Tour de France 2015: Stage 9 – Vannes to Plumelec

Bonjour! A team time-trial provided the excitement on Stage 9, before the rest day and the first real mountain stages in the Pyrenees on Tuesday. Time trials show the technique of riding so well and it’s a delight to see a well-practiced team moving like a machine, absorbing the air to go faster. This course was unusually placed in the Tour and with a sharp kick-climb at the end, really tested each teams’ skills. There are several masters of this discipline, including the current world champions, BMC – who are a joy to watch. They took the win from Sky by one second. Phew! On to the mountains…
Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2014: Stage 1, Jerez de la Frontera

Hola! So good to be back to cycling for the last Grand Tour of the season, which takes us round beautiful Spain. Stage 1 took the form of a team time trial around the southern city of Jerez de la Frontera – a lovely evening stage showing all the teams to great advantage. and whetting the appetites of fans for three weeks of great racing. Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 7 – Almendralejo to Mairena de Aljafare

Hola! Stage 7 of La Vuelta turned south and crossed into the heat of Andalucia. Riders coped with temperatures touching 38 degrees as they left the countryside for the tree-lined town of Mairena de Aljarfare on the outskirts of Seville. The race was a much closer affair than Stage 6, with a nip and tuck race between the two leaders Gilbert and Stybar to the cross the finish. Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 6 – Guijuelo to Caceres

Hola! Stage 6 of La Vuelta explored further inland, into the plains of bull-fighting country. Certainly the theme carried over into the race with an incredible performance by Tony Martin. As the world time-trial champion, he set a blistering pace and led the stage by a great distance for 170km. In spite of huge effort, the peloton could not keep up. The sting came at the finish where the riders finally caught and passed him as they crossed the line itself. Martin finished in seventh place. Cruel sport indeed… Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 5 – Sober, Lago De Sanabria

Hola! Stage 5 of La Vuelta turned away from the sea and travelled inland through rolling countryside, fields and pine trees. Orange roofs gave way to dark grey and for the first time in this race there was rain. Sunshine prevailed by the end as riders came into Lago de Sanabria to a sprinters’ finish! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 4 – Lalin, Estrada, Finisterre

Hola! Stage 4 of La Vuelta was a rolling course again taking in coastal scenery and pretty red-roofed houses. There was barely a flat road on the route but the test came with the climb to the Mirador de Ézaro. This was a test for everyone’s legs! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 3 Vigo – Mirador de Lobeira, Vilagarcía de Arousa

Hola! Stage 3 of La Vuelta was a twisting, turning route through the Galician coast and hills. Climbs not as tough as Stage 2, but strong crosswinds off the coast to contend with not to mention narrow roads and tight space over the bridge to the Illa de Arousa. The surprise finish came in the form of 41-year old Chris Horner,  who after 4 hours of riding, sprinted uphill to take the win like a teenager, giving hope to us all! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 2 Pontevedra – Baiona

Hola! Stage 2 of La Vuelta continued exploring the Atlantic coastline of Galicia with a dramatic climb from the coast road to the finish at Alto de Monte da Groba in Baiona. The day’s racing was led most of the stage by a breakaway of three riders but the stage was eventually won in style by Nicolas Roche. I confess that my eyes were distracted by the sea, with breakers and high hills – even a landlocked boat! Wonderful! Here are my drawings:

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La Vuelta 2013: Stage 1 Vilanova de Arousa – Sanxenxo

Hola! So good to be back in the saddle for the last Grand Tour of the season, which takes us round Spain. Stage 1 took place as a team time trial on the gorgeous north-west coast of Galicia. 22 teams began the race by crossing a glass pontoon at Vilanova de Arousa and riding their way by pine forests and vineyards until reaching the pretty beach town of Sanxenso. The stage was won by team Astana. A great start to three weeks of racing – Fantastic! 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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