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 2013: Stage 7 – Montpellier to Albi

Bonjour! Southern stage takes the riders inland towards the Pyrenees. Agricultural landscapes contrast with Stage 6’s more industrial scenery. Essentially another stage for sprinters but the hills begin to test in readiness for the Pyrenees. Team Cannondale dominated the stage. Finally a great win for the big man in green, Peter Sagan. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2013: Stage 6 – Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier

Bonjour! Another sprinters stage through the flatter landscape of Provence. Still the odd mountain and castle though, but much for the riders to contend with in the form of crosswinds courtesy of the Mistral. A fast end to the race, with a great win for Greipel. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2013: Stage 5 – Cagnes-sur-Mer to Marseilles

Bonjour! Welcome to Provence! A very long stage through the region, through pretty villages, woodland, quiet lakes and rivers. What a treat? A great stage as well, with opportunities for the sprinters, culminating in an explosive shot over the line by Mark Cavendish. Bravo! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2013: Stage 4 – Nice to Nice

Bonjour! Welcome to Nice! Fantastic team time trial in the most glamorous setting. What more to say? Exciting racing, Omega Pharma-Quick Step held the lead until Orica GreenEdge pipped them for the win by one second. Agony and ecstasy! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2013: Stage 3- Ajaccio to Calvi

Bonjour! This was last stage set on the beautiful island of Corsica. Another climbing stage on tough roads carving through the pink rocks. Then through the streets to Calvi where garden walls tumbled with purple bougainvillea. The race was hot and gruelling. The remarkable finish, was decided by a photograph. Peter Sagan just lost out to the Australian, Simon Gerrans by a whisker! All set for Stage 4, back on the mainland in Nice. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2013: Stage 2- Bastia to Ajaccio

Bonjour! After the drama and strange happenings of Stage 1, the second stage seemed somewhat calmer until the race reached Ajaccio. Strong legs required for the first of the climbing stages. Sky flexed their muscles with a chase through the streets and there was a surprise win for a very happy man, Jan Bakelants, with a one second gap! Here are my drawings:

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