La Vuelta 2014: Stage 17, Ortigueira to A Coruña

Hola! After the rest day, the last part of La Vuelta a Espana moves into Galicia where the crosswinds and high-kick roads continue to characterise this great race. Today’s course began on the coast and then turned inland working through towns and villages. The breakaway was led by Daniel Teklehaimanot of MTN-Qhubeka, the first African team to enter the race but in the end it was a sprinter’s stage with a great win for John Degenkolb. Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 16, San Martín del Rey Aurelio to La Farrapona

Hola! The third day in the mountains. Better weather than yesterday revealed the mountains in their glory, not to mention a great stage for Contador and Froome, battling it out uphill, while Cancellara showed how to handle a descent! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 11, Pamplona to Santuario de San Miguel de Aralar

Hola! So good to be back after some unforeseen interruptions and technical hitches I’ve had the past few days. The peloton definitely left me behind, you might say! Stage 11 took a searing course through the Navarro mountains. Hot and steep, the riders hauled their way to the top. Sadly, there was another crash for Quintana and his Vuelta finally came to an end, but for Spanish fans there was great delight as the stage was won by Fabio Aru. Gruelling but terrific! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 10, Real Monasterio de Santa María de Veruela to Borja

Hola! Stage 10 saw an elaborate start to the second time trial, weaving through the terracotta walls of the monastery. From there, the course travelled through the province of Zaragossa to Borja in sunshine. Quintana began his first day in red well but suffered a dreadful crash on a bend. He recovered well enough to complete but lost his red jersey to the amazing Contador, riding so well after the appalling injury he sustained in the Tour. You just wouldn’t know it to look at him- amazing!  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 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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Tour de France 2013: Stage 21 – Versailles to Paris Champs-Élysées

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:

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Tour de France 2013: Stage 20 – Annecy to Annecy-Semnoz

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:

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Tour de France 2013: Stage 19 – Bourg-d’Oisans to Le Grand Bornand

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:

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Tour de France 2013: Stage 18 – Gap to Alpe d’Huez

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:

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Tour de France 2013: Stage 17 – Embrun to Chorges

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 fansHere are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2013: Stage 16 – Vaison-la-Romaine to Gap

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:

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