La Course by Le Tour de France 2015: Paris Champs-Élysées

Bonjour! La Course at Le Tour de France is a new women’s race initiated last year to great acclaim. It precedes the final stage of the men’s Tour and provides exciting racing on the Champs-Élysées. The racers include the best in the world today (including some from the Women’s Tour in Kettering only a few weeks ago). The conditions were simply awful! The rain was torrential and the roads treacherous. The sprint to the finish saw the win for Anna van der Breggen, a worthy winner. This was an outstanding race, amazing to see.  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 21 – Sèvres, Grand Paris Seine Ouest to Paris Champs-Élysées

Bonjour! Stage 21, the final stage in Paris sets the seal on the Tour. Regarded by some as a procession or show stage, there is still the matter of the Yellow Jersey completing the course before the phenomenal final sprint on the Champs-Élysées. Not quite so predictable on this occasion, as the roads were made treacherous by torrential rain. The day in Paris began as last year, with the new women’s race, La Course. I felt compelled to include this as the racing was just outstanding. (A full post especially dedicated to it will follow) After this breathtaking race, the men’s Tour exploded onto the great Paris streets, with another momentous victory for Andre Greipel. What an extraordinary Tour this has been? Just wonderful! As a British fan, I share the delight for Team Sky and Chris Froome – a great achievement for them. Congratulations! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 20 – Modane Valfréjus to Alpe d’Huez

Bonjour! Stage 20, the final stage in the Alps and probably the hardest of them all, as the route peaks on the magnificent and notorious Alpe d’Huez. It’s demanding, tough and lined with more fans than you could ever imagine. This was a mesmerising stage, with astonishing breakaways from Valverde and of course Nairo Quintana, who pushed Chris Froome and Team Sky to their limits. The stage win went to an exultant Thibaut Pinot, but the Yellow Jersey stayed with Chris Froome. So after four immense days, we’re set for Paris!  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 19 – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to La Toussuire – Les Sybelles

Bonjour! Stage 19 continued in the Alps. It was a really tough day for everyone – even the smooth progress of Team Sky appeared to unravel after a quick breakaway from Valverde and Contador left them reeling. Suddenly Chris Froome was racing virtually alone as his team-mates fell away. For British fans, the saddest demise was that of super G, Geraint Thomas, who simply ‘had nothing left’. A controversial break at the close of the stage gave last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali his chance to restore his self-confidence with a the stage win. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 18 – Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Bonjour! Stage 18 was arguably the best this year. As a course, it had everything. It was a long stage which began on the flat, ascended several hard climbs, some 1:10, with descents to match! The climax came at the the end, where the course followed the most remarkable road known as the Lacets de Montvernier, the ‘shoe laces’ which has 17 turns on its path up the sheer mountain face. People were perched on the top waiting for the riders. Simply amazing! It was an incredible race for the key players and delight for the French fans, who had the stage winner in Romain Bardet, while following hot on his heels was Pierre Rolland. C’est magnifique! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 17 – Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup

Bonjour! Stage 17 followed the rest day and marked the beginning of the final section of this year’s Tour. It was the first of four gruelling days in the Alps, with all that goes with them; dramatic scenery, gut-wrenching climbs, toe-curling descents and roads strewn round the mountains like ribbons. This stage cruelly claimed Tejay van Garderen, the American rider, in third place at the start, but he broke down and could go no further. By complete contrast, the wonderfully-bearded Simon Geschke, claimed his first Tour stage win, brilliantly climbing and descending to the finish. In the race within the race, there was great riding and sportsmanship between Nairo Quintana and Chris Froome who battled to the finish line. Sky keep the yellow but they can’t lose concentration for one minute! What a start to the finish? Simply amazing! Here are my drawings:

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In case you were wondering… all the paintings are original and for sale. To find out more about them and how to buy, click here or Picture Information

ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT MAXINE DODD

Tour de France 2015: Stage 16 – Bourg-de-Péage to Gap

Bonjour! Stage 16 was the prelude to the final climbing stages in the Alps. This stage again followed a long, hot course through dramatic scenery. This stage had two hard climbs but was really more about the infamous descent into Gap. This road has seen many riders come to grief and Sky’s Geraint Thomas fell prey to it this time with a very nasty fall. Heroic descender Peter Sagan worked his magic, weaving his way down the mountains, hoping for his first stage win only to be pipped into second place yet again by a remarkable ride from Rubén Plaza. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 15 – Mende to Valence

Bonjour! Stage 15 pressed on through the stunning scenery beside the rivers Ardèche and Rhone towards the Alps. The conditions were hot with the Tramontane wind’s influence. In spite of the hills and climbs, there was a chance for the sprinters on the flat at the finish – really the last before Paris, so there was much to chase for the key riders. Team Katusha looked strong in the earlier part of the stage, Team Sky continued to hold their position, but the excitement came at the close, where four sprinters charged for the line. Another great performance from Andre Greipel who took the win, although the Green Jersey remained with Peter Sagan. Here are my drawings:

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Just in case you were wondering…the pictures featured here are available to buy. The Picture Information page has full details about them including; sizes, framing and prices. You can order a painting by email on maxine@maxinedodd.com
Thanks very much! 🙂

All images copyright Maxine Dodd

Tour de France 2015: Stage 14 – Rodez to Mende

Bonjour! Stage 14 passed through some of the most stunning scenery so far on this Tour – the stars of the stage being, arguably, Les Gorges du Tarn. Back down to earth with the bike race and Team Sky held their place, but the wonderful surprise came from a British rider, Stephen Cummings, who took the stage win for his team MTN-Qhubeka – the perfect celebration for Nelson Mandela day!  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 13 – Muret to Rodez

Bonjour! Stage 13 came down the slopes and back into the sunshine but accompanied by oppressive heat. The terrain was deceptive, long flat roads suddenly reaching hills, passing through pretty towns set on the river Tarn, just lovely! In the race, special mention for popular French rider Jean-Christophe Péraud, who had a very serious fall, yet managed to battle on and complete the stage. The win went to Greg van Avermaet who pipped Peter Sagan to the post.  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 12 – Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille

Bonjour! Stage 12, the final one in the Pyrenees, where the weather gods seem to punish all and sundry! From sunshine to hail, with driving wind and rain, it was a gruelling stage. There was a great spell by World Champion, Michał Kwiatkowski who with Vanmarcke lead for some distance, but the day belonged to Joaquim ‘Purito’ (the little cigar) Rodriguez, who rode a phenomenal last stretch to conquer the mountain. Wow! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2015: Stage 11 – Pau to Cauterets

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:

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