Tour de France 2018: Stage 11 – Getting close….

Much of the focus of this year’s race has been on these two riders – Chris Froome and, from this stage onwards, Geraint Thomas. Fantastic riding from them both and Thomas took the Yellow Jersey just a few seconds after this… I dare not say anymore as the finish is so close now!

cycling art, tour de france, Stage 11 - Getting close... Thomas and Froome

Stage 11 – Getting close… Thomas and Froome

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Tour de France 2016: Stage 21 – Chantilly to Paris Champs-Élysées

Bonjour! Stage 21, the triumphal ride into Paris! The sun came out – a relief after the past two days and there was the usual friendly handshakes and congratulations to the Yellow Jersey. Team Sky were in good mood, enjoying beer en route and all processed gracefully to Paris. The racing began on the Champs-Élysées. The win went to André Greipel like last year, but all the more sweet for him as a stage win had eluded him this Tour. Finally, the champions, Team Sky brought home their man, Chris Froome – a brilliant third win. Definitely time for a lie-down! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2016: Stage 20 – Megève to Morzine-Avoriaz

Bonjour! Stage 20 The last Alpine stage and, nearly the end of the race! In some ways it was a continuation of yesterday – pouring rain, tough climbs and daring descents. The stage began with silence to remember the victims of the terror attack in Munich, so sadly, my dove appears again. There were brave rides by Alaphilippe, Pantano and Nibali but the outstanding descent came from Movistar’s Ion Izagirre, who took the stage win. It was fitting that Poels and Froome crossed the last mountain together, Froome riding on to win the whole race along with all his eight comrades from Team Sky. He is in the history books now with three wins to his name. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2016: Stage 19 – Albertville to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc

Bonjour! Stage 19 was an amazing stage. It had everything, from sunshine to torrential rain, from brave breakaways to individual brilliance. The Astana team went to the front, took a look around and just went for it! They led for much of the day. The rain came towards the end of the stage, changing everything, suddenly everyone was losing balance, some falling badly including Pierre Rolland and Chris Froome, the latter completing the stage on another borrowed bike. He was helped along the last painful metres by his team-mate, Wout Pouels. At the finish, one of cycling’s best descenders, Romain Bardet, stole a march on everyone and went on to win. Helter skelter!  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2016: Stage 18 – Sallanches to Megève

Bonjour! Stage 18 was the second time-trial of this year’s Tour. This one was an uphill course where time-trial specialist, Tom Dumoulin was expected to repeat his sparkling performance from Stage 13. He put in a great time which no-one could catch, until Chris Froome set out. At the first time-check he was in 5th place, ‘unusual for him’ said the commentator. At the second time-check, he had gained 14 seconds and was speeding up. After the descent,  he stormed home to victory, riding 21 seconds faster than Dumoulin. An incredible ride! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2016: Stage 9 – Vielha Val d’Aran to Andorre Arcalis

Bonjour! Stage 9 was a magical stage – for me at least – maybe less so for those riding it! I’ve always loved the Pyrenees, love it when the Tour nips over the border to Spain and Andorra is a special place for my husband and me. This visit was exceptional – a stage of two halves – extreme heat, blazing sunshine, followed by an almighty hailstorm at the close – sol y sombra and more! Both conditions provided great images to capture. In the race itself, Alberto Contador was the notable retirement (there haven’t been many thankfully), Team Sky and BMC were dominant with Chris Froome retaining Yellow and there’s a great race building for Adam Yates in second place. Dan Martin put a great bid in the rain but the stage was taken brilliantly by Tom Dumoulin. An amazing day! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2016: Stage 8 – Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon

Bonjour! Stage 8 took place in the heart of the Pyrenees with four Cols to conquer! The Col du Tourmalet fell victim to Thibaut Pinot and Rafael Majka but thereafter, Team Sky launched their predatory attack on the race. They caught, they passed and then in a move, that looked to be inspired by Stephen Cummings yesterday, Chris Froome powered away in the most extraordinary descent. He was amazing, his long arms and legs made him look as though he was on someone else’s bike! Quite simply, he was brilliant, taking the stage win and with it the Yellow Jersey. Familiar territory for him, can he hold on to it until Paris? It’s a long way to go! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 21 – Sèvres, Grand Paris Seine Ouest to Paris Champs-Élysées

Bonjour! Stage 21, the final stage in Paris sets the seal on the Tour. Regarded by some as a procession or show stage, there is still the matter of the Yellow Jersey completing the course before the phenomenal final sprint on the Champs-Élysées. Not quite so predictable on this occasion, as the roads were made treacherous by torrential rain. The day in Paris began as last year, with the new women’s race, La Course. I felt compelled to include this as the racing was just outstanding. (A full post especially dedicated to it will follow) After this breathtaking race, the men’s Tour exploded onto the great Paris streets, with another momentous victory for Andre Greipel. What an extraordinary Tour this has been? Just wonderful! As a British fan, I share the delight for Team Sky and Chris Froome – a great achievement for them. Congratulations! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 20 – Modane Valfréjus to Alpe d’Huez

Bonjour! Stage 20, the final stage in the Alps and probably the hardest of them all, as the route peaks on the magnificent and notorious Alpe d’Huez. It’s demanding, tough and lined with more fans than you could ever imagine. This was a mesmerising stage, with astonishing breakaways from Valverde and of course Nairo Quintana, who pushed Chris Froome and Team Sky to their limits. The stage win went to an exultant Thibaut Pinot, but the Yellow Jersey stayed with Chris Froome. So after four immense days, we’re set for Paris!  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 17 – Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup

Bonjour! Stage 17 followed the rest day and marked the beginning of the final section of this year’s Tour. It was the first of four gruelling days in the Alps, with all that goes with them; dramatic scenery, gut-wrenching climbs, toe-curling descents and roads strewn round the mountains like ribbons. This stage cruelly claimed Tejay van Garderen, the American rider, in third place at the start, but he broke down and could go no further. By complete contrast, the wonderfully-bearded Simon Geschke, claimed his first Tour stage win, brilliantly climbing and descending to the finish. In the race within the race, there was great riding and sportsmanship between Nairo Quintana and Chris Froome who battled to the finish line. Sky keep the yellow but they can’t lose concentration for one minute! What a start to the finish? Simply amazing! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 10 – Tarbes to La Pierre-Saint-Martin

Bonjour! Stage 10 on Bastille Day, was the first of three days in the Pyrenees, following a great course through the foothills, up into the mountains and finishing with a testing climb. The dazzling performance of the day came from Chris Froome, who broke away with 6km to go and left everyone behind, almost dancing on the bike up to the finish. This was an astounding performance, securing the King of the Mountains jersey as well as retaining Yellow. He won on Bastille day the year he won the Tour, perhaps too soon to assume that history will repeat itself, but we’ll see. This win was one to relish!
Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 8 – Rennes to Mûr-de-Bretagne

Bonjour! Stage 8 Another hot day in the saddle for the riders, following a meandering route through Brittany with the Mur de Bretagne climb at the finish. The fans turned out by the score, cheering the riders. In the race itself, Chris Froome won the Yellow Jersey, Daniel Teklehaimanot retained Polka Dot, Peter Sagan won the sprinter’s Green and Alexis Vuillermoz delivered the first stage victory for France and his AG2R La Mondiale team. All in all, this was a very happy Saturday! Here are my drawings:

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