Tour de France 2021: Here it comes!

Hello and bonjour! The last day before the start of the 108th Tour de France, and to post of some of my favourite images over the years inspired by this great race.

cycling art, tour de france
Stage 11, Leaving Albertville

I am amazed to admit that this will be the tenth time I have made drawings and paintings of the Tour, my first being in 2012. It was a turning point for my art (and my life) in many ways, so this will be a special race from a personal perspective too. The start of an anniversary year, in fact, so I am very excited to say the least.

The race itself promises, as ever, to be a diverse and colourful course, this year starting in Brittany, which will be lovely to see. Other highlights for me include a return to Albertville, Nîmes and Carcassonne along with a nice detour through Andorra, which will bring back memories of skiing holidays we enjoyed years ago.

Stage 15 – Carcassonne, pink rooftops and green trees

From the the point of view of the race itself, there’s a lot to look forward to. Personally, I shall have everything crossed for Mark Cavendish, one the most exciting riders for me, but also one with his unfair share of bad luck lately. He is so passionate about this race and so close to Merckx’ record, it would be phenomenal to see him succeed.

Cavendish – Head down for No.28,

Cavendish will ride alongside Julian Alaphilippe, another rider who is a joy to watch. I just love them both and I confess, Deceuninck–Quick-Step, will be a team I shall be keen to see do well.

A tribute win for Alaphilippe

La Course, the partner women’s race will take place tomorrow, following a similar route tothe men’s Stage 1 route, but the really significant news for women’s cycling is that Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme made a long-awaited confirmation that Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) will launch a women’s Tour de France in 2022. Finally!!! I can’t wait to draw it! A wonderful way to round off my anniversary year.

Tour de France, Cycling, art, Sunny peloton, by Maxine Dodd
Lizzie takes the win! La Course 2020

So, not long to go… let’s hope for good weather, good riding, no controversies, definitely no COVID, and plenty of scenes of France itself, for many of us, it will be our only way to visit this year. Wishing the teams and the Tour, the very best! Scroll down to see some pictures to whet your appetite!

Allez! Allez!

Amigos
Stage 19 – Heartbreaking
cycling art, tour de france
Incredible stretch!
Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Les Gorges du Tarn, Stage 14 by Maxine Dodd
Les Gorges du Tarn, Stage 14
Cycling, south of France, Mediterranean sea
Peloton comes over the hill to a field of sunflowers,
cycling art, tour de france
All the red flags!
The coast road, by Maxine Dodd
Flags and caravans
Cycling art, Tour de France, Watercolour painting Chaos on the mountains, Allez! Stage 19, by Maxine Dodd
Chaos on the mountains, Allez!
Cycling, art, Tour de France
Bora attack!
Hirschi takes the top of the climb

Next, the rain! It’s lovely to draw, not so great to ride…

Tour de France, cycling, art, Maxine Dodd
The last climb!
cycling art, tour de france
Stage 17- Feel the rain!
Torrential rain!
Poor visibility
cycling art, tour de france
Start line reflections-Richie Porte
Start line reflections: Primož Roglič
The meeting of the shirts
Watching Le Tour
Beautiful blue skies and bunting!
Greipel wins!
All yellow for Chris!
Unstoppable Wout!
Kämna wins! Watercolour pen and ink, by Maxine Dodd
Brilliant Barguil!
Chris Froome sets out
Stage 20 – Nibali crosses the line!
A quick look back, Alexy Lutsenko
Second for Sagan; First for Van Avermaet
Descending like a skier, Sagan, Stage 16
cycling art, tour de france
FDJ, 19.1km
Stage 21, Paris – On the Champs!

Tour de France 2014: Stage 19 – Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour to Bergerac

Cycling art, Tour de France, watercolour pen and ink painting, SOLD - Where are they? by Maxine Dodd, 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:

 

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 18 – Pau to Hautacam

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:

 

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 17 – Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet

Cycling art, Tour de France, watercolour pen and ink painting, Bardet goes for it, by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! Stage17 saw the second day in the Pyrenees. Another hard stage with great climbs and descents. The race lead passed through several hands over the course of the stage, including a great spell by Kiriyenka of team Sky. Romain Bardet handled the descents with alarming grace but the win came again for Rafal Majka, King of the Mountains. Yellow jersey stays on the back of the amazing Nibali. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 16 – Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon

Cycling art, Tour de France, watercolour pen and ink painting SOLD - Mick Rogers, winner Stage 16, by Maxine Dod, SOLD

Bonjour! Stage16 was the first day in the Pyrenees. The sun shone, the road rose high and the riders descended at breakneck speeds. Australian rider, Mick Rogers won his first stage after ten years of taking part in the Tour. Absolutely brilliant, he so deserved it and even crossed the winning line with a bow. Ripper! Here are my drawings:

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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:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 14 – Grenoble to Risoul

Cycling art, Tour de France, watercolour pen and ink painting, Wind in his coat tails, Rafal Majka by Maxine Dodd

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:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 13 – Saint-Étienne to Chamrousse

Cycling art, Tour de France, watercolour pen and ink painting, Nibali by Maxine Dodd

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:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 12 – Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Étienne

Cycling art, Tour de France, watercolour pen and ink painting, Across the line by Maxine Dodd

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:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 10 – Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles

Cycling art, Tour de France, watercolour pen and ink painting, Dappled sun by Maxine Dodd

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:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 9 – Gérardmer to Mulhouse

Cycling art, Tour de France, watercolour pen and ink painting, Tony Gallopin by Maxine Dodd

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:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 8 – Tomblaine to Gérardmer La Mauselaine

Cycling art, Tour de France, watercolour pen and ink painting, Up the hill, Kadri!! by Maxine Dodd

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:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 7 – Épernay to Nancy

SOLD - First past the sunflowers, by Maxine Dodd, SOLD

Bonjour! Stage 7 is one of the longest stages on this year’s Tour but passed through some lovely towns and villages by the great river Moselle. The weather was dry at last and for the most part, the stage passed uneventfully. Then came three dramatic crashes and a photo finish – never a dull moment! The stage was won in a hair’s breadth by Matteo Trentin.  Here are my drawings:

Cascading green

Cascading Green

Watercolour, pen and ink – Framed original

Tour de France 2014: Stage 6 – Arras to Reims

Bonjour! Today’s stage continued through the landscapes of the First World War – somehow appropriate that there was more rain and mud. More riders retired following falls. Still, the fans came out to support with towns and villages decked out in yellow and polka dots. The yellow jersey remained with Vincenzo Nibali; and after another dash to the line, a first stage win this year for Andre Greipel. A good day’s racing! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 5 – Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut

Cycling art, Tour de France, watercolour pen and ink painting, Triumph in the rain and mud, Lars Boom by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! This was the stage that every fan of the Tour and every rider was dreading! Riding on the infamous cobbled pavés – torrential rain added even more danger to the cocktail. Sadly, the reigning champion’s race ended on the wet road, with two further falls. The rain hammered down all day and in marked contrast to the previous stages, the winner dragged himself over the line alone, covered in mud, but very happy. Congratulations to Lars Boom. What on earth will happen tomorrow?  Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 2 – York to Sheffield

Cycling art, Tour de France, watercolour pen and ink painting, Close to Yellow by Maxine Dodd

Bonjour! The second stage of the Tour de France’s Grand Depart left the Dales for the Peak District from the ancient city of York to the steel city of Sheffield. There were more spills but fortunately not as catastrophic as yesterday’s crash. The route was greeted by more huge crowds, estimates of a million people following the race, simply astonishing. The stage was won by Vincnezo Nibali. Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2014: Stage 1 – Leeds to Harrogate

Bonjour! – or should that be ‘Hello’?  The Tour de France’s Grand Depart took place in the in the beautiful county of Yorkshire. Pretty villages, grand towns and dramatic hills and fields. Yorkshire embraced the Tour as its own, turning the county yellow with bunting, painted bikes, sculptures and scarecrows. Riders were greeted by Royalty, Red Arrows, brass bands, a million or so people and the sun shone. The stage was won in a dash by Marcel Kittel after a dramatic accident involving Mark Cavendish. A ripping start to the Tour!  Here are my first drawings:

Back to the bikes: Women’s Tour

Hello! I’m delighted to be drawing cycling for the first time this year. Even more delighted that it is the first Women’s Tour of Britain. My first drawings are from Stages 1 and 2 which were held in Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Bedfordshire – not far from where I live, so a real thrill! 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

Bullish! Tony Martin, by Maxine Dodd, watercolour, pen and ink

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

Sky cross the line, by Maxine Dodd

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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Cricket, lovely cricket!

Hello! This year’s Ashes contest between England and Australia has been a mixed bag of matches where both sides played well and badly in turn. The Little Urn was retained by England in a match stopped by rain! It all felt a bit flat. However, the 4th Test at Durham was a return to form and really showed both teams and the game at their best. Four days of exciting cricket in sunshine, with long shadows, green grass and a nerve-tingling finish. Howzat!!! Here are my drawings:

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Diving High

Hola! The World Championships for Diving and Swimming took place recently in the spectacular city of Barcelona. It was a great return to the pools used 21 years ago for the Olympics in 1992. A breathtaking outdoor location for diving, which was phenomenal! Here are my drawings:

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Tour de France 2013: Stage 21 – Versailles to Paris Champs-Élysées

cycling art, tour de france

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:

Tour de France 2013: Stage 20 – Annecy to Annecy-Semnoz

cycling art

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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