falling back. Steering a very confident course through much of the race was Alessandro De Marchio who forged ahead. Until that is, the brilliant Vincenzo Nibali burst past everyone in the final kilometres to take the win alone and in style. Vincenzo has worn the Yellow Jersey for many days and must be the favourite for Paris. Who can catch him? Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 12 – Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Étienne

Bonjour! Stage12 continued the theme begun on Stage 11, hot sunshine, rolling countryside and beautiful chateaux. The announcement came that Andrew Talansky joined 4 other team leaders in retirement, but the race pressed on. French fans enjoying the progress of riders Cyril Gaultier and Perrig Quemeneur who brokeaway with Simon Clarke to lead for a great section of the stage. The sprint to the line saw Peter Sagan miss out on the win yet again – just beaten by Alexander Kristoff for the Russian team Katusha. And this was a ‘quiet’ stage! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 10 – Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles

Bonjour! Stage10, was absolutely amazing. Riders toiling into the mountains through sunshine, rain and fog for over 4 hours – only to be rewarded with the near vertical climb at La Planche des Belles Filles, the killer hill!  Contador sadly retired after an appalling fall. A brilliant ride by Rodriguez was outshone by Vincenzo Nibali who was first over the hill. A memorable Bastille Day! Thank goodness it’s a rest day tomorrow – we can all calm down a bit! See you on Wednesday – Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 9 – Gérardmer to Mulhouse

Bonjour! Stage 9 was another exciting day, with sunshine, showers, arduous climbs and fast descents. It was also a tale of two Tonys, namely Martin and Gallopin. The two men delighted their fans with the stage win and yellow jersey respectively.  Tomorrow is Bastille Day and the Tour heads into the mountains proper. What could be better?  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 8 – Tomblaine to Gérardmer La Mauselaine

Bonjour! Stage 8 saw the first climbing section in France. Another mixed day of weather, the stage starting in good sunshine with riders looking relaxed and smiling. As the stage progressed and the land rose, down came the rain once again, putting everyone to the test. Nip and tuck all the way, there was delight for the French as Blel Kadri took the stage win. The battle for second nearly as exciting, with Nibali, Contador and Chavanel going for glory. Congratulations! Here are my drawings:

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