Bonjour! Stage 15 saw the route heading towards the Alps – the mountains and Mont Blanc clearly in view. There were climbs and descents but the excitement came with the tactical race – almost time-trial-like to look at – between Rafal Majka and Colombian rider, Jarlinson Pantano. They needled their way to the finish with a sudden sprint that Majka looked set to win but Pantano struck through to take the stage. He rides for Swiss team IAM Cycling and the day before the race crosses the border to Switzerland, this seemed a wholly fitting victory. Here are my drawings:
Loving the grass!
Everyone on the mountain!
Pantano vs Majka!
Bonjour! Stage 11 saw the second day in the Pyrenees with a course that included two notorious climbs, the Col d’Aspin and the Col du Tourmalet. The climbs are so hard but the speed in the descents is hair-raising! So many close shaves and near misses – even a herd of cows – adroitly dodged by Warren Barguil. The crowds were out in force, tents caravans and bikes everywhere. Majka took the win and Team Sky continue to pursue their goal with skill and determination. A great day! Here are my drawings:
Group Maillot Jaune, Col du Tourmalet
Majka in descent
Reaching the Col d’Aspin
Welcoming the Tour – a close shave! SOLD
Bonjour! Stage19 saw the beginning of the route home to Paris. The course travelled through the area of the Dordogne in pouring, pouring rain. So much rain! The visibility was so bad and the roads so slippery an accident felt more than likely to happen. It did, right at the last and it was a big one. Leading through most of the stage was TJ Slagter, but it was Ramunas Navardauskas from Lithuania who navigated past the carnage to take the stage win, brilliantly holding his lead against the chasing pack. Here are my drawings:
TJ Slagter et les parapluies
Awful crash – SOLD
SOLD – Where are they?
Bonjour! Stage18 was the third and final day in the Pyrenees. It was a decisive stage, with King of the Mountains and Green Jersey, not to mention Yellow, really set for this year. All they have to do is stay in the saddle until Sunday and all will be well! Nibali crossed the line with quiet authority after another incredible performance. Here are my drawings:
SOLD – Taking the bend
Astana push on
He’s the one, Nibali
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:
Storm brewing in the Alps
Looking from above
Heading for Col du Lautaret
Descent: Col du Izoard
AG2R running for the last hill
Wind in his coat tails, Rafal Majka