Tour de France Revisited: 2016 – Stage4 Saumur to Limoges

Another look back to the Tour de France, this time to 2016 and Stage 4, a long route, ‘through luscious countryside and warm sunshine’ as I wrote at the time.

Tour de France, cycling, art, Riding in the sunshine by Maxine Dodd
Riding in the sunshine

The route was suited to sprinters but held a twist at the end, with an unclassified climb

Tour de France, Cycling, art, Sunny peloton, by Maxine Dodd
Sunny peloton

This suited the bigger riders and there was remarkable sprint finish – even closer than Stage 3, ‘A cat’s whisker’ said the delighted winner, Marcel Kittel. Fantastic!

Tour de France, cycling, art, So close! by Maxine Dodd
So close!

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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Tour de France 2016: Stage 17 – Berne to Finhaut-Emosson

Bonjour! Stage 17 went further into the Alps – (an area where I confess I have a connection, as one of my paintings lives nearby!) It was another blistering hot day, with four major climbs, including the Col de la Forclaz, with its winding road and great descent. The final climb was tough too, the gradient so steep that first-time stage winner, Ilnur Zakarin, almost ran out of time, not to mention his balance, to do up his jacket. It was a great win after a tough day! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2016: Stage 16 – Moirans-en-Montagne to Berne

Bonjour! Stage 16 was a trip into Switzerland in honour of Fabian Cancellara for whom this will be his final Tour. The weather was fabulous and hot – perhaps a bit unbearable on a bike!  The stage was lead most of the way by Tony Martin and Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) in a such a strong ride that they both won the ‘most aggressive rider’ award, appearing together on the podium in a unique ‘first’. They couldn’t sustain their amazing performance for the sprint at the end – the big sprinters taking over, Alexander Kristoff losing out by a whisker to the immense Peter Sagan. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2016: Stage 15 – Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz

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:

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Tour de France 2016: Stage 14 – Montélimar to Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux

Bonjour! Stage 14 gave the sprinters another chance to shine after a long hot day’s riding. There were some classic Tour de France scenery, fields of bright sunflowers and deep blue skies. A great partnership between Jérémy Roy (FDJ) and Martin Elmiger (IAM) kept everyone on their toes and there was a lovely handshake between them as they were finally chased down.  The race ended with a burst to the line, Mark Cavendish tucking in neatly behind Marcel Kittel. He cheekily darted round a frustrated Kittel to take win No.4 – Amazing and brilliant as ever! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2016: Stage 13 – Bourg-Saint-Andéol to La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc

Bonjour! Stage 13 began and ended in silence for the victims of the Nice attack. Race director, Christian Prudhomme announced, “We must continue and not to yield. The Tour will continue but it is a day of mourning”. The stage was an individual time-trial through the dramatic landscape of the Ardèche. The standout performance of the day from Dutch rider, Tom Dumoulin, arguably the world’s best time trialist – tipped for a gold medal at Rio. He is my featured rider for this stage and a well-deserved win.  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2016: Stage 12 – Montpellier to Mont Ventoux (Chalet-Reynard)

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:

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Tour de France 2016: Stage 11 – Carcassonne to Montpellier

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:

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