Bonjour! Stage 12 is one that will live long in the memory for the worst possible reasons. The day began with a change of plan – the mountain too savaged by winds for the race to complete there. A new finish was decided upon at Chalet-Reynard. Crowds and media installed at the top, moved down to the new location, where there were crowds already. As the stage came to its climax, weaving through the throng of people, there was an horrendous collision for Richie Porte and then Chris Froome lost his bike completely. The sight of a desperate yellow jersey running to the finish until a new bike could reach him was extraordinary. The stage was won by Thomas De Gendt and fellow Belgian Serge Pauwels came second. It appeared that Froome and Porte had lost their places in the overall classification. The balance was restored by the organisers the next day. All of this dissolved to nothing later in the evening, as children and their families were mercilessly attacked in Nice. I gave up. Later, I drew a dove to remember them – a drop in the ocean. Here are my drawings:
Everyone out for Bastille Day!
Running to the finish!
Cathedral of plane trees
Thomas De Gendt and Serge Pauwels take the win!
Bonjour! Stage 11 was a hot, long route through red hills, violet skies and strong crosswinds but with a finish set for the sprinters. The expected win came from Green Jersey holder and World Champion, Peter Sagan. The complete surprise came from Chris Froome who sprinted alongside! Both men retained their jerseys and advanced their leads. A remarkable finish! Here are my drawings:
Chris Froome holds nothing back!
Sprint! – SOLD
Bonjour! This was the stage that every fan of the Tour and every rider was dreading! Riding on the infamous cobbled pavés – torrential rain added even more danger to the cocktail. Sadly, the reigning champion’s race ended on the wet road, with two further falls. The rain hammered down all day and in marked contrast to the previous stages, the winner dragged himself over the line alone, covered in mud, but very happy. Congratulations to Lars Boom. What on earth will happen tomorrow? Here are my drawings:
Rain and cobbles
Who’s behind me?
Wet, wet, wet!
Triumph in the rain and mud, Lars Boom
Bonjour! The second stage of the Tour de France’s Grand Depart left the Dales for the Peak District from the ancient city of York to the steel city of Sheffield. There were more spills but fortunately not as catastrophic as yesterday’s crash. The route was greeted by more huge crowds, estimates of a million people following the race, simply astonishing. The stage was won by Vincnezo Nibali. Here are my drawings:
SOLD – Heading for Holmfirth
White Rose of Yorkshire,
Close to Yellow
All the people of Yorkshire! Framed – 40cm x 40cm
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:
Annecy, the start
Annecy, the road by the lake
Crossing the sprint line together
Voigt grits his teeth as the leaders descend
Va, Va, Froome!
Quintana wins the stage!
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:
At the start
Sky head for the Coll de la Madelaine
Clouds rolling in
Coming up the hill
And the rain came down!
Rolland braves the rain
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:
Road from above
Riblon powers past!
Win for Riblon!