Tour de France 2016: Stage 21 – Chantilly to Paris Champs-Élysées

Bonjour! Stage 21, the triumphal ride into Paris! The sun came out – a relief after the past two days and there was the usual friendly handshakes and congratulations to the Yellow Jersey. Team Sky were in good mood, enjoying beer en route and all processed gracefully to Paris. The racing began on the Champs-Élysées. The win went to André Greipel like last year, but all the more sweet for him as a stage win had eluded him this Tour. Finally, the champions, Team Sky brought home their man, Chris Froome – a brilliant third win. Definitely time for a lie-down! Here are my drawings:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Tour de France 2016: Stage 20 – Megève to Morzine-Avoriaz

Bonjour! Stage 20 The last Alpine stage and, nearly the end of the race! In some ways it was a continuation of yesterday – pouring rain, tough climbs and daring descents. The stage began with silence to remember the victims of the terror attack in Munich, so sadly, my dove appears again. There were brave rides by Alaphilippe, Pantano and Nibali but the outstanding descent came from Movistar’s Ion Izagirre, who took the stage win. It was fitting that Poels and Froome crossed the last mountain together, Froome riding on to win the whole race along with all his eight comrades from Team Sky. He is in the history books now with three wins to his name. Here are my drawings:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Tour de France 2016: Stage 19 – Albertville to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc

Bonjour! Stage 19 was an amazing stage. It had everything, from sunshine to torrential rain, from brave breakaways to individual brilliance. The Astana team went to the front, took a look around and just went for it! They led for much of the day. The rain came towards the end of the stage, changing everything, suddenly everyone was losing balance, some falling badly including Pierre Rolland and Chris Froome, the latter completing the stage on another borrowed bike. He was helped along the last painful metres by his team-mate, Wout Pouels. At the finish, one of cycling’s best descenders, Romain Bardet, stole a march on everyone and went on to win. Helter skelter!  Here are my drawings:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Tour de France 2016: Stage 18 – Sallanches to Megève

Bonjour! Stage 18 was the second time-trial of this year’s Tour. This one was an uphill course where time-trial specialist, Tom Dumoulin was expected to repeat his sparkling performance from Stage 13. He put in a great time which no-one could catch, until Chris Froome set out. At the first time-check he was in 5th place, ‘unusual for him’ said the commentator. At the second time-check, he had gained 14 seconds and was speeding up. After the descent,  he stormed home to victory, riding 21 seconds faster than Dumoulin. An incredible ride! Here are my drawings:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tour de France 2014: Stage 9 – Gérardmer to Mulhouse

Bonjour! Stage 9 was another exciting day, with sunshine, showers, arduous climbs and fast descents. It was also a tale of two Tonys, namely Martin and Gallopin. The two men delighted their fans with the stage win and yellow jersey respectively.  Tomorrow is Bastille Day and the Tour heads into the mountains proper. What could be better?  Here are my drawings:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.